San Francisco and China trip

The adventure continues

San Francisco and China trip

United States – July

This year I’ve got two trips to locations I’ve been to before. The first trip in July is to San Francisco where I will be attending an Adobe conference for educators in Silicon Valley. Even though I have been to San Francisco before, this opportunity provides me with a chance to see some of the things I missed out on last time.

For example, being able to walk, ride or drive across Golden Gate Bridge. Although it is a small thing, it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. Also, despite working in the IT industry for several decades, I’ve never been to Silicon Valley before. Went past in a bus – which like landing in an airport, doesn’t mean you have visited a place. I think it’s almost a rite of passage to visit and stay in Silicon Valley like I visited Oshkosh and the airshow in 2013. To be actually attending an event in the Adobe Headquarters is going to be a highlight for me.

I plan to revisit some of the classic places in San Francisco like Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street, the painted ladies’ houses, the Golden Gate Bridge and other notable attractions around San Francisco including taking a ride on one of the cable cars and potentially visiting Chinatown for a wonderful meal.

I managed to find some of the photographs from our family trip in 2013 that include some of these iconic locations. They are at the bottom of this post.

The yellow numbers on the map below indicate some of the places we will be checking out… When I say we, I mean Nalin, my Queensland Education fellow Adobe Creative Educator Innovator and A. Owl. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to bring the entire Owl family for the trip. More on that later.

I’m not as fixated about Alcatraz as many folks seem to be. I think I would settle for a harbour cruise rather than exploring the rock. I’m probably more interested in hiring a small three-wheeled yellow Gogo mobile to drive around to some of the famous locations in it, capturing some interesting photographs and videos of the experience.

There is also a statue of Yoda very close to where I’m staying in the dormitory. I will have to visit that. The Museum of Modern Art is also on the list and if we have time some of the redwood forest trees in the close vicinity.

In 1976 in one of my geography classes in high school we studied all about Bart the Bay Area rapid transit system that had newly opened in 1972. Almost 50 years later I’m going to have the opportunity to travel on that system. I’m not sure why but at the time I studied about this transport system I was very impressed with it and for some reason as a high school kid in Darwin wished I had a chance to see it. Sometimes in life is just the simple things that make a bit of a difference and they don’t always happen when you want them to but when they do you can simply sit back and enjoy them. I’m sure, like most rapid transit systems around the world almost all of the passengers treat the journey as a chore rather than something to be savoured and enjoyed. I’ll probably be an exception on this journey from the centre of San Francisco down to San Jose.

When not being hosted by Adobe in a hotel in Silicon Valley I will be staying in a multi-person dormitory next to Fisherman’s Wharf to try and recapture some of that university living and travelling experience that I have enjoyed in the past. My son is currently enjoying that same style of communal living in Taiwan. While I could stay in a unit through or in a hotel, by staying in a dormitory backpacker accommodation environment, you tend to meet a lot more interesting people and share interesting experiences.

This was something that I did on one of the islands in the Galapagos in 2023 and even though it was only for one night it gave me an experience to remember for a lifetime. The memorable part of that experience was centred around meeting new people and having conversations about where they had come from, why they were here, and what their plans were going forward. To do that on an island in the Galapagos sounds cool, as it will be in San Francisco.

Apparently, there are sea lions at the wharf piers in San Francisco. I won’t be jumping in the water to film them. 🙂

The highlight of the trip undoubtedly will be meeting all the other Adobe educators from around the world and working together to explore creative ideas that will help fill the cup, light the fire and inspire our students and fellow teachers to be the best that they can be…

…and we can be as influencers trying to improve educational outcomes in fun and interesting ways in and outside the classroom.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend similar events in Sydney, Melbourne and in Bali where in all cases the energy created by a large group of creative educators is not only infectious but it lifts your own individual game serving as a strong inspiration to make you do more and better things when you return home.

11 Years Ago – 2013

When our son was half the age he is now, we embarked upon a two-month adventure around the US, visiting 25 of the 50 states during that time. The following album is from a set of rescued photos of the San Francisco leg of the journey. The album starts at Stanford University – one of the photographs has Joe with statues of 6 men, or burghers’ – sculpted by Rodin, the album, and us then proceed to Lombard St – the windy (curvy) street in San Francisco. The tram is the cable car tram that gets you to the top of Lombard St. The out-of-place-looking Greco-Roman structure is the Palace of Fine Arts built in 1915 for an exhibition. It reminds me of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England – built for a different purpose initially, but becoming a drawcard for the public due to its out-of-character beauty combined with the changing times and requirements of the original owners. Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Cupids Span, The Painted Ladies, Fishermans Wharf and The City Hall

China – October

In late October, actually on my birthday, I will be leaving for China again to retrace journeys to places I have been before and some that I haven’t. In Beijing I look forward to revisiting the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and of course Tiananmen Square.

We are booked in to have a meal of Peking Duck while in Beijing, however what I am really looking forward to is a street food called JianBing. A spicy crepe with an egg cracked and fried on the crepe with shallots, spicy sauce and sometimes a YouTiao as filling (like a savoury churros). As you may have picked up – it is the simple things that I look forward to.

From Beijing, we move down to Shanghai and then do a loop around Wuxi, Hangzhou and Suzhou.

In the late 80s I studied at Nanjing University so that area is familiar to me. I’m sure I won’t recognise the transport systems as they are now probably the most modern in the world. Back then the trains were clean, but not the ultra fast bullet trains and being a student I had to stand for the four hour train journey holding my bag in a crushed body to body train compartment. The 300km trip now takes less than half that time with 256 trains every day… yes 256!! That means a train every 4 minutes or 8 minutes.

I do look forward to revisiting the Peace Hotel in Shanghai, walking along the bund and marvelling at the new structures that have emerged to tower over the traditional parks and buildings that have been kept in the central Shanghai district.

Then before we know it 10 days will have passed. Then we will be heading back to Australia to reflect on our journey and experiences. These two trips are of course mere blips on the calendar compared to the upcoming eight-month journey planned for several continents and dozens of countries in 2025. I hope you can join us for that adventure.

Melbourne and Darwin

Of course between these trips, there is the to and fro between Darwin and Melbourne which will include Edutech in August and a chance to catch up with our son Joe returning from his own 1 year adventure in Taiwan with visits to seven surrounding countries.

The Owl Family

They are a blended family as you can see from this family portrait – created with Adobe Express and using a stock image of the Golden Gate Bridge and a bench… No AI was used in the generation of this image. Only A. Owl will be joining us in San Francisco.

F. Owl heard we were going to be joining some influencers and thought we were talking about avian influenza. H, C and T can’t bear to travel on planes so they aren’t going.


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