Summer is nearly over, but it was a good one. I had about two weeks at home before leaving for the ACS meeting in San Francisco. What a great trip. I got to see a lot of hardcore metal chemistry and some chem ed talks, as well. After several years of hearing about them, I am finally going to use PhET simulations and have even already linked some to my Moodle site. I also have a lot of ideas for potential papers to read in my advanced class. I think this year I might do what we did in my Advanced Analytical class in grad school, where each student was assigned a paper to review and critique. That would cut down on students picking examples from the text book and not developing them to the extent I would have liked to see.
My tourist day in San Francisco was planned out as it was happening, which is unusual for me and had the potential to be as unsatisfying as my trip to New York prior to moving out West. That trip wasn’t unsatisfying, but days that weren’t carefully planned gave me a chance to fill the time with worries, which wasn’t healthy at all. Anyway, I started tourist day with a visit to the Ferry Building, where I had breakfast, bought some notecards, and proceeded to the farmers’ market out back. Look at all the berries and stone fruit! I bought white peaches and pluots so as to have some fruit to offset (maybe) the less healthy food I’d have that week. I took my wares to my hotel and hastily planned the rest of the day. That day started off by walking up to the flagship Banana Republic (it had to happen), and while I didn’t buy anything, it was pretty cool to see.
From there I did what any tourist would do on a Saturday. I walked up to Chinatown. And it’s a good thing, too, because I was freezing and knew I could buy scarves cheaply up there. In fact, that was the first thing I bought, coming away with a rich dark grey and a rich bright orange, both in paisley print. I toddled in and out of jewelry and souvenir shops, eventually buying a long strand of chunky, irregular pearls. I bought my first tea in a shop from which I also bought a cup of tea. This was a mistake on my part because the water was way too hot for the lychee oolong I got. The women there were very nice, though. One had asked me if I was a regular tea drinker, and responded that she could tell I was because I have very nice, smooth skin. I know she was trying to make a sale, but I was flattered, nonetheless. I bought a chrysanthemum tea.
Then I had lunch at a dim sum place. I am not sure it was a proper dim sum experience, and looking at reviews for it, Four Seas Restaurant, tells me that it’s not just me. I was there past the normal lunch hour, but there were still a decent number of people in the restaurant so I was surprised at how infrequently the dim sum circulated. I had turnip cakes, vegetable rolls, and sesame puffs. After the first woman with dim sum came around and brusquely asked me if I wanted any of it, I realized that if I didn’t grab from the next one, I might well starve. I was surprised that they didn’t name what they were carrying once they saw my puzzled look. I also came to realize that dim sum is probably best enjoyed with a group, so as to be able to try many things without having to eat all the food. Ha, I just wrote a review on TripAdvisor for it. My TripAdvisor tote bag will be in the mail in no time!
My day picked up quite well after that. I crossed the street to Eastern Bakery and had to restrain myself to buying only a little. I settled on two pieces of chocolate-covered mooncake to save for later. Then I went in search of more tea at Red Blossom, which was just a great tea-buying experience. I got to learn about and try a number of teas, some of which were too expensive for my budget. Most of the teas there fit that category, but I came away with a nice oolong and a white tea processed as a green tea.
From here, being late afternoon and having spent a decent amount already, I decided to wander aimlessly. This took me up some very steep hills once I spotted Coit Tower and decided to walk up to it. Some very steep hills. And after the hills, there were stairs. I didn’t come all that way for nothing, so I climbed them. At the top, one could get a hazy view of San Francisco’s most famous bridge. One could also go into Coit Tower, but I didn’t, so I’m not sure what’s in there. Walking down was an interesting experience, not least because I came out a different point than that by which I had ascended. On the way down I stopped at Vesuvio Cafe and had absinthe for the first time. I think I could get into drinking absinthe. Was a little surprised to see no food was served, but I guess if you’re Beatnik you live on cocaine. I also visited City Lights, which was very cool up until the point where I felt I was being overly scrutinized by the woman who rang up my purchase of The Master and Margarita. It was cool, but cut me a break lady if I’m not hipster enough for you.
That was the bulk of my day. I see I’ve written a lot, so I’ll save the stuff that’s happened since for another day.