We got up slowly this morning, had breakfast, and then headed out around 09:00. We walked down Post Street and then crossed Market to 2nd Street, which we walked south along until we reached AT&T Park, the home field of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. We had tickets for the 10:30 guided tour.
Willie Mays Plaza, outside AT&T Park.
We arrived quite early, so walked around the park clockwise, seeing McCovey Cove and various other things around the perimeter. The weather was dry, but a low fog hung around, making it impossible to see across the bay. We reached the large Giants Dugout store on the west side of the park and confirmed this was where our tour would start, than continued our circuit a little to see Willie Mays Plaza at the largest entrance to the park. Then we returned to the store to wait for the tour to begin.
18:00, San Francisco Airport.
There were about twenty people on the tour. An older man introduced himself as Emmett and led us on the tour. Unfortunately there was a big Valentine’s Day charity event being hosted in a huge marquee on the playing field, so we weren’t allowed on to the field at all, but the tour took us through the visiting team changing rooms, the practice batting cages, the press media room, and out into the stands at the highest, or “view”, level, from where we had a great view of the entire field. In the visitor changing room was an old door from Candlestick Park, which was signed by every player for the Giants and every visiting team during the entire last season the Giants played at Candlestick. Emmett said the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown wanted the door, but the signing was the idea of the manager of the visiting team rooms and when he started he offered to buy the door for the cost of a replacement – $80 – and the Giants management accepted, so the signed door was his personal property, and he wanted it displayed in the Giants visitor rooms. We also got to walk through the memorabilia museum section, which premium game attendees have access to. It contained lots of game gear, signed baseballs, shirts, and so on, as well as the two World Series Championship trophies which the Giants won in 2010 and 2012.
Inside AT&T Park.
The tour concluded just after 12:00. We exited the park and walked back over to 2nd Street to walk back up towards a place we’d passed earlier on our way to the park: The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. We went in to get some lunch and joined a queue of a dozen or so people waiting to order. It was clearly popular. M. got a Mousetrap, which was the simplest sandwich they had, with four different types of cheese on it. I got a Mushroom and Gruyere, which I think only had two different types of cheese. We also ordered a bowl of spicy tomato soup, which came with a small paper bag of croutons. All of the food was really good, and the sandwiches both came with a small apple, which we also ate after finishing off the sandwiches.
From there we walked back towards Market Street, cutting west at Mission to head towards the Target store there to get a clipboard to protect the comic artwork Shaenon had given me. On the way we actually ran across a stationery shop, so went in. We asked where the clipboards were, but found they were all a different style to the ones we have at home; they were just a single hard board with a clip at the top, and didn’t have the folding front cover that would give all around protection. We looked around a bit more and I found a hadn’t plastic shell case with a clip on the front designed to protect documents. It was a bit pricey at $16, but I wanted something strong so I bought it.
Lunch at the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen.
The next stop was the Ghirardelli shop on the corner of Market St and New Montgomery, which we happened to pass right by not longer after M. said she might have to get some Ghirardelli chocolate at the airport as a gift for my mother. We picked a selection of chocolate squares and had them wrapped with a ribbon.
We returned to our hotel by about 13:30 and relaxed for a bit before having showers and packing our luggage. We checked out just before 16:00, then sat in the lobby for a little while as M. had a cup of water from the dispenser there. We decided to head straight to the airport and wait there, even though our flight check in won’t be for a couple of hours yet, as there wasn’t much else we could do.
We’ve just had a walk through the airport check in area, looking at the SFMOMA shop for a bit, then sitting in a food court to while away a bit more time until we can check in. I got an apple to tide me over until dinner on the airside of security.
We headed to the United counters to check in about 3.5 hours before our flight. The queue we joined was mostly Japanese people, evidently for an earlier flight to Japan. However, after waiting for about fifteen minutes, nobody had advanced in the queue at all, and all of the people at the counters were still there talking to the check in staff. We realised something was wrong. Fortunately, an airline staff member came by and said that this queue was for people whose flight to Tokyo had been cancelled, and all passengers checking in for Australia should move to another set of counters. Once we’d done this, we were in a queue which actually moved and checked in a few minutes later.
Last sunset in San Francisco.
We had our exit row seats again. The man in the row of three with us was a geophysicist who specialised in geothermal energy. He was travelling to New Zealand via Sydney for a conference there.
Saturday, 15 February. (Written later)
The flight passed uneventfully and we landed a little bit early on a warm and steamy, rainy Sydney morning. Saturday morning, as we’d skipped Friday by crossing the international date line. The taxi driver who took us home said the weather had been fine until the rain started that morning. I guess we brought it back from San Francisco with us.