October 2006 Archives
2 October: The Tuesday Special San Francisco tour - Part 1
So, the second part of my trip. San Francisco, a totally different city to Las Vegas in outlook, attitude and … everything. It was pretty late when I arrived so we went to a neighbourhood cafÃ© for a quick bite. I was buffeted out from Vegas and only wanted something green and had no meat. Perfect place for something like that. It was one of those casual student type places that I remembered from Zurich (the one behind the Niederdorf) and Sydney (the one sherlock took me to) — worn wooden tables, mismatched chairs, relaxed atmosphere. So very different and refreshing.
I had my first proper cup of tea on this trip. In vegas I’d been taking iced tea, or really awful lipton (have to order hot tea otherwise they gave you iced tea — and tea came in a pot of hot water and a lousy tea bag, geez). For extreme caffeine needs I had to rely on Starbucks. But now in SF, I had the means and time to make a nice cuppa. I brought my own tea bags of course — not PG but individually wrapped Twinings English Breakfast since they weren’t as suspicious looking. Ahhhhh.
First order of business was trooping off to a local coffee shop that offered free wi-fi. I had another tea and a bagel. Looking around I almost jumped in glee when it turned out that every.single.user inside that coffee shop was using a mac! Not surprising, since it was SF, whose population were supposed to be more tech savvy. And by definition, tech savvy means … heehee, need I say more?
After the refreshing breakfast, I got the chance of a lifetime, to ride on a vintage motorbike. It was fabulous and exhilarating. I hadn’t ridden on a bike for almost 20 years, and I was glad I remembered how to be a good passenger (don’t move).
Rode to the park and visited the windmill and garden. The sun came out especially for me so I could take some gorgeous pics.
Nearby was Ocean Beach, which was quiet and pretty. Heading north uphill, we stopped for a moment at the ruins of the Sutro baths. I’d never heard of these ruins, but it told an interesting story and looking at the old pictures I was amazed at how extensive the baths were. Built over 100 years ago and burnt down in 1966, the basic layout and some structure still remained.
Next stop, Mission. We had sushi (yummy!!!!!! and much anticipated) and wandered around the area. Furniture stores, antiques, bookstores and even *sniggers* Good Vibrations. Very relaxing and actually creatively inspiring. We stopped at a coffee shop, again full of laptop geeks, and I had a real nice cup of soy latte. I could totally imagine hanging out there all the time.
After the Mission we headed to Haight, and I continued taking a lot of pics, mainly for the 26things challenge, which I wanted to make up of pics exclusively from this trip. It was an excuse to overindulge in photography, but then again there is so much to photograph and the light is so fantastic.
Dinner was at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place where we ordered fresh salsa, fish and chicken taco. Very satisfying. Another adventure to a more central area that was Italian but felt French. We wanted to go to City Lights bookstore but horror of horrors it was closed! But it didn’t ruin an absolutely fantastic day for me. If I hadn’t known it before, I’m now convinced that I will enjoy living in SF very, very much.
3 October: The Tuesday Special San Francisco tour - Part 2
Another relaxing coffee shop first thing. This one was lifted straight out of Paris (or actually a french-looking place in London). Blah to Starbucks!
Short stroll to the Castro, where I kept looking for the rainbow keychains and I was sure I’d find them, but alas no. Nevermind, another excuse to return. Took the Market Street trams all the way down (or was it up) to the ferry terminal at the Embarcadero. An absolute bargain for $1.50, we managed to ride on a Peter Witts design tram that had been repainted into the original 1928 Milan livery of yellow and white with black trim. The interior retained a lot of the original Italian features, including the signage and light fittings and … general feel.
Oh my! The ferry building was heaven. The marketplace stores there had all the sorts of food that I could only dream about — organic fruits, fresh seafood, breads, cheese, a store that sold only olive oil, another that had all sorts of mushrooms. A real foodie’s delight. Needless to say we had lunch there, bought bread, cheese, interesting looking tomatoes and some crabmeat and sat outside on a bench overlooking the Bay Bridge. The sun was out, the air was clear, good food, good company … I said I could see myself living there, didn’t I?
Visited Ocean Beach for one last time to see the sunset, then went back to the apartment to pack and shower. Dinner was at a fusion restaurant called Eos, which deserves a special mention. Food items on the menu were small, intended for sharing. And what food! Lovely salad, tuna stack, lemongrass edamame risotto, scallops. But what made it especially special was the wine flights, where they served up a whole selection of wines in small tasting glasses. So in totaly may be 1 1/2 glass of “normal” size but we could try 3 or 4 different wines. What a great idea.
Though the dessert at Eos were great, we decamped to another dessert place called citizen cake. The cakes were scrumptious, and the chef is self-taught. Wow.
The final item on the program was a drive uphill to Twin Peaks to view the city at night. A great end to a great trip.