San Francisco 2011 – Overview

After 10 days in the San Francisco, I’m finally back in Malaysia. Home sweet home!

Union Square

San Francisco is a beautiful city. It’s extremely hilly – even hillier than Sheffield. It has plenty of beautiful buildings with great architecture.

A shopping centre just for ladies!

The only complaint that I have is that there are many homeless people on the streets.

The demographic of San Francisco is quite strange. On one street you have all the high end retail outlets but on the next street, you’ll find homeless or dodgy looking people roaming around.

Many of these homeless people harass passerby for spare change or even to make strange comments. Some were out of their mind – screaming incoherent words out of nowhere. I’ve learned that the best way to deal with them is to ignore them. It works!

There are many street buskers too. This one took a photo with Will Smith!

The weather wasn’t very kind. It was extremely cold and even rained at some days. I had to wear 3 to 4 layers of t-shirts before going out. One friend got sick and was slapped with a USD300 medical bill after seeing a local doctor. Fortunately for me, all I had was sore throat.

I spent 5 days attending the International Trade Mark Conference (INTA). This is my 3rd time attending this conference and it was good. Great networking sessions and met plenty of new (probably 60 over) and interesting contacts. I met some old contacts and spent great time with them. Networking is not the amount of people I meet but the amount of quality time I spent with them.

Conference area. Spent a lot of time here meeting people. When I have free time, I will chat with some random stranger.

We arrived a day early to accustom our body clock to US timing. Unfortunately, we took a nap at 2pm, with the intention of waking up an hour later, but woke up at 7pm instead. Gah.

With regret on our mind, we walked to Chinatown for dinner.

Took us almost 20 minutes – went through a tunnel

Was briefly entertained by a Chinese band

But was served terrible food. Uh.

During the conference, day time was spent on meetings and night time was spent on receptions or dinners.

Had meeting at an associates’ office. Great view!

Receptions were held at very nice places except for one reception where we lined up for 45 minutes under the rain. The bouncers were only allowing 2 to 3 people every 5 to 10 minutes. Some people gave up halfway and went away. When we were about to get in, the bouncer announced that the venue is full and they are no longer taking anyone in! Some chaps were so furious that they started swearing at the bouncers. We, on the other hand, adjourned to a cafe nearby with our Chinese associates.

I stayed in a boutique hotel called Hotel Abri. It was a nice hotel with excellent facilities and location. It’s just a few minutes away from Moscone Center, the conference venue.

After the conference, I moved to Globetrotters Inn Hostel, which was a far cry from Hotel Abri. My hostel has only a bed, a sink and a chair. No heater and table! I had to use the window ledge to put my laptop :s

The hostel is pretty much run down and not very clean. However, service was great. When I was waiting for my bus to take me to the airport, I bumped into a staff of the hostel. She was concerned that my bus was late and even called the bus operator for me. It was very kind of her.

I extended my stay for 2 nights to check out San Francisco. I went cycling, did some shopping and visited the gay center of San Francisco namely Castrol Street.

The journey back to KL took me around 20 hours. It was rather uneventful except for one occasion where a lady decided to disembark from our flight before flying. I thought she had some prediction that the flight will crash. At that point, I thought this flight will be the end of me :s

More details about the trip later!