Monday, September 07, 2009

Put a Flower In Your Hair

I've been living in California for six months. I've been living in the greater San Francisco area, about an hour from downtown. And just this past weekend I finally made it into the city.

When I moved here, Julia and I drove down together, spent the weekend in the area I'm living, but didn't explore much beyond a few miles from the house. Since then I've gone back to Seattle for visits, but this past weekend she flew down here to spend her birthday weekend with me. We both thought it'd be fun to head into San Francisco and do some exploring. She found a great hostel in downtown for a pretty reasonable price (less than half of what a hotel would have cost) and we pretty much trolley-carred, bussed, and walked everywhere we wanted to go.

It was very nice to be able to spend some time together, but the city really sort of let us down. Sure, maybe we just didn't know where to go or what to do, but it just didn't have a good vibe for us. The few people I interacted with were either homeless or had a major attitude. (One woman was incredibly offended that I walked through a door she was mindlessly holding open while waiting for a friend and had some nasty words for me. That was just plain weird.) Drivers seemed to honk at everything; light's red? Honk. Pedestrian in the street? Honk. Oxygen in the air? Honk. I've always thought West Coast cities were supposed to be friendlier and less aggressive, but San Francisco apparently didn't get that memo. Based on my first experience there, I'd opt never to venture into the city again.

If anyone has advice, opinions, or ideas that may help improve my feeling about the city and any future experiences I may have there, please let me know.

We picked up a CityPass on Thursday morning and that gave us access to the transit system (which, despite some SNAFUs on our part, was very handy) and included tickets to a number of touristy sites. So, we spent a day at Fisherman's Wharf, took a boat tour around the bay and Alcatraz, and toured the aquarium, which we loved. We also went to the Exploratorium, which did nothing for us for the most part. Tried to go to Sausalito, but had bad directions, so instead we just rode around on the bus for a couple of hours. Toured the Museum of Modern Art and the Comic Art Museum, both of which were very cool and enjoyable. Julia and I both really like Rothko's work and they had an excellent piece at the MOMA. They also had an exhibit of Ansel Adams (meh), O'Keefe (it was great!), and a photographer (who's name I forget), who's collection of portraits was a treat. The CityPass was a good investment since all of those things on their own would have been WAY over what we spent on the passes.

We glimpsed Lombard Street (the crooked street) by trolley car. Had a fantastic breakfast of dim sum at a place in Chinatown where we were literally the only white people in the place -- which is a good sign you're in a good restaurant. We passed through Little Italy, but never had a destination in mind, so we didn't actually stop there. We did want cannoli, but that wasn't a big enough draw.

Other than that we spent time together in our room where we talked, played cards, and read. That part of it was really nice.

Sunday afternoon we took a shuttle out to the San Francisco airport so Julia could catch her flight home and I could catch another shuttle back to the San Jose airport, where Jim picked me up. It was sad to say good-bye to my girl again, but it was nice to get out of the city and back "home."

Maybe I'm not being fair. I mean we did a lot of stuff over the course of the long weekend, but the city just didn't impress us and certainly wouldn't rank anywhere on our list of places to visit again.

I spent today at work catching up on emails, playing Champions Online, and working on some missions for work. I also remembered to call my nephew to wish him a happy birthday. That was nice. He's a good kid.

That's all for now. I hope you all had a nice weekend and Labor Day!


At September 07, 2009 11:42 PM, Blogger Jason said...

I wish I had some advice for you but both times I've been to San Francisco, my experiences were very similar. Lots of (aggressive) homeless people, too much traffic, and a city that isn't really any different from any other. Seattle and Portland are more relaxed, and at least in LA you know what you're in for.

Join me in the 'San Francisco Ain't That Great' club I guess!


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