Thursday, November 08, 2007

Uphill and Downhill

Was it just last week I was talking about strengthening my legs? The hills of San Francisco may be helping me to just that. We walked most of today exploring neighborhoods in the Mission, North Beach, Chinatown, and Nob Hill. We managed to nick a free ride on a cable car, but most of our exploration was on foot. Here are a few random shots.

Saints Peter and Paul Church with Coit Tower on a big hill in the background.

A post-Halloween cake in a bakery window.

A very garlicky restaurant between North Beach and Chinatown.

The outdoor labyrinth at Grace Cathedral.

Our first stop was at the San Francisco Herb Company, where they had every imaginable herb. I bought lavender, rose petals, and balsam fir for making sachets. I also bought additional things for people back home.

My husband had his heart set on going up to the top of Coit Tower, even though it continued to be a gray day. The elevator in the tower was a welcome sight after all those steps to get to the base. I’ve never been impressed by the view from on high, preferring street scenes instead.

The Chinese influence is everywhere: lots of Chinese spoken everywhere, Chinese newspapers, dim sum, We had lunch at a small Chinese restaurant recommended by a Chinese man on the street who promised we would be the only Americans there. And we were. The snow peas sautéed with garlic were wonderful.

Still no Internet access despite the promises of our German landlord. So we’re off to search for a coffee shop. A little shot of caffeine sounds like a good idea too.

So how does SF compare to DC? A few observations:
(1) The people who live here are passionate about the place. They all talk about where to eat and there are some great choices.
(2) People go out of their way to help you if you look lost.
(3) They haven’t learned how to put up barriers around important places yet. Most everything is still unobstructed.
(4) Hills. OMG, there are some killer hills. I deserve to eat as many calories as I can consume after the roller coaster walking tour of SF today.


Blogger Ruth D~ said...

I loved your comparison of DF to SF. I love getting a virtual tour. Sounds like a great trip, although not having internet access unless I went to a coffee shop would be tough. (a DICT ed!)

10:18 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

I thought I was the only one (nutty enough) to have walked all over SF. I need to go again, but they might not let me through the border checkpoint if they know where I now live.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

RuthD -- Internet access is resolved. The German proprietor told us we needed to outside to get it. What he really meant was out in the hall, which is fine.

Matt -- Believe me, there are some first-class nutcases here you couldn't hold a candle to. I could tell you stories of just one day. One example: On the way to dinner tonight, we passed a woman looking in the side-view mirror of a car. She turned to my husband and said, "Do I look alright?" He gave a weak "Just fine" as we walked on down the sidewalk.

1:11 AM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

I loved this! You describe it so well, I alsmost feel I'm walking along with you! Makes me want to go back ... its been 25 years since I was there but it sounds like the people are as nice as ever!

Great photos! Will have to come back later to catch up on the rest!
Thank God for weekends!

3:59 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Some of us go out of our way to help people if they look lost in DC, but we're definitely not SF. The pictures are great! You make me long for a trip west.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Askiing a total stranger a question like "do I look alright" is not nutcase behavior on the west coast. It's a cultural norm. We, by comparison, are uptight and shutdown. It's an interesting difference that took years for me to adapt to when I moved to DC.

Love the pics. I threw crystals into the outdoor labyrinth at Grace Cathedral when it was being constructued. I'm still so attached. Did you have a drink at the Tonga Room afterwards?

Wish I were there!

8:30 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Also - if Matt lives in southern California, then he would definitely be frowned upon by Bay Area residents who have an inexplicable distaste for L.A.

8:32 AM  
Blogger bozoette said...

If you find my heart, just leave it there, like I did.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Rise -- Yes, the people go out of their way to be nice. It's like one big family, where there is sometimes someone acting out.

Kristin -- I think you are the exception in DC, where it is rare for strangers to just strike up a conversation, or at least in my experience.

Reya -- The labyrinth was our last stop on the walking tour yesterday and after that hike up the hill on California Street, I could only think of grabbing a cab back to the Western Addiction, so we skipped the Tonga Room drink.

Bozoette -- I'll be on the lookout for your left heart.

10:22 AM  
Blogger media concepts said...

Reya is right. I'm convinced this one-way distaste for SoCal has to do with our fabulous and their crappy weather.
But as far as bizarre behavior in SF goes, your encounter with the mirror lady doesn't even register on the radar screen. Now, if she was naked and riding a white horse down the middle of the street, and stopped to ask your husband if her hair was in place, then we might be talking.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Reading your travelogues is second best to being there with you - how's SF chocolate?

4:25 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Wow! I have to say that those greens are ... ehm ... really green.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya/Matt -- I think the mirror lady was either getting ready for a night "job" or soliciting business or both.

The lady on the bus earlier in the day who started screaming at the person who tried to help her get her cart off the bus and continued to scream as she crossed the street was a better example.

Pauline -- Is there ever good chocolate here! The best!

Richard -- Yes, very VERY green!

9:31 PM  

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