This is what happens when you work at a design agency and go looking for the right license keys after a clean rebuild.
Yesterday I got back to Colorado from my spring break to San Francisco. I spent the week visiting with Alan, whom I had only seen once since high school graduation. His apartment is downtown just blocks from the Embarcadero, so we had easy access to all kinds of stuff. I got to hang out with a lot of Alan’s salesforce.com and Carnegie Mellon alum friends- lots of rock band, cupcakes, and hot tubs were had throughout the week.
I posted a stream of the more interesting places I visited on my Foursquare account. I particularly liked walking around in the Mission (in the sun 😀 ) and checking out some of San Francisco’s, ahem… more eccentric cafés (that link is mildly NSFW).
Towards the end of the week, I got to do some more catching up. I spent a day in Silicon Valley with family: Denis and Shana and my cousins Anora and Quinn. The kids have probably grown a foot and a half since I last saw them, so it was really fun to get to play with them. Shana works in HR at Google and took Denis and I around the Googleplex, which lived up to its reputation as a geek’s utopia. I also had a chance to meet up with Jessica, another friend from high school; we all went to Tommy’s Yucatan Restaurant, which is famous for their top-shelf tequila and is where my stepdad proposed to my mom.
So I had really great time overall. San Francisco is my favorite city in the United States and I’d love to find a software job out there. It isn’t making the prospects of living in Boulder, Denver or Fort Collins any less attractive, though; I had a great time there and I’m sure I’ll be having a great time there again regardless of where life takes me.
Below are the photos I took while I was there. (Denis took a couple of them while Quinn’s wrestling skills had me incapacitated.) I should also mention that Alan is way more of a shutterbug than I, and also spends a lot more time taking pictures of actual people instead of my transfixion on architecture and the like. He has a couple of great galleries from my time there: [One] [Two]
I just barely caught this view while biking on a part of campus I don’t really frequent. CSU might be at its most beautiful during the fall. It’s strange to think that this is the last year I’ll be around it so much as a student…
Remember when a family member would come home from some exotic location, strap you down to the sofa, and force you to endure a 2-hour unedited slideshow of their entire trip? Well it’s time to relive those memories all over again!
…except that you aren’t being held captive.
…and I chose about 100 photos from a few thousand.
I threw together the best of my photos and videos across all 5+ months in Europe. I suggest clicking through the link below the embedded video to watch it in fullscreen HD on Vimeo (assuming Flash doesn’t puke all over your computer, which it does even on good systems.)
So there ya go! You can thank me later for embracing technology instead of holding you against your will.
I have posted photos of my Morocco trip on my Picasa Web Album – check ’em out!
What an adventure! I’ve crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and set foot upon Moroccan soil. I’ve been plunged into a land of Arabs and Berbers – a country under the power of a monarchy, to boot. I’ve passed through huge marketplaces which have barely changed since mideval ages, and a sprawling modern supermarket like Wal-Mart From Another World. I have ridden Land Rovers and camels across the Sahara, camped in traditional tents, relaxed, drummed and danced with chill desert dwellers.
I’ve walked the dunes and meditated in solitude. (Or was it in communion with all creation?) I’ve explored the desert guided by the light of the full moon. And I’ve had the most amazing group of fun, loving, fun-loving people to share and enjoy the experience with.
I went to Morocco with about 50 students from International Studies Abroad, many coming from other programs in Madrid, Salamanca, Málaga and Santender. Our bus left Granada at 3:30 Sunday morning, a day before Spain’s holy week festivities were to begin. We crossed the Strait of Gibraltar at sunrise and crossed the border at Ceuta, an autonomous Spanish city on the African coast. The border was reminiscent of the Mexico-U.S. border, complete with incessant honking choruses and vans packed full of seemingly useless junk (even though you know a use has been found for all of it).
Upon crossing the border – and scoring one more stamp on my passport- dozens of cameras whipped out and were aimed out the bus windows. North Morocco was nothing like what I had expected – extremely green, like Colorado during April showers. We had lunch at a rest stop, where I had my first experience as a traveler with zero knowledge of the popular languages Arabic, French, and Berber, in that order. While essential travel communication is definitely possible, all of my travel up until this point has been in countries where English or Spanish are widely spoken. Being thrown into a completely different, somewhat non-Western culture is enough of a change of gears as it is, but add total lack of language skills to the mix and you have a pretty intimidating situation on your hands!
We finally arrived to our five-star hotel in the outskirts of Fez, where the king’s palace is located and a huge, ancient Medina contains mideval marketplaces and old stuff abound. Our hotel itself was a different story- European amenities, kind of a retreat from all the new things we explored in the city by day. The next morning, we went to the medina and toured several larger shops, where shopkeepers gave presentations of their goods to the whole group, and many of us would later bargain – “regatear” in Spanish – with multilingual salesmen. The medina really was a blast from the past; narrow walkways with people and load-carrying donkeys, with no motor vehicles to be found. Open-air shops selling fresh veggies and meat from the countryside. Several of us walked past a butcher right as he removed a dead goat’s head and extracted its brain!
Here are a few videos I recorded in Fez:
…and don’t forget to check out the photos!