August 20, 2006

Part 2: San Francisco


Arrive at the downtown Caltrain station at 11:30. Begin hike towards hostel, up 4th. Passed a Filipino Days parade going the other direction; got to Mission Street a few minutes shy of noon and decided to hit St Pat's 12:15 instead of one of the afternoon Masses as planned.
Brunch is two puff pastries from Beard Papa's, a little shop basically next to the church. I then continue towards the hostel. A few blocks along, I'm thinking, hey, pretty flat, I thought San Francisco was notoriously hilly? Then I turned a corner. San Francisco is pretty hilly. Found the Adelaide at the end of a short dead-end alley just off Taylor, checked in, and dropped off my stuff. Made connection with cousin Dan, a lifelong resident of the city, who offers not only to give me a driving tour but to feed me as well. The tour was a perfect mix of tourist stuff and stuff you'd never normally see, along with running commentary of the last several decades of city history. Dinner was a baked frittata made by Dan's wife Joan. MMmmmm.
After I got back to the hostel, I really didn't feel like going out again. I read for a while in the common room, logged in to check email, and ended up in bed just before midnight.


I tried to get off to an early start, took a brief detour to complain about CNN after breakfast, but made it off relatively early anyway. Walked down to the Muni station, got sidetracked into checking out UN Plaza and the City Hall, then really did get on the Muni to head out to the Mission, the original mission of the Franciscans in the area, founded just a few days before the Declaration of Independence was signed (though of course this was in Spanish Mexico at the time, so that wasn't very relevant). The original adobe mission building still stands and is in active use, though the parish's regular Sunday Masses are in the adjacent basilica. Nifty place. After wandering around the Mission District for a bit, I took the J back downtown and connected to a bus up to the marina, where I meant to check out the wave organ, although the tide wasn't right to really show it off. Good view, though.
At this point, I headed back to Chinatown for lunch, then walked to the Cable Car Museum, which is A) free, and B) actually the working hub of SF's cable car system. I spent not nearly enough time there before I had to dash back to the hostel to pick up my backpack and continue on down to the BART station. BART trains turn out to be very fast and surprisingly quiet, prompting one to use verbs like "whisked". In point of fact, the train whisked me through a tunnel under the bay, then past Port of Oakland and on to the Oakland Coliseum, where I transferred to the AirBART bus to the airport. Check-in was easy, security was easy, and before too terribly long I was on a plane to the 50th state.

"I'm just a cranky old alum out looking for trouble. Clearly I've found the right place." --Eric Stuckey

Posted by blahedo at 4:57am on 20 Aug 2006
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