Last week was very exceptional in many ways. After a deeper expedition of Bay Area and breath taking walks thought quite steep streets I was quite tired. Even Saturday evening city was very alive. There was no surprise that almost everyone had been preparing himself (or helself) to watch Super Bowl – the final match in American Football, probably the most popular sport in the USA. San Francisco was especially involved because their team – 49ers took part in the final and wanted to beat Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans where the match was played.
I am not a big sport fan and especially about American football I know nothing, but I enjoyed how people were deeply involved. The final was scheduled on Sunday, the 3rd and day before, when I was walking within North Beach area of San Francisco I listened couple conversations among people who very proudly discussed about that big event. I also met a bigger group of 49ers supporters in low rider cars what is another great thing in the USA.
Due to long walks on Saturday I had sore legs and I decided to walk in downtown and around the Bay Bridge. I hoped I could see Lombard street – twisty little street recommended by my friend Ashley from Canada which is very close to the place I stay, but when I walked through Chinatown I had to change my plan. I wanted to take some photos there, however, streets in Chinatown were ridiculously crowded. The Chinese New Year is here – a very important event here, because in San Francisco there is really big Asian community. When I was walking there I had seen Chinese New Year Parade. Streets around Chinatown were closed and people enjoyed attraction there. It was very nice, but I decided to walk outside that big group and keep exploring the downtown.
My further steps went to Sutter Street where is also GoodData headquarters. I wanted to walk around and look at beauties over there. The architecture all around is extraordinary. We had a discussion about this with my colleagues. There is a church for instance, probably quite new one, but we think the ancient Greeks could have problems to build it, especially with the strong marijuana smell in the air on some streets. After a while I was close to San Francisco harbor and was enjoying the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco Bay Area with Oakland. I was a little bit tired, so there was no question in my mind whether walk the bridge or not, I just enjoyed watching.
On my way back I wanted walk along all Piers and water. I found a place where you should buy a ticket for Alcatraz. I haven’t bought it yet, but I read some stories about prisoners when I was there. My another plan was to go shopping and wash my clothes. I went close to the place where I stay and bought some ingredients. I cooked risotto and I hoped I find proper Arborio rice. There were plenty of people everywhere because the final Super Bowl was almost on. When I bought all ingredients I returned back to my apartment. There was a small problem with laundry. We need to use special dollars in coins (they don’t have $1 in a coin as in New Zealand for instance) and I have mostly notes.
Fortunately there is a place close to my apartment where I could change a $5 dollar note to particular amount of quarter dollars coins. It is like to win in a lottery to grab all money from that box, but it was good feeling to know I would be able to start our washing machines. The mechanism is the same as in New Zealand. There is also a dryer. I don’t like using these dryers for particular clothes, but at the moment I don’t have much chances to use an alternate way, therefore I don’t care so much. My backpack was almost empty, because I want to buy some stuff here anyway.
The kitchen in our apartment is well equipped and the final risotto was amazing. Even I bought the cheapest selected white wine, the final result was great. David wanted to watch Super Bowl and I decided to join to find why this sport is so popular in the USA. I like when the popular American singers sing the US National Anthem at the beginning and the great atmosphere. The match was scheduled on late afternoon PST time, but probably people in whole America were excited whole day because there was something on TV since early morning probably.
I thought it would be great if team of San Francisco had won. I was prepared to cross streets and take some photos of potential peaceful riots. Unfortunately their opponent Baltimore was much better. I didn’t understand the rules, but for me it was a funny event. Especially when the power outage happened what I think could be a little embarrassing for the organizers on the other hand. San Francisco improved their game, every point was loudly celebrated with people in bars all around, but they lost the match. The whole city was really quiet afterwards.
The following work week was also extraordinary. There was a company breakfast in our office. I had a quick conversation with Holly, our support engineer who looks after our customers really nicely. She asked me what I did during weekend and if I did anything sexy. I described my trip around Bay Area what I probably never forget. Some people proposed we should go together to eat out. I agreed because eating in a restaurant is very rare thing. Mostly we buy some food and bring it to our office where we have a special space for eating. Jagjit chose wisely the place. An italian restaurant Cafe Tiramisu (http://www.cafetiramisu.com/) with lots of specialities. I ordered Pici, a hand rolled fat spaghetti with cioppino sauce. It remembers me home where I prepared some fresh spaghetti with my girlfriend.
We took some photos and were really satisfied the lunch. I asked Andrew Lee about permission to place some of that photos. He agreed. When we returned I continued with implementation of my tasks. Since I have been here I strongly believe I am able to cope with everything. I really enjoy it because I am able to handle three times more things than in Prague. Time to time I have been helping support due to my strong knowledge of most of our implementation. I also had a call with a customer and solve some problems very effectively. It is great to be here.
I have also experienced my first rain here. There was really a special atmosphere here in the city. The only problem was an absence of any coat hanger in our office, so people have to put jackets everywhere. Quite interesting is a possibility to have a dog in the office. One of our colleague’s dog is small as a chihuahua and clever probably as an dolphin. His name is Rex and he can sit on a chair and walks through the office. I love that dog. We always play silly games.
San Francisco is also a great place for its potential filming locations. A lot of movies were filmed here. I remember Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock. My plan is to visit most of the Vertigo location. Unfortunately some of them don’t exist any more due to various reason. Great thing is there is still the oldest building – Mission San Francisco de Asis where some scenes for Vertigo were also filmed. Btw. Francis of Asissi was an important person for San Francisco. When you look at original name in Spanish langue you can find San Francisco de Asís. I also remember The Rock movie with Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage, Sweet November with Keanu Reeves and Charlie Theron. One of my colleague mentioned me The Princess Diares, but I am sure there are much more films created in San Francisco.
Other things are interesting too. Couple days ago I was walking to the office when I met a guy. He was a little bit weird. He seemed as an bodyguard who just left lunatic asylum. He was training defense techniques just by himself. I was also surprised when I had a conversation with our bodyguard. I was waiting when the automatic door will be opened. Do you need any help, he asked? Now I know I must push the door little bit and it would be fine.
The amazing event was also when we visited some bars in San Francisco with our Czech group. We were wondering about drinking in our office, but the final decision to go out was better. Places we found were amazing. I also met Petr, a really nice guy and very skilled developer who works for Google. We ordered some food and I wanted to to try some beer. My first order was Hoegaarden. What a surprise when the waitress brought a small glasses for it. I drank it and made a clear decision to try as much beer as possible and decide which of them is the best. We had a great evening, discussing about weather and how San Francisco is an extraordinary place. I just didn’t know how strong these beers and after 5 or 6 glasses I was a little bit drunk. However, our great evening continued and the whole atmosphere was cool. The only one problem was I forgot my camera.
When I am writing this article I have finished quite great walks. I have seen Coit Tower with its amazing views, Lombard Street and city during the night. There were some dudes who let some fireworks explode in many places, especially in Chinatown/downtown. It seemed little bit dangerous, but they probably celebrated the Chinese New Year and I hoped they knew what they did. I bought some beautiful postcards which I want to send to. The longer I am here the more I like this place. Since I have been here I really believe I can make all my dreams come true. I have great people around me and I like the positive atmosphere which help me to cope with difficult situations in my life. I am really glad I can be here therefore San Francisco is an astonishingly cool place.