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San Francisco 2011 (2 of 2)

In this post, I share the remainder of my favourite photos from my 2011 visit to San Francisco. This includes many landmarks which you’ve probably seen many times over.

Fog nearly hides the Golden Gate Gate bridge in the distance. The bridge spans across two towers which sit atop old ferry ports. Ferries were the primary transportation between SF and Marin County before the bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge in all of its glory without fog. To avoid collision with boats on foggy days, the hallmark red is used. Many Japanese bridges use a similar color for the same reason.

My second visit to Alcatraz! It’s amazing how San Francisco’s primary tourist attraction was left to sit in ruins for many years after closing as a prison. Besides its attraction as a prison, Alcatraz has may beautiful gardens. To make the island more like home, prison guard families would plant small gardens. This activity was even popular amongst the inmates. Since the terrain is rocky, soil has been imported from elsewhere.

Alcatraz Island is off in the distance as I pose by the lookouts.

Alcatraz Island is now the setting for a TV series. You can see the Pink Persian Carpet plant that covers the island. Many plants had died due to the harsh conditions on the island. However, the Persian Carpet was one of the plants that did thrive.

The famous crooked part of Lombard Street. This is clearly a tourist attraction. However, there are many less well known streets that run between houses that are closed off from traffic with beautiful gardens. It was mentioned by a tour guide that some streets are pedestrian only since they are too steep for cars.

The Painted Ladies are such beautiful homes. They are located next to Alamo Square park with amazing views of the city. Even without the fame from TV’s The Full House, I can imagine they would still be popular. Unfortunately, these row of homes must have privacy issues as almost all of their blinds are closed.

The sea lions near Pier 39 seem to love attention from tourists, at least when they’re not just laying around.

That’s all for San Francisco for now.

Atlanta

During the summer, I traveled to Atlanta for the final academic conference of my M.Sc.

One of the sights to see in this city is CNN. The tour was a bit short, but did include live viewing of news anchors while on the air, as well as reporters collecting news from various sources.

I also saw the World of Coca Cola, and got plenty of souvenirs! The highlight of this tour was the tasting of dozens of Coca-Cola products from around the world. Some are quite delicious, particularly the foreign Fanta flavours.

This lion at the Atlanta Zoo seems quite relaxed, almost as if posing for my photo!

Atlanta has the beautiful Botanical Gardens with lots of great sights to see inside and out. This photo here almost seems like it could be a musical instrument of some sort.

Atlanta is also known for Martin Luther King Jr. There’s a national park set up in his honour across the street from the church where he preached.

University of Calgary Convocation

In June, I officially graduated from the University of Calgary with my Master of Science degree in Computer Science.

A few seconds followed by a walk across a stage caps off over two years of research and hard work.

One highlight of my time in academia the media exposure received by my emotional robot control project, leading to dozens of blog posts and articles around the world, and a live television interview on Breakfast Television Calgary.

I’d finally like to also share some photos from an iLab party shortly after my defence in January.

My time in the Interactions Labs broadened my interests and changed my view of the world more than I imagined it could have. So much has changed in my life since I flew into Alberta for the first for a tour of the university in April 2008. I am grateful for the experience.

Family Visit 2011 (Drumheller, AB)

While my family visited for my university convocation, we took a side trip to Drumheller.

Until you are near the town, it seems like a normal highway. Then, the badlands appear, and you’re there.

This is the view of Drumheller from inside the world’s largest dinosaur.

The dinosaur bones are quite fascinating to see in person at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but this display was quite large. I was only as tall as the legs, if that.

This display showed a neat little bird.

Another one of Drumheller’s attractions is Little Church. It is designated as an actual place of worship that seats six at a time. At one time, it had stained glass windows and a brass bell according to the town web site.

Family Visit 2011 (Banff & Lake Louise)

In June, I officially completed my Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Calgary. To mark this occasion, my family came out from New Brunswick (by car) and North Carolina to Calgary.

This post is my first in a series. I haven’t had much time to update my blog yet this year, but I plan to do this more frequently since I now have quite a growing backlog of photos to go through!

Our first trip outside to Calgary was of course to Banff and Lake Louise. This beautiful vista is a popular photo spot on the way to Banff.

My parents.

Beautiful downtown Banff boasts an impressive mountain backdrop.

My mom and my uncle.

The Banff Springs Hotel.

Me with my family in front of Lake Louise. There is still some ice covering the lake, but most of it is gone.

Me and my uncle.

A bird was seemingly quite eager to pose for photos. What else can you do besides relax beside Lake Louise?