Day 2 began with me finally shaking off a horrible sore throat, the final chapter in the cold that hassled me on the plane. Dad and I jumped up early and headed over to Fort Point, an old military installation built back in the late 1800’s to guard the coastline. It was also used in World War II as part of a submarine net to prevent nastly little subs from sneaking in and wreaking havoc upon the city. Normally, the Fort is open for tourists but unfortunately is currently closed for restoration, so we can’t go in and check it out.
So, we just moseyed around for a while. Fort Point is behind the Golden Gate Bridge on the south side, and offers extraordinary views from that angle. From there, it just looks incredible; the giant span being supported by the amazing array of steel and concrete that you are standing right next to. You can hear the peak hour traffic rattling across the surface of the bridge.
We didn’t really spend enough time there to fully check it out, but its worth of a separate heading. Maybe more later if we go back. The Presidio is an area of San Francisco that was established over 200 years ago as a military base by a Spanish expedition that arrived from Mexico. After the US won the boringly-named Mexican-American war in 1821, the US Army moved in and stayed there until 1994, at which point the National Park Service took over (I imagine this probably happened peacefully, not in a war-like scenario).
Something that may be of interest is that there is word on the street that George Lucas will be setting up shop in the Presidio, building a giant uber-studio thing. The land value alone there in normal terms would be absolutely enourmous – as a historical attraction though, I can’t even begin to speculate.
Academy of Sciences:
After lunch, we made a family trip to the Academy of Sciences, an old favourite from our first SF venture back in ’84. The Academy was founded back in 1853 primarily to study the surrounding California flora, fauna, geology and anything else worth poking a stick at, putting under a microscope, cutting open, or blowing up. It was originally housed in Market Street, but then the uber-earthquake of 1906 hit and basically destroyed the building and everything in it.
The citizens of San Francisco, flexing the arms of democracy, decided that the Academy should be rebuilt in the Golden Gate Park. It was reopened in 1916, and has spent the time since then going through several upgrades and expansions, including the awesome Steinhart Aquarium.
Anyway, that’s what we did this afternoon. My sore throat thing came back, rendering me useless for a while until I managed to get back to home plate and hit the ice cream.
One of the main things I miss in Australia is chocolate chip icecream. Sure, you can sort of buy some variants of it, but you can’t get anything like you can over here. The best I’ve found so far is Dreyers – they make a huge variety of different ice creams, but I can happily sit down with a human-skull sized container of this stuff and eat the lot of it. Oh – so yummy.
After knocking back a cubic metre or so of this stuff I started to feel human again, and then tried to brave the cold (10 degrees or so) out on the veranda watching a quite spectacular sunset. Too cold though; I ended up back inside and had a quick bash of q3dm17 and laid down the smack .au style (all without using the railgun), and then had to listen to the Americans whine about it.
Kicking back tonight waiting for my grandfather to arrive from LA, then we’re having a roast dinner and probably going to drink some rum or something. Tomorrow – the city!