Circuit boards and Cheesecake

29 June 2008

Today was the only foreseeable geek day of our trip. After picking up a hire car we drove down through South-of-Market and down into Silicon Valley with Dad pointing out significant geek landmarks along the way. One thing that I actually didn’t notice immediately was the change in the weather, for we had left the foggy microclimate of San Francisco and we were experiencing the warm Californian sun.

First stop on our Geek tour of the day:  Google.  Once we’d found it we were let in by Douglas Bowman and showed around.  It was an impressive sight to behold.  Huge white buildings, a café with Google coloured parasols, massive open spaces.  When we got into the lobby, all goggle eyed by this point, there was a projected board showing real time Google searches, an image of the world with spikes showing the number of searches.  We didn’t actually pass many work spaces, but we did see all sorts of stuff from swimming-pool-treadmills to experimental offices and the Beta of their company store.  Then we went and had lunch, and I was amazed at both the quality and the variety of food that was there, for free!

After leaving Google we payed a visit to the Computer museum, which I’m sure fascinates some but bored me.  Seeing the Babagge calculator was interesting and so was seeing stuff like the Apple I, the Newton MessagePad and the NeXTstation but the large boxes of circuit-boards with no visible way of using them didn’t interest me.

Next stop, Cupertino.  Although we of course couldn’t go in we looked at Apple’s offices and went to The Company Store, then drove around Infinite Loop and headed back to San Francisco.  On the way back we went over the Golden Gate Bridge, something I have wanted to do since I was eight years old, took lots of pictures then headed back into San Francisco and dropped off the car.

At the end of what was quite a long day we were all quite hungry so we decided to go to the much praised Cheesecake Factory and after waiting for a table we sat down outside.  It was quite cold so I had to go and put a T-Shirt I had bought earlier in the day at Google on underneath my shirt.  The meal I had was very nice and very big, so big that I didn’t get chance to eat any cheesecake.  No worries, we bought some to take back but I can’t comment ‘cause I haven’t had it yet.  All in all a nice geek day, but I think Mum hopes its the last

By Alex Clarke

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Of course, Alex, when you say you were all ‘goggle-eyed’ you must have meant ‘Google-eyed’, surely? ;-)

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