Sunday, April 3, 2016

A geographer in San Francisco

I attended my first annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers thirty years ago in Minneapolis. A group of graduate students drove up from the University of Chicago and packed into one hotel room. The conference provides opportunities to present research, learn from other scholars, check out new books, explore new cities and their surroundings, socialize with former professors, graduate school friends and former students and eat good food. I flew out late Monday night and arrived just in time to catch the last BART train from the airport into the city.

A new research project for me is an interdisciplinary effort looking at tsunami modeling and mitigation in Indonesia. This is all new to me so several of the sessions I attended at the conference dealt with tsunami studies.

For lunch on the first day I headed out in search of Little Saigon.

Delicious sea food pho.

Who knew that the statue at the center of Union Square is in commemoration of the defeat of Spain in Manila during the Spanish American war.

That evening I joined a new BYU colleague and a former student/TA, now professor for sushi at Fisherman's Warf. Neither had been to San Francisco before so they wanted to see this top touristic stop.

Wednesday was my designated day for exploring. I headed out from the Hilton Hotel near Union Square and walked most of the way across the San Francisco peninsula. I followed Market street southwest ward. I stopped for an almond croissant and mango juice.

Farmer's market

City Hall

US Mint (it is fortified to the point that I first thought is was a uniquely styled prison).

Another Spainish American War memorial.

Market Street

The Castro District

Castro Street

Cool houses and gardens along 17th Street.

I don't think we can afford one.

There are hills in San Francisco.

From the top of 17th street looking north to the steeples and tower of San Francisco University.

I remember on a family vacation in the early 1970s driving through the Haight Ashbury area. It was the tail end of the hippie era. I wanted to see again this iconic place so central to the hippie movement.

I'm all for peace and love and for ice cream.

Peace sign socks as souvenirs for the kids.

Thai food for lunch.

While walking along Haight Street a guy said hello, I said hello back, then as I passed he asked "hey Chicago (I was wearing my U of Chicago cap) want some weed?" "No thanks" I said. I can't remember ever being offered weed before. 

Then as I entered Golden Gate Park I got another offer for weed (from the black guy in the black coat). I didn't think I had the look.

The yellow flowers in the California section of the park are called Meadow Foam.

Red wood grove.

Set me lose in any city with a map, hat, camera and good walking shoes and I can make it a great day.

Redwood Sorrel.

What hallucinogenic was the Creator partaking off when all tropical all fish and some flowers (like this) were created?

I took a bus back to the hotel. Then attended a lecture on Christian involvement in the refugee crisis in Europe. Very interesting. Sounds like Catholics and Mormons are in sync in terms of treatment of refugees

Ethiopian food for dinner. My first ever Ethiopian food was on my second date with Marie. We doubled dated and I think I ate 3/4 of the food that night. The other three were not big fans.

Another tsunami session on Thursday morning. I liked this painting in the lobby of the Marker Hotel, one of the four hotels were conference sessions were held.

More souvenirs for the kids to enjoy.

Delicious Korean bibimbap for lunch.

That evening I met Valerie, one of our favorite RAs from Semester at Sea for a tour of University of San Franciso, where she works, and for dinner. St. Ignatius, the beautiful campus church was still decorated from Easter and Palm Sunday.

The Church was hosting a nice exhibit on Jesuit mapping of Asia. Pretty cool.

This map shows the rivers of south and southeast Asia flowing our of a single mythical lake in China.

Looking east to San Francisco Bay

Looking west to the Pacific.

 We then walked to a more laid back, less expensive, alternative Chinatown along Clement Street (just south of the Presidio). I wish there were markets like this closer to home.

Oooh, this is not for dinner.

This is for dinner. Malaysian martabak for starters followed by Malaysian noodles (char kway teow) and Indonesian Gado-Gado at the Lime Tree Southeast Asian Kitchen. I hope a Utah Valley branch comes soon.

Friday morning I had breakfast (French toast, does that count as ethnic?) with my long time friend Shaul (and his wife Diane). We attended our first AAG meeting together and spent time in Israel/Palestine at the same time doing dissertation research.

My session was an interesting assortment of topics (who knew that the Salt Lake area was one of the highest users of the services of Ashley Madison). My paper looked at the practice of female circumcision among Christians in Africa and Indonesia. My main focus was on the response of Christian churches towards the practice. Many Christian leaders have spoken out against the practice, but I have yet to document any similar statements from LDS leaders even though I am slowly finding out that in Indonesia the mildest form of female circumcision (ceremonial pricking) has been practiced among Mormons. I am still hoping to verify whether or not it is practiced among Mormons in Africa. My guess is that it is.

My last lunch was delicious Indonesian food (can't go wrong with rendang) at a long time favorite--Borobudur Restaurant (I was so excited to eat that I forgot to take a photo until half way through). Two BYU colleagues and two BYU grads now in graduate school joined me.

Our family ate here four years ago on our California Adventure. See photos here:

I had an hour to kill before heading to the airport so I took one of my colleagues for his first walk through China Town.

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