Monday, November 07, 2011


Waiting in the lobby of the hotel for the shuttle to take me back to the airport. And that will be the conclusion of a 2 week adventure starting at the Google campus for the GSoC Mentor Summit, a road trip visiting several places in North California and an extensive exploration of San Francisco city.

To summarize : it has been amazing. The things I've seen, the nature, the wildlife, the atmosphere, the people I've met and talked to.

So what did I learn :
  • One can pay almost anything with a credit card, even drinks in a bar or a parking meter.
  • Having an insurance is a good thing. If you have one, you will be helped immediately and with a smile. If you don't have one, you will still get a smile, but you are presented a bill before you are helped.
  • San Francisco is a nice city, full of friendly and patient people (exception for cab drivers, but that counts for probably all cab drivers in the world) but also a city of controversy. Rich and poor live together, or more precisely, next to each other, and you can take that quite literally. One moment you're walking down a fancy shopping street, and one block further you find yourself surrounded by homeless people.
  • Automatic gearboxes are nice for driving in the city and on freeways. Cruise control is also a very nice feature. But when doing some hills you just crave for a manual gearbox.
  • Americans are very good at putting signs for anything, usually stating the obvious. It can be a helpful reminder, or in my case, being a tourist visiting the US for the first time, very convenient. But when you need a sign you can't find one.
  • I still haven't come to grasp with traffic rules for crossroads. On crossroads without a traffic light and stop signs on all corners, I haven't figured out yet who gets to drive first. The one who came to the crossroad first, or the one coming from the right.
    On cross roads with traffic lights, it is usually allowed to drive when it's red if you are going right, but not always. So I usually stopped for red anyway, just to be safe. But this sometimes resulted in being notified by the cars behind me that I should be going.
  • Driving by bike in San Francisco is a very nice experience. The challenge is to find streets that are not too steep.
It was a nice experience and I hope to return some day.