From San Francisco to Holland and finally back home…

So this is probably the last part of my little travelogue, so it’s probably going to be a bit long and probably more than a little self-indulgent and rambling. And I’ve already written the whole thing once twice and then lost it due to an accidental depression of the power button on my Powerbook at an innopportune moment (and a subsequent random crash, of all things). And I’m also pretty tired and jet-lagged. So I guess some of my usual vigour might be a little lacking.

So when we’d last spoken, oh patient readers, I’d been out at a hip-hop evening at a gay bar in San Francisco that (it turns out) was being DJ’d by Ernie’s bloke, although I didn’t know that at the time. And after feeling a bit like everyone’s dad, I’d collapsed back to the house of the most lovely Leslie and slept like one of your more sound-sleeping and reliable logs. Which was nice.

The following day was to be the last full day I would have in the city (and of the holiday) and I had a lot to pack in (which I did with varying degrees of success). I tried to start early and keep up the momentum. So first up I went off to this really big Starbucks with loads of space and wifi and about a billion Apple Users in it down on 9th and Howard to meet up with Jim Speth, the creator of iCommune and hopefully a future collaborator. So we talked for a while, which was neat and then met up with Ben Cerveny and ex-Barbelite Schlomo for an awesome, but slightly disturbingly enormous lunch (see terrifying pictures) down in a caf&eacuate; in an industrial dockland area of San Francisco.

From there Jim and Ben swapped travel buddies and Ben dropped me off near Union Square so that I could meet up with Mella and wander around the place. We got the trolley up towards Castro after roaming around downtown and then had one of the most awesome Cheesecakes I’ve ever had in my life (with strawberry goo) and then walked up to Haight Ashbury where Mella did some shoe-shopping. And after a slightly unfortunate delay in the centre, we again returned to Leslie’s to relax and watch TV for a bit. And once we’d gone our separate ways I wandered to an evening’s entertainment at “Tranny Shack” – a highly entertaining evening at a bar down on Harrison. And then bed, and muchos sleeping.

My final morning saw me wandering around the shops a little and then heading off to the airport where there was enormous and useful amounts of wifi. On the flight, I managed to watch Hellboy and sleep for seven hours (thanks for the tips, Heather) before we landed in London. And I know this is almost unbelievably interesting to you people, but then I went into work for a few hours and then I came home and then basically I went to bed!

I’m going to speed things up a bit now, because otherwise we might be here all night. So after staying up jet-lagged until around four in the morning, I got a full hour of sleep before wandering off to the airport for the next leg of my trip to Enschede in Holland with a group of other geeks to talk about geek stuff, which involved a number of interesting talks, driving around a go-karting track, avoiding foam parties in nearby clubs, watching the Olympics with Hammersley and playing Zendo.

Anyway, I’m back now, and I can’t quite believe the difference that this last couple of weeks has made to me. I feel astonishingly relaxed, clear-minded and calm. Lots of the doubt and anxiety I’ve been stuck with over the last few months has disappeared completely and my mind seems … well … I guess my mind seems quiet. Peaceful. Which is all really cool and nice and everything, I guess, except now I’ve got a new fear – that I’m going to get as wound up and tense and unlike myself again when I return to work in the morning. And that’s scaring the crap out of me.

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