Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sans Jose and Francisco

Karina was right, the picture was of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Unfortunately, I wasn't there for more than a day or 2, as I was working in San Jose.

San Jose could not be more dissimilar to San Francisco. SF is kind-of a funky town, where there's wildlife, and people walk and jog and take fun public transport like cable cars. The centre city is all bunched together, so you can easily roam around it.

San Jose, on the other hand, is all freeways, SUVs and office buildings. You can't even find a corner dairy. On my nightly waddle from the hotel to the IHOP for the ubiquitous burger and fries, I would pass Yahoo and AMD. On my way to work I would pass eBay, Sun Microsystems, Paypal and an area so dominated by Cisco that it's called Cisco City. It seems odd that I got such slow broadband in the hotel and at work, since the guts of the Internet was within shoe-throwing distance of where I was standing. It would've been quicker for me to walk to Yahoo, knock on the door, and ask tomorrow's weather forecast in person.

Here's the view from my window in the hotel. It sums up San Jose pretty well:

Let's see: SUV, pickup truck, stretched limo, vast parking space, driving rain, and in the background, a deserted amusement park. I've seen enough Scooby Doo to know that the empty amusement park is being haunted by the owner's nephew wearing a luminous amphibian suit. Scubby Dubby Doooooo!

So, I just really want to dispell any thoughts of "Oh, that guy is so lucky to get to go to Silicon Valley!" Here's me, drenched, after trudging back from the office late at night in the pouring rain wearing a disposable pink poncho that looks like one of Elton John's bin liners. I think you can see the joy on my face.

(Yes, sometimes I like to check into hotels and take photos of myself wearing pink clothing. Most of those photos end up on my other, secret website.)

But there were a couple of high points. As I mentioned, I saw the Sharks take on the Blackhawks. That is, of course, ice hockey. The San Jose Sharks are the top team in the league at the moment. Ice hockey is brilliant. It's unremittingly violent, but without the shame factor of wrestling. It's like the WWF on ice. The Sharks lost in extra time, but when you're watching hockey it's not about who wins or loses, it's about which team collects the most opposition teeth.

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