Friday, January 10, 2014

Meeting in San Francisco

One of the activities Paul has missed while being on a mission is the meetings of the Acoustical Society of America. At the beginning of December (2nd -5th) they held their meeting in San Francisco, so we took a short vacation. It was a good break, even though it was dampened a bit from perpetual colds. 

We flew out early on Monday (Dec 2nd) and took a shuttle from the San Francisco airport to the hotel, the Hilton at Union Square. We forgot to get some extra cash before leaving and used most of what we had for the shuttle. It's a good thing we didn't forget to take a credit card.

Hilton hotel decorated for Christmas
Union Square decorated for Christmas
Tuesday was a big day for attending sessions of the conference. Paul enjoyed getting back to learning about musical acoustics. Meanwhile, Diane met with the "accompanying person's" group, but there wasn't much going on. She did get some rest (which helped with the cold) and some reading done. During a break in the afternoon we took a short walk to Chinatown which was close by. We didn't speak much Chinese, however. 
The four monkeys in Chinatown
The Chinatown lucky lions 
This looks just like Beijing
We walked through Macy's. It was fun to see how the big city stores decorate for Christmas. As you walk into the store you can see the expanse of jewlery and cosmetics filling the whole first floor, larger than any of the department stores in Salt Lake. Crowds gather around the window displays that are animated for Christmas.

Tuesday evening was our first banquet buffet. Paul asked what they had that was gluten-free. The server pulled out a list and showed him all the things he could eat (there goes another 5 pounds).

Wednesday was our tourist day, since there were fewer sessions of interest at the conference. We started by walking through Union Square and watching the ice skaters. 
Union Square ice skaters
We then went back through Chinatown.
Gateway to Chinatown
We then walked down (and up) the street to Coit Tower. The tower itself was closed, but we got a good view of the harbor. 
Tower on the hill
Coit Tower - closed for renovation
View from Coit Tower
From Coit Tower we followed the Barbary Coast Trail to Pier 39, an eclectic shopping center by the harbor. 

Pier 39
We walked through the stores then stopped to watch the sea lions fighting for the best sunning spot. 
The sea lions of Pier 39
A tourist of Pier 39
We decided to have some lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. It ended up being a restaurant honoring Forrest Gum of Tom Hanks fame. The server even stopped by to give us a pop quiz about the movie. It was a hard quiz because we ordered water to drink instead of pop (or is that soda in California?)

Bubba Gump's
We walked on to Fisherman's Grotto and found a couple of pirates.
Pirates of Fisherman's Grotto
We started to get tired so we decided to head back to the hotel. It looks like a short distance on the map, but nothing is a short distance in San Francisco. On the way up Nob Hill and down again (with several hills in between) we stopped by a lovely little garden and the famous Lombard street.

The garden 
Lombard Street
We stopped by a musical instrument store close to Chinatown to see what they had of interest. We didn't buy anything, but it was fun to look through.

How would a yunluo look under the Christmas tree?
We finally got back to the hotel tired. We figured that it was a 6-7 1/2 mile walk, all up and down.

Thursday there were more technical sessions all day. We took a break for lunch at the California Center, a big mall with a spiral escalator. 

The queen, in red, riding down the spiral escalator

We had another banquet buffet in the evening. After the buffet, Paul had a meeting for the technical committee for musical acoustics. This was the committee he chaired before the mission. 

Friday was the day we headed home. We had a little free time in the morning so we went to watch the streetcar at the end of the line. When it reaches the end of the line they have a turntable where two men turn the streetcar around so it can return the other direction.

Streetcar merry-go-round
On the shuttle back to the airport there were a group of salespeople from Chicago who had been to San Francisco for a training meeting. One of the group was so hung over from partying the night before he was completely incoherant and sick. It made us very thankful for the Word of Wisdom. 

We got back to Logan safely and enjoyed being with family again.

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