N. Ameritrip – Chapter 5

Chapter 5 – San Francisco (cont’d)

The Ferry Building was one of the must-go’s. Restaurants and farmers market – chowhounds love it. The travel guide book recommended Mijita. We got there one early evening. The market and some restaurants were starting to close. Luckily, we could still order a Taco Pescado (fish taco) $4.75 and a Quesa Mijita $4.50. Awww… they were good! Just… maybe… a bit small. :p~~

Mijita @ Ferry Building

Inside the Ferry Building, there were a store where you can check the arrival time of the Muni Metro (light rail) in front of the building. The F-line would take us right to the Fisherman’s Wharf. Nice!

Talking about Pier 39 (wiki), one of the piers on the San Francisco Bay… There were quite a lot of things you could do:
– Check out the poster store, the “lefty” store, the huge chocolate heaven…
– Visit the Aquarium of the Bay
– A view of the Alcatraz Island and the bay, check out the sea lions…

View of Alcatraz Sea lions @ pier 39

One of the things that I thought of San Francisco is its openness to the GLBT (Gay/Les/Bi/Trans) culture. I once heard that SF’s pride parade is one of the largest scales in the world. Not sure if that’s true since the parade is usually held on the last Sunday of June. Given that, I’d check out the Castro area. It was very easy to get to Castro from where we were – just hop on to the F-line and it would take you there.


Under the reign of rainbow flag… There were some interesting, artsy stores where you can find some nice gifts. There was a place called “Under One Roof” (549 Castro Street) – everything there is donated by local designers and businesses, and 100% of the proceeds from the sales goes to the AIDS service organizations.

Inside Golden Gate ParkSince all the districts weren’t that far apart, it makes sightseeing a lot easier. After Castro, we took a bus to the Golden Gate Park via the Haight. Good weather, good day. A walk in the Golden Gate Park was very relaxing. There were a lot of children and babies, dogs and puppies. Locals and tourists came here to spend a nice afternoon. Those who enjoy the nature, especially those who like flowers would definitely like this place. There were the Conservatory of Flower, Japanese Tea Garden, and MH de Young Museum. Too bad, we were both really tired by the time we got there. Didn’t walked too far to cover the whole park. (I think that would take a few hours, at least.) All these venues require admission fee, but I think it is still worth-seeing. We didn’t go to the Conservatory of Flower since we were running out of time and neither of us was a hardcore flower lover.

Golden Gate Bridge 2After a the Golden Gate Park – we stuggled a bit on whether we should go see the Golden Gate Bridge. And how could we get there? Thank to the help of the staffs at the MH de Young Museum, we got onto a bus again and finally got there… The SF icon! Yah! At that time I thought… now I can say I’ve been to San Francisco. 🙂

Golden Gate Bridge

Hidden Murals - Clarion Alley ProjectIn SF, there were different districts each of which has its unique character. The Mission, however, I can’t really use one word or one phrase to describe this part of the city. There is the Clarion Alley (more), and there’s the Good Vibrations (more: some background info of the store from the history of masturbation). There were some other interesting stores. Little Otsu is one of them.

Clarion Alley Project

Pop Pop!!When I was a kid, I used to go to mainland China a lot – to visit relatives. Back in the days, I loved playing these “pop pop” mini-boom’s that would explode when you throw it on the floor or at someone. It’s so harmless that I would squeeze them to explode using my fingers. I saw these toys again in SF. Long time no see, old friends. I don’t know why… I’ve never seen these things in Toronto. They were selling @ 5-6 boxes for a dollar. So cheap but tons of fun :p

The Chinatown in SF is a very old and (dirty) one – quoted from my friends… the government have scheduled cleaning of the ground in Chinatown every night. I somehow felt like a foreigner in Chinatown. I see many Taiwan flags (similar to the Chinatown in LA). It was kinda interested to see how the Chinatowns look like in other cities.

SF Chinatown

Another interesting tourist attaction was Lombard Street – here’s a view. See the green zig-zag far back?

Lombard Street

Ferry to AlcatrazAlcatraz, the Rock. We tried to get the ticket on Thursday, but unexpectedly all the tickets were sold out except for Saturday – the second last day of our stay. I think it was either the first or second time that I’ve ever visited a prison. With the self-guided headphone tour, we walked around the famous Alcatraz prison inside and out. I could imagine how isolated it would be to stay behind the bar in there. A totally different world from the city across the ocean. They said, sometimes the prisoners could hear the city from here. It was an unique experience visiting Alcatraz – another must-see if you ever go to SF.

Inside Alcatraz Prison
Outside the cells

Behind the bar...
View from inside

The last day. Meet up with a friend. Since we’ve already explored the whole city by then, they gave us a tour to the “Half Moon Bay”. The ocean water was still cold, but it was a very nice walk.
Taken @ Half Moon Bay

Other highlights:
– Japantown – it was so-so. However, the Cherry Blossom Festival in April should be worth-seeing
– SMOA (SOth of MArket) – there’s the Cartoon Art Museum , SF Museumof Modern Art (SFMOMA), etc. As far as I know, SF is also known for its Art scene.
– Local designer Sunhee Moon
– Gift shop “Given” (575 Castro Street)
Yoshi’s Jazz Club and Japanese Restaurant
A week in SF – I think it was just right. 🙂

2 thoughts on “N. Ameritrip – Chapter 5

  1. Hey~ I didn’t know they have that contest! But even if I knew, might not have time this month to blog/review. 🙁

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