Our last morning in San Francisco we ate breakfast at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill. It was little pricey, but quite good. And the Fairmont is a grand old hotel, full of pretension and columns and molding and mirrors and marble, just terrific! We visited Grace Cathedral, built after the 1906 earth quake.
The church is built out of reinforced concrete. The impressions the forms left, along with the color of the concrete, make it look as if it were built of stone. We found the same thing at the San Francisco Art Institute on Russian Hill, built to look like a Franciscan monastery complete with a (concrete) campinile! It is truly amazing what they did with concrete in the early part of the 20th century, a far cry from the horrible brutal uses of concrete in Washington (such as the HUD building, L’enfant Plaza, and the Third Church of Christ Scientist on 16th Street).
We had one last espresso in North Beach (Cafe Greco) and one last stroll through China Town, and got back on BART.
A short flight back to Vegas and we ended up at the dreaded CONFERENCE HOTEL, one of those newer places on the western outskirts of Las Vegas, in Summerlin, actually. These places (Something Something Station or Somethingelse Coast, etc.) are springing up in residential areas around the valley, with huge parking lots, and are popular with locals and retirees. In fact, they were having some sort of Senior Miss Nevada contest or show that week.
But since I was one of the meeting organizers they upgraded me to a suite, and even with my cynical attitude and disgust at all things fake-glitzy-gambling related, I have to say, it was pretty damn cool! I think it was bigger than our apartment, with great views of the mountains and the Strip, about 10 miles away.
We found a Home Depot so my wife could buy some turpentine, and then bought way too much food at a supermarket (the suite had a kitchen, of course), ate some chicken and Boudin bread we had brought from San Francisco, and then enjoyed the high-roller life style! Actually, that is how we enjoyed the high roller lifestyle.