When I was approached about going to San Francisco, I thought I was being asked if I wanted to go to the city in general, not if I wanted to go there in a week. Well, turns out that I would be sent off on my first real business trip and be spending 24 hours on the west coast.
We started normal enough, a 3:30 am wake-up, meeting my friend Nash on the bus to the airport, chugging through security, and boarding a plane headed West. I work for the content crew for the CMCI and the university was holding an event in San Francisco that aimed at reconnecting with alumni and engaging with prospective students. For me, I’d be shooting photos and helping out with running our VR Booth.
We landed in San Francisco, flying low over the ocean with the sun reflecting off of its surface. Getting off the plain and stepping out of the airport, we felt the sun warm our skin that was so used to the deeps of winter that we were so used to in Boulder. I see why people love California, if 55 and sunny is normal, I can definitely get behind it. We hopped into an Uber, a small Prius that somehow fit our bulky VR gear, and made our way towards downtown San Francisco.
I didn’t realize how long it has been since I’ve seen the ocean. After dropping off our stuff at the venue and getting a burger, Nash and I made our way down Market Street towards the pier. It was some sort of ferry terminal, a mix between Union Station in Denver and, well, boats. From the pier, we could see the long bridge that stretched into Oakland, and the blue expanse of the Pacific. Added to this was a cute bookstore and seagulls that seemed very excited to try and steal some fries from the restaurants along the waterfront.
To get to why we were actually here we had to make our way over to The Metron. In it was a weird food court with a robotic coffee bar, an AMC, and City View, our venue with a really nice view of the Modern Art Museum. Setting up ensured that we would have a very long day, but once we got the VR system up and running, it seemed like a lot of people were really excited about it. Nash and I both threw on the headsets before the event started and as people began to show up I would show them how its all done.
This event was way fancier than I was expecting. Everyone was dressed up real nice, the food was all served on small plates, there were fancy wines and very important university people milling around the floor, interacting with the San Francisco alums. Many people were interested in finding out what exactly the CMCI was which meant a lot of people came up to talk to me, and in turn, I answered questions with some certainty and mostly a lot of “winging it”. At the end of the night, I was thoroughly exhausted and while we planned to look around the city, as soon as I got to my room (which was all to myself, thanks, CU), I was out for the night.
San Francisco is a big city. I thought Denver was big but being surrounded by that many people, all of the cars and traffic, the skyscrapers holding big tech companies, I realized that I’ve never really been in a city like that. One of the gems though is that there are a lot of coffee shops. The people on Youtube that I watch, particularly Matt D’Avella and Colin and Samir, talked a lot about Blue Bottle Coffee, and while in town I really wanted to try it out. On Thursday on our way back from the pier we stopped by a Blue Bottle where I learned that San Fran doesn’t really accept cash and that americanos really sting when you spill them on your hand, tripping over a curb while looking at Google Maps. So Friday morning I wanted to give it another go by heading to a different location just down the street from our hotel. I got another americano and a slice of a lemon pound cake. Both of these were really good, but it didn’t compare to the dog outside which rolled over for a belly rub as soon as I walked up. 10/10 San Fran, 10 out of 10.
Flying back was another story altogether. We crammed out stuff into yet another Prius Uber and made our way to the chaos of an airport. Checking in was easy enough but at security, I realized I forgot to dump out my water and had to chug my full, 32 ounce Nalgene in the line. That was a sign. After that event, we made it to the gate, I ate too much Chinese food and boarded our plane, which arrived a few minutes late. Strike two. When we get on the plane, we start hearing weird noises over the speakers, turns out the cabin communication system was broken. We’d sit in that plane at the gate for two hours as they fixed it. Strike three. Once we finally took off (delayed further by an issue with the tow bar) we finally took off, leaving the warm sun of California behind us. The flight itself was pretty quiet, I got homework done and got a can of ginger ale, but entering Colorado was a different story. As we descended into Denver, we hit some of the worst turbulence I ever experienced. To say the least, I was not a fan. Strike four. Baggage claim was slow. Strike 5. And to top it off, we landed in quite the snow storm, delaying our bus home and making it a very slow ride. Strike 6.
Yet, despite our difficulties, I did really love the short amount of time that we spent in San Fran. Being under those towering buildings, the warm sun, and all of the interesting cafes and restaurants really made me understand why people really loved living there. It is not definitely a place that I need to go back to, make a trip out of it, and really experience what the city has to offer. Not bad for 24 hours in San Francisco.