Friday, January 23, 2009

San Francisco: Part II

After a day spent walking up and down the hills of Chinatown and clutching for dear life on the trolley poles, Jan was ready to throw our MUNI passes in the nearest trashcan. We cabbed it to Fisherman's Wharf and took a short harbor cruise around Alcatraz and back before heading down to Capurro's for a seafood dinner.

The weather was beautiful and the street performers were out in force, along with the city mandated percentage of panhandlers.

Sunday and Monday were spent at the Food Show, but we were able to finish up early on Tuesday afternoon. We were in the rental car by 2pm, speeding around the city to take in as many sights as we could.

We saw the Painted Ladies...

before heading to the Presidio...

so that we could walk the beach at Chrissy Field...

and take a few snapshots of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge is a wonder to see. It's one of those iconic man-made sights, on a par with Mount Rushmore and the Eiffel Tower for wow factor. Joggers jogged, children played in the sand, and Jan and I smiled at being able to just be in these particular surroundings. We were also in what appeared to be a panhandler free zone.

San Francisco is relatively small, so we were able to cover a lot of ground. As the rented Corolla struggled up some of the steeper hills, Jan white-knuckled the armrest on the passenger side and wondered out loud if we were going to make it. Thank God for automatic transmissions. We drove down Lombard, billed as the "crookedest street in the world", before heading up to Haight/Ashbury. Jan wanted to do a little souvenir shopping, and met a young guy that intended to prove, later that night, that he was Jesus Christ. The reveal was still a few hours away, so we weren't able to make it.

We stopped at Caffe Delle Stelle for some Italian food before dropping off the rental car and walking back to the hotel. When we got there the street in front of the hotel was blocked off, and a harried film crew was loading up their equipment for the night. We were never able to find out what they were filming. I asked the night clerk at the hotel if she knew, and she didn't even know that they had been filming. Now that's laid back.

That's how I'll think of San Francisco from now on, a laid-back city with underlying stress. I wondered more than once if the stress was due to the fact that there had not been an earthquake in a while, and the denizens of the city were waiting for the other shoe to drop while pretending that they didn't care.

It is beautiful, though.

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