Kate (kate_nepveu) wrote,

Minimal San Francisco Trip Report and Post-Trip Week in Review

I was halfway through a chatty, fairly detailed trip report, but I am really tired today and work has come crashing down on me. So you're getting a minimalist version, though I'll keep a few paragraphs.

San Francisco, Friday August 13 to Tuesday August 17:

  • Travel:
    • Getting tagged for the random additional security screening makes my skin crawl. It didn't used to, and the people were very nice (if puzzled by the ice scraper I'd forgotten I had in my bag, because it was San Francisco), but my awareness that they could be arbitrary tyrants if they wanted and there's very little I could do, well.
    • Also, you can't check in online if you've been tagged for screening, which is stupid and annoying, because you can check in at a kiosk.
    • San Francisco Airport's United section has pathetic food options.
    • I do not recommend the Hotel Shattuck in Berkeley.
    • Yay, iPod.
  • Tourism:
    • The Asian Art Museum is huge, really excellent, and highly recommended. Not only does it have remarkable breadth and depth, better than the Met's sections that we saw a few months ago, but the explanatory texts are, I think, the best I've ever seen in a museum. They were very clear, had excellent historical context, and also placed the items in context with each other: "the statute behind you is the same deity carved seven hundred years later; compare X, Y, and Z," that kind of thing. They explained a lot of things I'd always wondered about, such as a series on visual puns in Chinese art (with a panel just on "good luck on your civil service exams" puns). I really encourage people to go see it, it's worth it.

      We also went through the special exhibition Geisha: Beyond the Painted Smile. It was also a perfectly good exhibit, the subject matter just gives me hives. It was an object lesson in how beauty is culturally constructed: at one point, it was fashionable for women to black their teeth and paint their lower lips green.

    • Boalt Hall (the law school at Berekeley) is an excellent school. It's really too bad its facilities aren't the same. (We were visiting Chad's sister who's a student there.)
    • The walk from the Civic Center BART up Market isn't very nice. The cable cars are appallingly crowded. Taking a cab up to Fisherman's Wharf is the equivalent of taking your life in your hands.
    • Yes, I know Fisherman's Wharf is a tourist trap. Horrible, crowded, tacky, yes, yes. However: the sea lions at Pier 39 are the Best Thing Ever. I'm serious, you have to go see them. Words cannot express how cool and fun they are. SF Gate article with lots of information; webcam.
    • There are several cool ships that you can inexpensively tour at the Wharf: S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien, a WWII cargo ship; Eureka, a big passenger ferry discontinued when the Golden Gate Bridge opened; and the Balclutha, a full-rigged ship with a steel hull.
  • Food:
    • XOX Truffles are the best thing ever that isn't sea lions. We happened across them on Columbus purely by chance, bought a couple for the walk, and after I put the first one in my mouth I said, "I have to go back and buy a whole box." (They're much cheaper if bought in person, too: $7 for 20 in a little paper take-out box.)
    • Skates on the Bay has excellent food and an excellent view.
  • Socializing: lots. Saw/met Chad's sister, A. who lives with her, Chad's godmother and family, Chad's great-uncle and great-aunt (one of), one of Chad's college friends and his girlfriend, and Tom Whitmore at the Other Change of Hobbit.

Since then:

I've either been sluggish, or distracted by the Olympics (which I'm quite enjoying; the cable coverage is good, and NBC is much less annoying this year), or wasting time re-doing the book log, or (today) very tired and stressed. I'll be better once I can get my brain in gear and start thwacking work into submission.

Tags: [time] in review, food, museums, trips

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