We arrived in San Francisco without any trouble–and what a delightful change it is from snowy, freezing weather to warmer, even sunny at times, weather here in downtown San Fran. The Hotel Monaco is always charming, with its wine and crackers at 5pm in the lounge (and, alas, a long line for the chair massage)–no gold fish in the room at this Monaco (unlike in Seattle), but still a pleasant hotel with cozy beds (and I mean cozy—you must be intimately involved to share a bed here).
Alaska Airlines: no food (I did remember to bring peanut butter sandwiches) but free wine. Really, Maryhill red blend goes well with peanut butter and strawberry jam on sunflower seed Harvest bread. It beats the pretzels.
We strolled after wine, fighting some of the post-Xmas shopping crowds at Union Square, but then getting off the main drags for a bit to simply enjoy being in a city. Dinner at Ponzu—one of those Asian/fusion places with small portions, but absolutely delicious food and attentive service. A brief stop at Macy’s so the significant other could buy the running shorts he forgot (to give him credit, he did pack his suit case with my extra shoes), then dessert and scotch at Foley’s Irish pub (advice: ask to sit in the back bar, which is smaller and more pleasant than the open dining room).
A perfectly pleasant and relaxing start to what is always a hectic MLA convention. Oddly, I found it harder to identify the MLA-ers today: usually they (we) are so readily tagged. I’m not sure how: is it the clothing (casual professorial?) or the eyes (now where are my reading glasses?).