Day 1

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Thursday, May 20

Because it was not possible to get from Mobile to San Francisco before our flight to Osaka the next day, we went a day early and spent the night in San Francisco. As luck would have it, we were able to take advantage of a reservation Joan had made at a Ramada Limited near the airport; she and Tom didn’t need it because the travel agent had booked their flight from Portland to arrive on Friday. Although we had a little difficulty getting to the hotel (it provided a shuttle but not a courtesy phone from the airport), it turned out to be surprisingly nice, though we appreciated its American amenities (iron and ironing board in every room!) more in retrospect.

There was a wide selection of restaurants within easy walking distance, and we ended up eating at an Italian one called Buon Gusto, which we selected in preference to another Italian restaurant nearby because this one was crowded, which we figured was a recommendation! While we were waiting for a table, we struck up a conversation with Kevin Masters, a salesman for EMC Corporation in Seattle, who was in town on business and had eaten at the restaurant before. Since he was alone, we invited him to share our table (and his advice on the entrées). It was a terrific meal and great company.