On California

Last month, I went to the States. I figured it was about time that I visited San Francisco. Despite hearing so much about the place, I didn’t really know what to expect.

I wanted to see a few tech companies and how they work. I was really fortunate to visit a lot of places, including Heroku, Zendesk, Google, GitHub and Apple. I’m grateful to all the people who spent time with me having interesting conversations and giving me advice on everything from organisation culture and open source, to things like visas and working out what I want to do in the future.

I really liked San Francisco. It felt calm and not too big. I cycled the Golden Gate Bridge, walked up to Coit Tower, and visited Dolores Park. I rode a lot of cable cars too. Alex took me for some good seafood. On a sunny afternoon in Yerba Buena Gardens, I stumbled across a jazz band performing.

Later in my trip, I visited Los Angeles. Before I went, lots of people told me that I wouldn’t like LA. There’s a moment when you’re flying in, you look out the window, and there’s a sprawling grid of low-rise housing as far as the eye can see. However, by the time I left, I was pleasantly surprised from what I’d seen. The public transport isn’t that bad, and it’s getting better, although visiting LA without a car is still a bit difficult.

I spent a morning by the beach and an evening walking through the Hollywood Hills. I went on a tour around the Warner Bros. Studios backlot (where The West Wing was filmed). I also visited the Universal Studios theme park, and finished my trip with a few days at Disneyland.

(Unfortunately, my return trip was at the mercy of delays and cancellations, and I had a surprise trip to Houston en route. I arrived home a week before my suitcase did.)

All in all, it was a great trip. I hope to visit California again soon.