Day 4

Friday was my last day in the Bay Area. Briefly after breakfast, I managed to IM with my daughter (who was just about to have her tea) – that felt good, to be able to just chat for a bit, hear what's going on for her, let her know that I'm OK and having a good time.

Robert then gave me a great last day. I said goodbye to Maryam and the boys and we headed to do an interview with a software company – Robert's stock-in-trade. Driving along, I saw the sign for parc “umm… that's parc parc?” “yeah” it was weird that even after being in the area for 3 days it took for me to see that building, just another office building of course, but y'know… parc, for me to really understand that I was actually in Silicon Valley

Robert drove in and around the building for me “yeah over there's the room where they invented the mouse, there's a bit of original PC ethernet on the wall down there”

The place we were actually visiting had no parking spaces “that's how you can tell someone's doing well – no space in the parking lot at 10.30am”

After watching Robert do his stuff, we headed back to USVP for the last few TED Talks including Roger Ebert's brave piece about losing large parts of his face and therefore his voice. And the one about the schoolteacher and the World Peace Game.

Robert then had to take part in the Gillmor Gang which was an hour or so that I could sit quietly do some thinking, catch up with people online and record a couple of video pieces – including one of reassurance to my dear mama.

We had the rest of the afternoon to explore. I got the guided tour of Stanford, a sneaky peak of the self-driving cars, stopped off and saw the Golden Spike and the Rodin garden, – I needed some groceries for my meals on the train up to Seattle and I also needed to get a tripod attachment to hold my N8. Robert took me to a camera store. I spent $14.15 on my phone holder. He spent a little bit more than I did and got some bits of kit that I'm sure plenty of fanboys will be asking him about it at SXSW. So then we finished off with a lightning tour of Mountain View “there's Google” the Computer History Museum “there's a big chunk of ENIAC, there's the original server rack from Google”

And then suddenly we were back at Palo Alto Caltrain station and shaking hands and saying goodbye till next weekend and I was on my own again.

It's only a short hop down to San Jose. And that's where I stayed for the next 5 hours because the train up to Seattle was delayed by nearly 2 hours. I got my rail pass, my ticket to Seattle and the next one too to Milwaukee. And I sat and watched the world go by. I was just nodding off when the call came and we were shepherded onto the train. I sat down, took out my contacts and slept.

Originally posted on Please Look After This Englishman