Pre-WWDC: Preparation, Planes and Phun in San Fran

If I were completely accurate, I would have to say my journey started when I told Paris I wanted a ticket to WWDC even if the AUC weren’t going to give me one for a scholarship. But in actuality it started last week when I decided to shift my sleep schedule in order to make the transition to US Pacific time smooth. Easy: because my alarm clock is really my Mac Mini and a combo of iCal, iTunes, Automator and ABC Classic FM streaming radio, all I had to do was shift the events in iCal and all was good to go. That, and pack.

This brings me to Friday the 5th, Tasmania time. The night before, I hit the sack at 6pm, and awoke right on schedule at 2:30 AM… leaving me a good 6 hours before the time I planned to be at Hobart Airport and 8 hours before the first flight. So around 5:30 AM I got bored and went for a walk around Sandy Bay.

Sandy Bay at 5:30 AM on a rainy morning
Sandy Bay at 5:30 AM on a rainy morning

With the added moisture to wake me up further, I proceeded to work on packing remaining items into my case and try to get some 60IV webmaster requests out of the way. Fast forward to coffeetime at Hobart Airport:

Friends at Hobart Airport
Friends at Hobart Airport

Much fun was had with cameras
Much fun was had with cameras

And who should we run into at Hobart Airport, also going on the same flights to the same conference? Our old lecturer and tutor Mark Hepburn! Despite Paris’s foreshadowing that Melbourne air traffic control were hours behind and the plane would be delayed, we got boarded and sent off on time. So began our journey in earnest.

Now I have never travelled internationally before, so my expectations of what would happen at customs and immigration was, shall we say, influenced by my dear friends who were travelling with me. But on reflection, the whole process was quite smooth.

We got into Sydney domestic with no bumps from the plane and proceeded to the transfer bus that took us over to the international terminal. There were many possibilities for fantastic shots of rows of Qantas jet tail-fins but nobody had a camera out. Then, we stood in a queue for about half an hour to have our passports looked at and our departure cards examined. At this point nobody was allowed to have cameras or phones out.

In the queue I was with Tony, and naturally, the number of Tony jokes was pretty big. I’ll spare the reader.

So then after the queue, we made a promise to wait for each other while going through Security 2.0 before heading through the duty-free stores and to the gate. Of course, I lost track of everybody, thinking Tony was somewhere ahead of me, and decided going to the gate was a good idea. Little did I know everybody was looking for me! So I called and they called and the whole lot was sorted out with time to spare. Sorry guys, won’t happen again!

Thus I boarded a 747. Another first for me. We had prearranged the seating back in Hobart, and I was with Jess and Jess in row 60, on the port side. I got 60C-–aisle seat.

The Jess Squared with sleepy-time masks on.
The Jess Squared with sleepy-time masks on.

Breakfast buddies!
Breakfast buddies!
I suppose a decent cuppa is substitute for missing the hot towels.
I suppose a decent cuppa is substitute for missing the hot towels.

Between the decent movie selection, horrid crackling in the sound system, PA announcements every five minutes, inter-seat phone calls, and awkward leg-bag interplay, I managed at least four instances of unconscious sleep.

We landed in San Francisco and disembarked in very good time, and proceeded to the US side of the customs and immigration joy we had experienced back in Sydney. Again, after a half-hour queue, we tried the meet-up-just-after- trick again and it worked this time. But adrenalin shot up as the computer that the US immigration agent was using, at the booth I was at, decided to freeze up, so I had to do my scans twice.

Then we collected our luggage and went through customs. This was surprisingly less painful than I anticipated-–of course, who would have been feeding us stories of cavity searches and probing? (Hint: His name starts with ‘P’) and in fact less painful than anybody anticipated since none of our luggage was checked. I think Andrew had some kind of handerchief trick in his bag that he was anxious to try out on the wary US customs agent, but he was deprived!

So what next? Tony took the lead and we all went to catch the BART train into town. Another minor hiccup occurred when the gate ate my ticket, but this was sorted really quickly and we were on our way. Still not many choice photo opportunities, but hey, I’m pretty much the only person on this trip without a non-phone camera.

After the train, however, there were some photos to be had.

Totally a render. Those thumbs are so fake!
Totally a render. Those thumbs are so fake!

We checked in, had showers, rehydrated, and met back in the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott.

Serious Sunglasses time
Serious Sunglasses time

The rest of the day is summarised thusly: we went to Moscone to check out the Apple display,

The Big Apple...right?
The Big Apple...right?

We checked out Yerba Buena gardens, and went to have tea at the Samovar tea place there…

Yerba Buena gardens statue
Yerba Buena gardens statue

Yerba Buena gardens
Yerba Buena gardens and the delightful Samovar
Jon with statue
Jon with statue

We set out from Samovar towards the Embarcadero…

Hmmm.
Hmmm.

Some hotel entrance, they look like soap
Some hotel entrance, they look like soap
Port of San Francisco clock tower
Port of San Francisco clock tower

We looked around the port, then moseyed past the piers towards Fisherman’s Wharf…

The other bridge
The other bridge

Statue of Ghandi
Statue of Ghandi
Poles apart
Poles apart
Warranty void if seal is broken...
Warranty void if seal is broken...tempting, as the smell was wondrous!
Alcatraz from a distance
Alcatraz from a distance

We had a burger and drink at Johnny Rockets and then things went uphill from there, as we walked up Hyde St and Powell St, watching the cable cars roll past…

Root Beer Float, the Johnny Rockets name for a sarsparilla spider. Also note how the sauce was given to each of us separately in smiley face shapes.
Root Beer Float, the Johnny Rockets name for a sarsparilla spider. Also note how the sauce was given to each of us separately in smiley face shapes.

A typical cable car
A typical cable car
Nice view up here
Nice view up this far...

A typical San Francisco street
A typical San Francisco street
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Gorgeous view up here!

Then we walked down (and up and down and etc) to Union Square…

...via a busted sewerage line. This managed to smell worse than the seals.
...via a busted sewerage line. This managed to smell worse than the seals.

In the middle of Union Square
In the middle of Union Square

Then to the Apple store…

Apple Store
Inside the Apple store, they have a Genius bar, and a theatre where the TV ads were playing.

…and back to the hotel. Which is where I am now. I’m zonked. And with that, I’ll be off to bed. |-)