Friday, June 20, 2008

BIO2008 in San Diego

In my previous posting on May 7th of last year titled BIO2007 Boston, I mentioned the next BIO International Convention was going to be held in San Diego. Little did I know I would be there... or here in San Diego. Funny how life works ! Next year BIO2009 will be held in Georgia - it would wonderful if I could be there too..! ;-) This year, from 17th till 20th June Bio Techies all over the world gathered in San Diego Convention Center for their conference and exhibition. Compared to the 350+ last year, I hear Malaysia only sent 100 delegates this time, with the Chief Minister of Melaka Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and the current Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation Datuk Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili as the VVIPs. Of course, like last year I was not involved at all with the convention. My husband, on the other hand had to attend and so while he dives I simply took a drink.. - sambil menyelam minum air ! Atiqah tagged along since dia dah cuti sekolah for the summer. Too bad her brother & sister had classes .. San Diego lies just north of the Mexican border. I have included an image of the map of San Diego which shows its location relative to L.A and San Jose. It takes 8 hours driving from San Jose to San Diego. San Diego is situated near the sea.. it has its own bay macam San Francisco. Hence, the mild mediterranean climate. However, during our stay there San Diego experienced a heatwave. Temperature naik sampai 110 degrees F. I don't know berapa dalam deg C but I am sure lebeh panas dari kat KL. In KL it's hot & humid but here its hot & dry... Kadang-kadang tu 'segumpal' awan pun tak dak, clear blue sky allowing hot stinging penetrating rays of the sun directly on to you. I've always felt this condition is more dangerous & people here are likely to get skin cancer than anywhere else. Kita tak pernah dengar orang mati kepanasan kat negara kita, kan ? Tapi kat negara mat salleh ni, ada yang mati kalau sejuk sangat & silap2 ada jugak yang mati kalau panas sangat. Selalu mangsanya orang yang homeless or living alone, old & disabled. It costs a lot to provide heating and air conditioning! No wonder people who runs this country 'craves' and addicted to oil - minyak!. San Diego Convention Center located near the bay is the 21st largest in this country. Makna nya ada lagi yang lebeh besar. With almost 8 or 9 big exhibition halls, to me it's already HUGE! Looking at the pictures here, you know I couldn't get the whole building in one frame... panjang sangat! The design is like a ship... cantik ! There is the Convention Center train-stop right in front of it. Very convenient indeed for those who prefers to take the San Diego Transit train to that part of town. There are also many hotels surrounding the area. A few that caught my eye are Grand Hyatt, Marriot Hotel and Marina, Embassy Suites and Hilton Gaslamp. Unfortunately we couldn't get a room in any of those hotels sebab dah penuh! BIO Convention is an annual event so I guess once the next host is known, most of the BioTech companies buat block booking ahead of time. Notice the fog (kabus) creeping in the sky - temperature drops by a few degrees in seconds. San Diego is the BioTech Center of the West Coast like Boston is to the East Coast. San Diego also acts as a host that provides many military facilities to the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Marine Corps. It's not surprising that the decommissioned USS Midway - now turned into a muzeum - chose to serve her final duties at San Diego waterfront. Located at the Naval Pier between the Cruise Ship Terminal and the Seaport Village, the USS Midway was the largest ship in the world when commissioned in 1945. She served the United States longer than any other aircraft carrier, covering the surrender of Japan in WWII, the Cold War, Vietnam and Desert Storm during her prime time. Yokosuka, Japan was her homeport for 18 years. Hmmm... itu lah some of the information I got from the audio tour guide on top of the Hop On - Hop Off Double Decker Bus Tour. Atiqah and I took the ride on the city sightseeing bus for the fastest way to visit downtown San Diego. We bought tickets at Visitor Information Center in Old Town San Diego. The ticket costs 25 dollars for a 2-day pass but the operator charged us only 10 dollars each because we wanted only for a day. We went on the Harbor Loop which goes through the Embarcadero, USS Midway, Seaport Village, GasLamp area, Horton Plaza and Little Italy. The other loop goes through several parks and San Diego Zoo. I hear the San Diego Zoo is among the best.. their tagline says : If you don't see an animal there, it probably doesn't exist! Ada banyak lagi city tour buses which could be taken at Old Town but we picked the open top double decker bus sebab Atiqah nak duduk kat atas to have a better view. Hop On - Hop Off means that we could get off at any place within the loop and get back on the next double decker bus that's scheduled to come along. So the map and the bus schedule kita simpan untuk guna as reference to plan our visit. To me the Old Town San Diego is actually a Mexican Cultural Village - banyak crafts, potteries, mexican architectural buildings, restaurants.... like any other cultural village. I think the prices here are a bit cheaper than in downtown.. We didn't stop at USS Midway Muzeum because I thought Seaport Village has a lot more to offer. Rupa-rupa nya just souvenier shops from a few countries, restaurants and a view of the harbour. I heard that on board the USS Midway, you can learn about life on a Navy ship and how aircraft land and take off from an aircraft carrier. Visitors can also tour many of the USS Midway working areas and see more than 15 restored aircraft such as the Skyhawk, Tomcat, Hawkeye, Hornet....dan lain-lain yang sejenis dengan nya... that would be interesting, - to most men ! For me, tak tengok pun tak per...

Kena tunggu the next bus sebab I was too busy looking at other stuff and not the time...




A view of downtown San Diego from the top of the double decker bus...






Left picture is the entrance to the Historical Heart of
San Diego...GasLamp area... just across the street to the San Diego Convention Center.. kat sini la the European immigrants first settled..






Can't resist taking a picture of this building... kat sini AT&T pun kena kutuk jugak..!





PETCO PARK ni rupa-rupa nya baseball stadium... home of the San Diego Padres! Kami ingat taman untuk pets.. pergi tanya orang pulak tu... nampak sangat orang luar ! :-)






A souvenier shop at Horton Plaza...






On the right, entrance to Seaport Village... bangunan tu sebenarnya restoran. Nampak macam surau, kan...?





They don't mind me taking their picture dengan syarat share the profit if it sells on e-bay! I told them, nope I won't auction them off.. I'll just blog them !..







Exit of Balboa Park... where many muzeums and parks can be found..








San Diego Airspace Muzeum..








Inside is the International Hall of Fame..








At Aisha's lovely home with Zaleha & Zuaida, friends from home attending BIO Convention ... thank you for Aisha's grand hospitality...





Love this corner ....






$7.99 lunch buffet at Restoran Bismillah... The food there memang sedap.. I see even mat sallehs stop to eat.. ada tempat solat... :-)






Six Flags Theme Park outside of L.A








Kedai jual buah kat tepi Highway 5 ...

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