As many of you know, I went to San Fran a few weeks ago for the NCMPR (National Council for Marketing and Public Relations) Summer Institute on social media. And in case you were wondering, I was able to do the three things I had on my list and then some!
I decided to split this up into two blog posts, one for leisure and one for business. Kind of like a mullet: Business in the front, party in the back. Yes I just compared my blog to a mullet. Anyway, let's talk about the leisure part of my vacation first!
On Wednesday, June 15, I left St. Louis on my way to the city by the bay. And two things I have to say (write) out loud (publicly) so I won't forget and to help others in the future:
- Always pack your stuff in a rolling suitcase rather than a duffel bag, even if it is for just a couple days.
- Never forget to bring a book!
Back to San Fran.
After an... interesting (AKA a little scary) drive through the city, I was dropped off at my hotel a little before 8 p.m. and I knew the first thing I wanted to do: eat sushi. So I asked the hotel concierge where was the best place to go that was in walking distance from the hotel, and he recommended Sanraku. He told me it was only three blocks away, but he forgot to mention it was all downhill, which made the walk back all uphill. And in San Francisco, I'm not talkin' about just any ole' hills.
I'm talking about the kinda hills that leave you breathless after just a few steps. There were only two things I didn't like about San Francisco: The insanely steep hills and the number of homeless people. Now I know we have homeless people in St. Louis, but they were literally on every street corner in SF, and there were just so many of them. It made me very sad. Apparently it's a problem that SF is trying to fix, with nearly 13,500 homeless in 2010. St. Louis' homeless make up about 10% of that number.
Sorry again for getting off topic! Back to sushi.
I arrived at Sanraku. I was a little stunned at first because it's small and full of Asians, all speaking their native languages (mostly Japanese, which actually made me feel a little more comfortable and like I was back in Okinawa!) So I took a seat at the sushi bar, between and American and a Chinese man. I ordered a King Crab Roll and a Crunch Roll, which had spicy salmon, tobiko (fish eggs, similar to the orange salmon eggs commonly found on California rolls), avocado, cucumber and tempura flakes. And I also ordered a piece of octopus (yes, raw), all of which was delicious! Some of the best fresh sushi I've ever had!
This wasn't the sushi I had, but I forgot to take a picture of my own so I took a picture of this beautiful sushi salad that Chef Tomo made! He is from Japan so once he found out my family is from Okinawa and that I had just visited there last summer, we had a lot to talk about. :)
I have to admit, I was a little nervous about going to dinner by myself in a big city at night, but it was also kind of liberating. The whole trip was kind of like that, as a matter of fact. I didn't have to attend to anyone else's schedules other than my own. Well, and the NCMPR schedule.
Which meant getting up bright and early to start the day! During the conference on Thursday, one of the ladies mentioned that she was getting a group together to do a sunset cruise out on the bay. BINGO! I had been trying to figure out how I was going to get to the Golden Gate Bridge, so the boat ride was perfect!
I was a little disappointed when I found out that we were going to take taxis down to Fisherman's Wharf, though, so I was able to talk my new friend, Hope, into riding in a trolley down with me instead (that was the last thing on my list!)
And it was so cool! Since there were only two of us we were able to squeeeze onto a car and took it all the way to Fisherman's Wharf. Also, if you take a look at that last picture, doesn't our trolley driver look just like Albert Pujols, only with a Giants hat on?! This is the best picture I could snap of him without looking too creepy.
Once we got to Fisherman's Wharf we walked around a little bit and took it the sights (and smells) of the bay.
The Ghirardeli Chocolate Factory
When I took this, I had no idea how much closer this seagull would get...
He's about 10 feet above our heads right here, and he continued to follow us for a good 5-10 minutes. Then, before we knew it, the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge was upon us!
It was a pretty spectacular sight. Then we turned around and drove right past Alcatraz, which I definitely want to do a tour if I have the chance next time!
Apparently the "Indians Welcome" graffiti writing is from the Native American occupation of the island from 1969-71.
The next day, the conference only lasted until about 11 a.m., which was an hour shorter than I had expected, which gave me one extra hour to go somewhere fun for lunch! A friend of mine had recommended I go to Ike's Place while I was in San Fran, because apparently it was featured on Man v. Food and it has some pretty good sandwiches.
Not to mention the three ginormous hills I had to climb up. Including this one, which kind of reminded me of Full House.
Even though I was completely drenched in sweat by the time I got back to my hotel, it was totally worth it. The sandwich was delicious! And I was able to have one last adventure in San Fran before flying back home. What a short but great trip! Who knew going somewhere by yourself could turn out to be so much fun? And hopefully I'll be able to post later this week about everything I learned at the NCMPR conference on social media!