We headed back to San Francisco, which took the first couple of hours of the effective day. Fortunately, it continues to be lovely driving weather. I keep hearing about how this time of year is supposed to be the rainy season in central California, but every trip I've made here at this time of year (three times so far), it's been beautiful. A tad cool, granted (highs in the low 60s, lows in the upper 40s), but still plenty nice for both driving and walking.
After checking back into the hotel (and setting up the Internet connection, of course), we drove into SF proper. This was notable mainly for a horrific traffic jam at Route 80, and the omnipresent iPod billboards. As far as I can tell, Apple purchased the entire city of San Francisco as advertising space sometime this year. Large numbers of billboards, as well as every single placard in the BART, is for the current iPod campaign. (You know, the one with U2.) And I'm not kidding about "every single placard" -- it's almost surreal to look down the length of the subway platform, and see nothing but that same four ads.
We drove down to Union Street; after some adventures trying to find a parking space, we gave up and simply paid too much for a garage. I comforted myself with the knowledge that the BART tix to get there would have cost even more. We then window-shopped for a couple of hours. Very few purchases were made; our usual "where are we going to put it?" question had "how are we getting it home?" added to it, which made for good shopping discipline. She picked up a few interesting items at Lush (which is purportedly opening a Boston store, according to the salesgirl), and, of course, several used books. She found me a delightful book titled "Playwriting for Elizabethans", basically an attempt to reverse-engineer the manual for playwriting that the analysts of the time inexplicably failed to create. I'm going to have to find the time to read this one cover to cover.
We really didn't have lunch -- we'd had a fairly large breakfast at the hotel (Embassy Suites have a complementary Generic Hot Breakfast for guests every morning), so we just had smoothies as a midafternoon snack. We'd originally planned on having Fish Boats for dinner, but realized that (1) getting to our favorite Fish Boat joint meant climbing all the way up to Japantown (and I do mean "climbing"), which wouldn't have been fun for her, and (2) the sushi there is only adequate. The gimmick didn't seem worth the effort, so we instead ate at Prego, a nice Italian restaurant on Union Street. She had a very good chicken marsala; I had penne and shrimp in a pesto cream sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, which was excellent.
After dinner, we went on quest for a Barnes & Noble, to find the next ST:NF book for me, since I'm going to catch up to it soon. We'd tried to find it at one or two independent bookstores, with no luck at all -- Corporate adheres to Corporate, and it's hard to find minor-series Trek anywhere except the big stores. We found one near to our hotel, and I got the book. In paper, as it turns out, indicating that the next one must be coming out in hardcover. (Confirmed when we got back to the hotel, and ordered from Amazon -- I may as well catch up, while I'm on a roll.)
Tomorrow: Dim Sum, and probably going to see The Incredibles. The Umpty-plex in Daly City claims to be showing it with digital projection, which seems like it's worth it in this case...