RoboGames and CalTrain adventures

This weekend a few of us went in to SF to attend the RoboGames. It was supposed to be an awesome event with everything from battlebots to random robotics booths. However, the battlebots was the only thing worth watching, and that had long delays in between little pieces of action. There was one good moment, however, when a hundred pound robot was flipped ten feet into the air and out of the ring by a monstrous bot named 'Ziggy'.

The real highlight of this trip: the food. We found an awesome Chinese restaurant in a basement beneath China Town. I ate a plate of Ginger Squid and Scallops - delicious! Unfortunately I don't think anyone remembers the name of the place, nor the random alley and steps that we went down to get there...

On the train ride back to Mountain View we stopped in Palo Alto for dinner, thinking we would catch the next train an hour later. We were all waiting on the platform for the 10:00 train when we saw it pull up --- on the wrong platform. We were all shocked. We didn't know what to do. Was this a special train that liked to tempt fate by riding on a track going the wrong direction? After a few seconds of confusion, everyone on the platform (about thirty people in all) booked it down the tunnel, under the tracks, past the sleeping homeless man and his shopping cart, and up onto the other side... just in time to see the train pull away. One desperate and angry would-be passenger threw his water bottle at the train. Fortunately he missed, but it represented our feelings quite accurately.

So, we did what anyone would do if they were stuck in Palo Alto for an hour and had already eaten dinner: we got ice cream. More specifically we got gelato, which is just ice cream that you have to pay more money for.

So, for the third time that night we were on the Palo Alto platform for the train. We pondered what our best strategy would be so that we wouldn't miss the next train in the same manner. One suggestion was to wait in between the tracks, but that was quickly vetoed. We looked at the schedule and saw that another train was supposed to arrive at approximately the same time going the other direction, so we guessed that our train would not dare arrive on the wrong track again. We guessed correctly. Half the platform cheered when the train arrived, and the other half looked quite confused.

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