The discovery of gold by James Marshall and John Sutter with the help of a mill built on the American River in the Sacramento Valley, in 1848, turned out to be a major event which attracted a huge amount of people to California. Using maritime routes crossing the North and South Pacific Ocean as well as the Atlantic Ocean through the Cap Horn, people from Asia, west coast America and Europe converged to the nearby San Francisco Bay. This phenomenal gathering illustrates quite well what some of nowadays economists refer to as the search for what we don’t have, an irresistible driving force.
That the American CORLAS group, led with dynamism and pugnacity by President P. Ashley Wackym, selected San Francisco to host our annual conference can find one it sources in this seminal concentration of people. A series of other reasons also conducted our American friends to focus on the “forty-niners” town, among which the tremendous Silicon Valley enterprises and prestigious Californian universities are to be highlighted.
The participants to the Sunday 23 August Family Tour had the opportunity to share two opposite experiences. The first was to visit the famous Alcatraz jail, located on a small island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, which used to be the symbol of imprisonment for dangerous criminals. The second was to bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, a tour which results in a heady feeling of freedom when accomplished for the first time. Impressive was also the view of boats moving beneath us while we were facing the cars driving towards the city. The ferry we took afterwards from Sausalito showed how popular this tour is for the nowadays Californian youth. During the following presidential evening reception at the Palace Hotel, we were warmly welcomed by Ashley, his wife Jeremy, and the Vice-president Herman A. Jenkins.