Monday, June 27, 2016

Matthew's "Amended" FanimeCon Report Part 2 - The Report

So here I am, about to turn myself up to full-blown tourist mode and do everything on FanimeCon weekend that I haven't done before.

Even before we get to the weekend itself, I always wanted to make the drive down the 160, cutting through the California Delta on my way to the Bay Area. However, because Tom's house and FanimeCon are nowhere near each other, I had to cut off on Highway 12 in Rio Vista towards Fairfield and continue my journey on Interstate 80. If I made the full drive, I would of went all the way down to the 4, cut over to the 680, then either take Highway 24 to the 880 or continue down the 680 to San Jose depending on traffic.

Highway 160 just south of Courtland. Who would want to destroy the majestic that is the Delta?
That Friday, I just wanted to relax, catch up with Tom, and figure out our attack plan for tomorrow. The day was capped off with S'mores and ELEAGUE on TV, which was pretty nice.

Side Note: I still hate that driveway. I still wonder how I manuevered it in a giant early 2000's Mercury let alone my Corolla.

Instead of driving down to the city, the two of us decided to take the Golden Gate Ferry from Larkspur to the San Francisco Ferry Terminal and use Muni to wherever we wanted to go. The full trip including round trip on the ferry plus a Muni Day Pass costed me around $41 but seemed to be a better value than dealing with traffic, parking, and the hills of San Francisco.

Golden Gate Ferry in Larkspur. Also, I'm on a boat!
The ferry passes us by San Quentin State Prison, Angel Island, and a beautiful combo of the city skyline, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. This particular ferry had a ton of outdoor open spaces which allowed mostly everyone who decided to stay outside to take photos as we jetted along the San Francisco Bay.

San Quentin State Prison
Angel Island on the left and the tip of Tiburon on the right
Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Ferry at the San Francisco Ferry Terminal
Once at the terminal, we find a spot to buy our Muni Day passes and jump on the historic streetcars up towards Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39. From here, clam chowder in bread bowls, crab cakes, determining how much a Steph Curry jersey costs determing how much it would cost to jump on the Warriors bandwagon and watching seals are in order.

Historic street cars that run through the Embarcadero
Clam chowder breal bowls and crab cakes at Chowders
After dealing with an asshole driver who dropped everyone off but picked up no one and having to wait for the next train/bus, we get close enough to the Hyde end of the cable cars. The wait was a bit long but was worth it because our Muni Day Pass also includes cable car rides (and no, they no longer charge a dollar surcharge with a pass).

Tom pointed out that one of the cars in the rotation at this turnaround was one of the original cars that were placed into service in the early days of cable car operation, as noted by the lack of advertising as displayed on some of the more "modern" cars.

A cable car on the turntable
I turn up to maximum full-blown tourist mode, taking photos at every stop and waving at every single person that I saw. This was probably the highlight of the trip, standing shotgun on a cable car from start to finish.

The standard selfie at the front of cable car
Going up the hill towards Lombard Street
Making the crazy decent down Washington St
Our cable car at the Powell Street end
Editor's Note: How did a Dodger fan become a gripman? We did get a couple of laughs when he intentionally slow rolled it down a hill in front of a city truck full of Giants fans.

From Powell Street, it was underground to the N Train to Ocean Beach and enjoy the sand and Pacific Ocean...until you realize that the sand WAS WAY TOO HOT!!!

Panoramic of Ocean Beach
Somehow we made it out alive and back on the N Train back towards the city center. Because we just missed the latest ferry going back to Larkspur and the next ferry going out was about two and a half hours, we got a bite to eat over at Sarku Japan and some Ghirardelli ice cream/milkshakes at San Francisco Emporium/Westfield San Francisco Centre and checked out the Razer store that just opened up. I was thinking of something more grand, more like the Microsoft Store two floors above and the Apple Store, but was somehow was kind of disappointed. Still, it was awesome to see a store like that open. We also wanted to crash Crunchyroll's headquarters on the upper floors but could not find any access through elevators or stairs as well as reminiscing about the Metreon from the era of the Sony and Gunpla stores to 90% of it turning into a giant Target store.

A Ghirardelli Strawberry Quake Shake
The Razer store
BART and Muni meeting at the Embarcadero station
We made it back to the Ferry Terminal with about an hour to spare. With our muscles burning from all the walking and touring, it was nice to sit down even if it was outside.

The Ferry Terminal from the other side
By the time the ferry left at 6:25, Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals between the Warriors and Thunder was just underway and both of us were trying to rush home to watch the game. Luckily, we got on a boat that had the game on TV and enjoyed a small section of us reacting to every portion of the game. By the time halftime came, we were back in Larkspur and made it home in time to see the rest of the 2nd half.

Game 6 of Warriors/Thunder from the ferry boat
BONUS PHOTO: More ice cream
BONUS PHOTO: A bacon cheeseburger and garlic fries at Super Duper

Before I continue on with some closing thoughts, I do realize that reports from Anime Expo, conventions in Las Vegas, and just recently Taiyou Con have include parts that are about exploring the city and doing things outside of the convention. The issue is that I've never done that for FanimeCon. The reports seem to start and end at the convention itself with some minor detours instead of a full section dedicated to the exploration.

As I've mentioned before, there are conventions that I would love to attend in 2017 that I've never been to before, such as SakuraCon, ACEN, A-Kon, and Otakon. And with all of those conventions come cities that I've never been to before. If somehow I do go to these conventions, part of my goal would to be there longer than just the duration of the convention i.e. Friday-Sunday. Maybe a Wednesday to Monday or even Tuesday weekend in Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, or Washington D.C. would be in order that would allow me to explore the city, then enjoy the convention, and finally leave the next day (and not rush the final day of the convention) or the day after. Of course, I would need to allow for extra time and a bigger budget to allow me to tour the city but I feel that it would be worth it to expereince everything in full because for me, just being at the convention isn't enough for me now - I need to see what the city I'm in has to offer, taste the local food and drinks, and soak up the overall lifestyle that this convention is located in.

I partly feel that I'm evolving from just a convention blogger to a convention travel foodie blogger. And in the era of the ever-evolving convention and cosplay scene (for better or worse, depending on how you see it), this evolution might be a wonderful thing. Expand my horizons, find all the showcases, and report from beyond the convention to include the city.

So yeah, full-blown tourist mode.

Editor's Note: This was written prior to Durant's decision to "betray" the Thunder and join the Warriors. Since then, Lil B has lifted the curse.

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