N. Ameritrip – Chapter 4

Chapter 4 – San Francisco

Sometimes, there are things that I really look forward to – without a solid reason. It’s just a feeling that I would like it. Have you ever had that kind of feeling? I have never been to San Francisco and I haven’t paid attention to this city. Top of my mind, I had the image of the Golden Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the sea. Also, I know there must be quite a lot of Asian/Chinese based on the limited history that I know. But my gut feeling told me I’d like this city. Googled SF and read some travel advice, there we go… We were at SF in this beautiful week of April.

First dinner in San FranciscoWe arrived at SFO in the afternoon. It wasn’t hard to find the hotel shuttle buses. There were quite a lot to choose from. So we just hopped onto one from Lorrie’s for $17/person. (I thought it should be cheaper, though.) Later on, I found out the return shuttle usually cost less – especially if you mention about their online price or whatever promo that you see on the free tourist pamphlet/flyer. Our hotel was near the Fisherman’s Wharf – which is in the North. Originally, I was thinking of staying somewhere near the Union Square. Uncle T suggested this one instead and I’m glad that we’ve made the right decision to go with his suggestion. On our way to the hotel, we saw this Caesar’s Italian Restaurant and right away we said let’s go there for dinner. We had their “famous fried calamari”, Cannelloni alla Roman, and since it was a Tuesday, we also ordered the Tuesday/Friday Special “Crab Cioppino”. It was a huge dish! Tasted good (maybe a bit too salty towards the end). One word about the restaurant is “oldschool” (even its website :p). Very classic – the ambient, the look and feel, and the way their servers dressed. Our waiter was friendly and helpful. The 7-course meal should be a better deal, but we passed on that coz there’s no way we could finish that. (Reviews on Yahoo Travel).

Alarm on the street Fishermans Wharf Pier 39 @ night Pier 39 @ night (a lefty store)

After dinner, we walked around and explored the Fisherman’s Wharf area. It was around 8:30pm at night. We walked to the Pier 39, which was really close to our hotel. We got so excited about SF all of a sudden and started to like this city. The night view was very nice. I always like the ocean.

Pier 39 - view at night

Pier 39 - Torch dayThe next day… it was again a sunny day. I’d say we were very lucky since SF was unusually warm during our stay that week. It was sunny all the time. The sky was sometimes a bit foggy – as I’ve been told by my friends in SF. Walking around the pier, we saw many people holding China flags… and later we found out we were actually in the same city as the Olympics Torch at that time. During the trip, I didn’t pay much attention to the news. So, I didn’t even know about that in advance. Unfortunately, the path of the Torch Relay had to be changed due to the protest for Tibet. Either way, we didn’t get to see the torch. It’s ok… I guess if it’s meant to be seen, I would have seen it. A lot of people were really upset though – after standing and waiting for the torch for a whole day and didn’t get to see it.

Got hungry again after the huge Italian meal on the first night. The 2nd day, we had the clam chowder bowl and chilli bowl @ Boudin. Later I found that eating Chowder sourdough bowl at the patio wasn’t really a good idea. The food was good, but the weather was still a bit chilly in SF around April. The chowder got cold before I finished it. -_- (So, we gave it a second chance and had it again inside before we left SF. Yumm the fresh breads just smelt so good.)

Boudin 1 Boudin 2

One thing I like about SF was that we could walk to most of the places and the public transportation system is pretty good – as least from a tourist’s perspective. The second day we got a 7-day Muni Passport ($24) . It was a pretty good idea given that we’d be riding the buses and cable cars everyday. However, I didn’t know that they have the CityPass ($54 for admission to 6 attractions on top of what I get from the muni passport). Grrr. Yah, for one moment I was kinda “grrr” coz I didn’t know about the CityPass, or else we could have gotten that instead! It’s ok. Nothing’s perfect 🙂 We’ve already done the best we could given the constraints.

Washington Square

On our way to the downtown financial district, we came across the Washington Square. Awww… what a nice day.

As usual, we didn’t have a detail plan for what to do, where to go on the first 2 days… so we walked by the Chinatown border and came across some footprints of Chinese in this city.

a Chinese Restaurant "Bilingual" street name

The SF financial district is similar to any North American city’s financial district. It was just a check mark on our rough checklist.

Near the Union Square, it was the main shopping district. Main things that caught my eyes were…
– the huge 3-levels building of Forever 21 – lots of clothings and accessories. Heaven for XXI’s fans.
3 levels of XXI

– and the elegant Westfield San Francisco Center… after whole day of walking and sightseeing, I loved being at the food court of this mall – wide range of food to choose from, wifi internet access, nice decor, can sit there and chat and people watch. 🙂 Enjoyed a relaxing afternoon.

Westfield Food Court

FYI: San Francisco Shopping Guide

Another day… we were looking for a public washroom but couldn’t find one. After a long walk, we finally located one at the Galleria.

But you know what? There were public toilets everywhere – just that we never paid attention to them.

Public Toilet

(To be Cont’d)

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