Saturday, July 04, 2009
The San Francisco Treat
This is an overdue post, but I wanted to write about it while it’s still semi-fresh in my mind. Between June 18-21, Alison and I went to San Francisco to celebrate 5 years together. It was a trip just for us, no responsibility to see family or anything and it was great. Similar to the LA Trip, we used my flight benefits and Alison’s hotel benefits to basically travel for free. We also had to fly in the coach section on the way down there, the humanity! But at least we got exit row seats.. Again, we didn’t go with many plans made in advance, but we wanted to see the city and Alcatraz.
The flight out was pretty smooth but early. We are both used to the late shift, since Alison works nights at the hotel. We were able to get from the SFO airport to the hotel via train and checked in without problems. Out to see the city! Despite tiredness, we started walking down the pier, hearing rumor of excellent clam chowder and sourdough bread. Starting at Pier 1, we walked across the shoreline for about a mile or so until we got to Pier 39, where all the action is. We looked out into the bay. Alcatraz island was partially hidden behind some sea fog, looking ominous in the distance. There was also a surprising amount of sea lions around the buildings. A plaque described how they all of a sudden showed up a few years ago and just never felt like leaving. We moved on into the shops! Lots of good looking food and deserts. We stopped at a little place and Alison got the clam chowder and I got a seafood basket. Both were pretty good. Then we hit up the chocolate store, and Alison got some gigantic strawberries from another shop. Continuing our touristy adventure, we passed an aquarium and decided to stop in. It wasn’t that big, but had some neat things. Weird looking crabs, jellyfish, sharks, and an octopus. We walked around a little more and got tired, and decided to head back to the hotel and think about dinner. We jumped on a trolley car which took us almost right next to the Hyatt Regency. I have to give a shoutout to the iPhone’s Google maps application. The public transit directions it gave were almost flawless (except for one time) and helped out a lot in a new place. Saved a lot of time. We rested a little and then went looking for a place to have dinner. After a lot of searching we found a steakhouse but I can’t remember the name. It was Perry’s or something. Anyways, Alison chose it because she liked the tablecloth of all things, but it turned out to be an awesome restaurant. I had a fillet with mac and cheese (always an awesome combo), and she had some sort of dinner salad. Both were great. Exhausted from the long and early day, we walked back to the hyatt to end the night.
For the next day, the 19th, we decided to go hit the Golden Gate park. It’s a long way away from the Hyatt where we were staying. Thanks to google maps public transportation, we were able to jump on a bus out there pretty easily. Some guy on the bus asked us where we were going and we told him. Turns out there’s a lot of pot being sold there. Declined his offer, as we looked at each other in apprehension. Sure enough, about 5 minutes into our morning walk, someone asked us again if we wanted to buy some “nuggets”.. uhh no! The park was a strange mix of stuff like that, but also little kids on field trips, tennis courts, homeless people walking about, museums, busy streets etc.. We settled on looking around the japanese tea gardens. We had to pay $5 each to get in, but oh well. There were some neat things in there like a giant arched bridge and huge stairs, but we decided to leave the park and hit up Chinatown. Rode the bus some more and ended up in a Chinese looking area. We walked back and forth but there weren’t a lot of shops for tourists - mostly food shops, and they didn’t look too sanitary. Little did we know, we were in the more residential area of Chinatown, about a block away from touristy-chinatown. We headed towards the Trans-America building and went back to the Hyatt for some rest and a quick bite to eat before we went to the Giants-Rangers baseball game. I had been wanting to go to a baseball game for a while so we went and it was fun. Cold, but fun. The fact that they were playing the Dallas team was a coincidence, but the Giants won anyways. Had hotdogs and pretzels and stuff.
Our last day, the 20th, was our Alcatraz day. Turns out, they only allow one company to take people over to island. Hello monopoly! And since the pride rally was coming up that week, everything was sold out far in advance. A little bummed out, we went out exploring again, starting the day out with a ride up Nob hill on the old fashioned cable car. Pretty neat ride, but the driver was a bit of an ass. We got off at the top and walked our way down, finding the Grace Cathedral and the “real” Chinatown. At least the one for the tourists. I picked up something for my dad for father’s day, and Alison got a chinese fan. Then we headed up to Pier 39 again and booked a boat ride that takes you out to the Golden Gate Bridge and around the island of Alcatraz. Our tickets were good all day, so we went up to Ghirardelli Square for ice cream and chocolate. I had a brownie sundae and Alison got a caramel sundae. Pro-tip: Get the brownie sundae when you go. Alison’s was sugar overload and mine was awesome. We shared a lot, so it’s all good. Headed back down to the Pier and got on the boat. It was a fun ride, very cold as we went into the wind and very pleasant when we turned around towards Alcatraz. Got some good pics, got to see the monstrous bridge and got to see the island pretty close. Next time we’ll be smarter and book our tour in advance. The day ended with a nice dinner at a more fancy place that I also can’t remember the name. I was trying to decide between a new york steak and bacon-wrapped pork chops.. Alison was sweet enough to order the pork chops and I got the steak. They were good but the portions were small. More Money = Less Food yay. Oh well it tasted good and we had some dessert. Headed back to the Hyatt to get some sleep for the early flight next morning.
As the trip ended, we met the SuperShuttle around 4am on the 21st and headed out to the airport. We both got first class on the way home, but our seats weren’t together :( I spent most of the flight sleeping anyways though. All in all we both had a lot of fun and maybe we’ll go there again some day.
Check out all the pics in my gallery at http://www.darkmercury.net/gallery2/v/sanfran/