San Francisco, Day 2

I awake to a dark and foggy morning. There is a false horizon, I can see only 4 blocks in any direction. My head feels a lot like the weather. Misty. Opaque. I was up until 11 last night drinking with some new friends. I reflect on how quickly one is able to make friends with total strangers when travelling alone.

I awoke at 6am. One hour later than yesterday. Clearly my jet lag is still there but getting better. Someone once told me that jet lag is overcome at a rate of one hour per day. He seems to have told me the truth.

I get to the conference early; before 8am. I spend several hours preparing for a talk which is to be given at 11:45. This preparation time is stressful. The presentation I had carefully crafted last week is totally blank. 29 slides of whiteness. What has happened to it? I practically have to recreate it from scratch. I actually end up using the printed handouts for the presentation as a basis for re-writing it. Much stress. My happy afternoon and evening yesterday are forgotten. This is what travelling is about. Horrible lunches, long waits in airports and unexpected stress.

Fortunately, the talk goes really well. There is lots of laughter in the right places and some heavy-duty applause at the end. Afterwards its lunch; a chicken BLT and a can of Cherry Pepsi (picked just because I’d never seen it before. It turns out that Cherry Coke is better).

The fog lifts and the sun reveals a warm day.

In the evening I meet up again with my new friends and we go to Scomer’s. A great restaurant with a speciality in sea food. Afterwards we wander across to the next pier along. Seals. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of real live seals. They bark. They snort. They sneeze. They stink like shit. During a walk along the street we find that there are as many crap shops full of crap as there are seals. I buy a $12 pair of sunglasses. Wearing them at night makes me feel like a rock star, so I stop.

Bed. Sleep. Tomorrow I will be a tourist all day.

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