World Cup, Exploratorium

Posted July 10, 2006 in California

On World Cup Sunday, a big television screen was set up in a big park in San Francisco for the big game.

San Francisco is an extremely hilly city, which made it the perfect place for this sort of stunt. The entire park (which spans many blocks) was all at a slant, circling like an ampitheatre around the lowest corner. The television was set up in that corner, and then thousands of people sat in the perfect, sunny weather to watch the game.

The crowd was perfectly divided between France and Italy supporters, which made it a lot of fun. However, when somebody in front stood up, a huge portion of the crowd was unable to see the game. Unfortunately, the people who stood up were invariably idiots. One guy in particular was on his cell phone, waving towards somebody in the back of the audience. Hundreds of people were shouting at him to sit down, but he kept waving. When about three missiles (bottle caps and plastic bottles) narrowly missed him, he finally got the picture and sat down. But wait! No, he didn't! A minute later he stood back up, maybe guessing that the crowd would have forgotten him. It was almost as entertaining to watch this guy get the picture as it was to watch the game.

I was cheering for France up until the fiasco at the end, and then I didn't really care any more. I just wanted to throw stuff at the guy with the cell phone.

After the game, we went to the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum. It's basically one giant room full of exhibits (with a mezzanine): visitors can walk anywhere and touch anything. A helpful museum visitor was watching Vince (a computer engineer) play with one of the experiments and began to teach him about how electricity works. I had fun clapping my hands in the giant echo tube (the echoes sound like gunshots from old westerns). Everyone else had equally entertaining experiences.

The best part: after the museum closes, guests who pay a premium and reserve early (read: us!) are brought to the back of the museum to the Tactile Dome, which is a twisty-turny labyrinth with absolutely no light at all. You cannot see a thing, and they put all sorts of fun objects on the walls so you can try to guess what they are. I think we were having way too much fun in there and annoying the supervisor. Before we were finished, the lights turned on and we were asked to leave (there was some excuse about a fire alarm or something). We got free tickets to visit the Exploratorium, but we'll have to pay to get into the Tactile Dome again.

Afterwards we walked around outside (there's a Palace of Fine Arts, which is a huge, seemingly purposeless monument) and ate some food at an awesome restaurant called Pluto's (picked completely at random, and what a delight).

A scant set of pictures is in my World Cup and Palace of Fine Arts photo album.