Tuesday, June 30, 2015

San Francisco Day 3: Golden Gate Bridge, Ferry Building Farmers Market,Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, and Ghirardelli Square

ALA is done, and now I have two days to be a tourist.  To start off my morning, I decided to have a bit of a lazy morning, and didn't leave the hotel until after 10 am.  But after two days of rushing around, a slower pace was most welcome.  I took a LYFT to the Golden Gate Bridge Pavillion,  Yes, I could have taken a hop on hop off bus, but their stops didn't match where I wanted to travel, and only the Golden Gate Bus goes to the bridge and not near my hotel, so Lyft it was.  

The Pavillion was finished in 2012, and it's beautiful outside, great views of the bridge, when the fog has burned off.  Fog typically burns off by afternoon, but mornings are quieter.  There are several bike tours that take you over the bridge and back on the pedestrian walkway. I was impressed, some people on those bikes had no business being on a bike, but points for effort.  Other bikers were very experienced, pulling off death-defying turns like a skier in a slalom race, so you do have to keep your wits about you.  Also note, it is windy on the bridge, but not freezing.  It was cool, but since I was walking, I was fine.  Some people were bundled up like they were getting ready to shovel a foot of snow.

There'a a pavillion gift shop full of Golden Gate Bridge items, including these bookends.
 I was tempted, but I don't need them and can't fit them in my suitcase anyway.
The pavillion is lovely with pathways leading to the pedestrian walkway,
you can sort of see there is a bridge behind all that fog.
The fog drifts so you can catch glimpses of the bridge. 
Marian County behind me.  It's about a mile and a half across, so when you cross and go back,
it's over three miles.  A really nice stroll.
It was scarier for me looking up, not down.  All that fog reminded me of the Stephen King movie The Mist,
I admit, I was a bit freaked.  Come to think of it, that movie should have been set here and not in Maine, hmmm.

Next I headed down to the Ferry Marketplace Farmers Market. The market was just about over but I got to see the stalls selling all kinds of fruit, jam, honey and more.  Very impressive how many locals come here to do their shopping.

What I really wanted to do was stop by the Hog Island Oyster Company for some oysters and a salad.
They were delicious! Perfect for the mile walk I had before me. 
I made my way down The Embarcadero to Pier 39. Pier 39 is a complete tourist trap, kind of like an overblown Faneuil Hall, but that's fine.  I was in the mood for touristy things.  I do recommend taking a pedicab to the Pier, since the walk was pretty uneventful and it was really warm out, high 70's and very sunny.  

I was going to wait for ice cream when I got to Ghirardelli Square, but I was hungry after that walk,
and really hot, so fresh strawberry ice cream by the water was perfect.

After hitting the shops, I headed down to Fisherman's Wharf, which is just as busy as Pier 39.  One place I had to stop by was this famous bakery.  My friend is an amazing bread maker, I wish she had been here with me!  The shop smelled amazing!

A sourdough bread alligator?  Cool.  They do offer tours and a chance for kids to make their own bread animal.

Down the street there is this little bar which is famous for inventing the Irish Coffee.
 It was packed with people.

Next I went to Ghirardelli Square, very pretty and a lot quieter than the noise, hustle, and bustle of the pier.  Since you can buy their chocolate anywhere, I was not tempted to buy any.  And since I already had ice cream, I didn't want more.

So I had hot chocolate instead.  With whipped cream, it was delicious! 
And since the wind had picked up, there was a bit of a chill, so it was perfect.

The Powell-Hyde Cable Car turn-around is around the corner, but it was out of service, so we had to take a shuttle part of the way.  We had to get off the shuttle and then hop on the crowded car.  Taking the cable car is iconic, but with all those hills it can be a bit of a thrill ride.

All in all my first full day as a tourist was quite packed with lots of walking, exploring, and eating. 
Very San Francisco!

Monday, June 29, 2015

San Francisco ALA 2015, Day 2

This morning I woke up early, just beat the crowd at Starbucks for breakfast (had another gift card) and I made my way over to my first workshop of the day. It was excellent to say the least, I left with tons of ideas, I can't wait to use them.

After the workshop I hit the Exhibit Hall one last time because I had to replace the posters that got ruined by my malicious water bottle yesterday. But then I saw one ARC, then another, and another. Then the publishers were just giving EVERYTHING away.  I mean these are books, free books, but it's not like I am never going to see it published. So I had to calm down.

This is the madness that I refer to when I talk about the Exhibit Hall.

Only the crowds on Monday at noon look more like this. It's crushing.

This is the line to the post office.  Yes I have another box worth of books,
but no way am I getting in this line. Time for creative packing.

There was another line for this author,  Newbery winner, Kwane Alexander!

Claire Lynn Designs makes these fun tees.  A whole booth of 'em!

I had another workshop I wanted to attend, but it was pretty terrible. So after some urging,
I followed a friend's advice and took off exploring. I went down to the Ferry Building Marketplace.

I sat on the dock people watching, then I just had to get some ice cream, with fresh strawberries.
It was delicious. It felt like I was back in London. Hot weather, ice cream, resting in a park.
Yeah, that's what I did in London.

I had read about these fountains and gardens, the Yerba Buena Gardens.
They are peaceful, and there were so many people taking advantage of
this loveliness on this cloudless day.

Notice the rainbow flags behind the waterfall

I'm not sure how many miles I walked today, but it was a lot. 
This is my dinner, after another luxurious hot bubble bath with an Advil chaser and I'm calling it a night.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

San Francisco ALA 2015, Day 1

ALA is the biggest conference of the year for librarians, and I am making the crazy attempt to cram four days into two.  My flight landed early and I took a LYFT to my hotel.  I find LYFT in CA is cheaper than cabs or Ubers. I arrived last night exhausted and hungry, but a comfy bed beckoned.

Before I even checked in at registration, I had to eat something other than the snack bag of animal crackers I ate 12 hours earlier. I saw a place across the street called Mel's Diner, so I decided to give it a try.  Fast, hot, and delicious, just what I needed. 

Added bonus Michael Jackson on the jukebox.

Then it was on to the Coffee Klatch, it like speed dating for authors and readers.  Authors would come to a table and promote their new book, it was awesome!  And tickets were not expensive.

I  met Suzanne Young, who promoted her first stand-alone title Here Ruby.
It's described as The Shining meets Hotel California.  I can't wait to read it.

Next up was the sassy and funny Gail Giles, whose new book Girls Like Us
won the Schneider Family Award.  

Tobin Anderson stopped by, and he has a new work of non-fiction coming out
Symphony for the City of the Dead.  It's a well-researched, readible WWI story.
 I'm excited!

Another author we saw was Jandi Nelson, whose new book I'll Give You The Sun
just won the Printz Award, I was very excited to meet her, and she was very real and charming. 
I can't wait to read this book, so glad it's on my to read list this summer.
Next I tore through the Exhibits like a madwoman, maniacally collecting readers guides, ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies), pens, ARCs, posters, and more ARCs.  Really, I mean setting me loose in there is just plain nutso.  I always say I'm not going to go nuts, and then, there they are...FREE BOOKS!!  Calling my name.  Unfortunately books are heavy, like, really damn heavy.  I thought my shoulders were going to fall off.  I shipped two boxes home (hint, use brown boxes and media mail shipping) and then my water bottle spilled in one of my bags, ruining all of my posters and readers guides,  So guess what I'm going to try and find tomorrow?

I took a break, bought some lunch (food is expensive here!), ran to my hotel room to dump out my ruined posters and readers guides, and I switched to my backpack, which I should have been using all along.  I then went up the street to Market and 4th and watched some of the Pride Parade.  I have never been to a Pride Parade before, but since SCOTUS ruled on Friday that all marriages are legal in all 50 states (about damn time!) I thought it would be fun to go and show support.  The crowds were huge and the mood was joyous and festive.  The parade was LONG, like hours long.  I was there closer to the end, but people were still having a great time.  I spied a lot of festive rainbow-clad librarians in the crowds.

I did have to leave the party to attend two more workshops, they were both great.  One was on using and creating maps with children's literature.  Another was about after school teen spaces.  It was a great way to end the day.

I did find this, I thought it was rather charming since this is a conference for tech and book nerds,
and there was this curious item in the conference center.  Who knew they still existed?
Luckily Wholefoods is only a couple of blocks away, and I had an ages old gift card that I brought with me, so I did some provisions shopping and used my new insulated grocery bag (yeah, they gave those away at the conference too!)  After my bubble bath, I had a nice quiet picnic in my hotel room watching Dirty Dancing on Netflix.  It was a very long, really fun first day.