On my way to Australia, I made a pit stop in San Francisco for three days, visiting some good friends. These are my notes on the city:
– San Francisco is based on a hilly peninsula right on the Pacific ocean, so even though the weather is pretty good year-round, there are always high winds, and the weather can change very quickly. Always bring a jacket.
– The city is extremely hilly! The postcard view of a car winding up a road is pretty typical of the city, and when traveling inland, you’ll often have to climb up hills of 20-30 degrees. Some sidewalks have stairs built into them. I wonder, for the steep inclines without stairs, how do girls walk with high heels?
On many of these hills, there is also perpendicular parking. Car doors can be pretty heavy though, so it must be tough to open an uphill door. Conversely, when opening a downhill door, you have to make sure the car door doesn’t slam into the car right below yours.
– There are a lot of hobos in San Francisco – supposedly a combination of the hippie culture and very liberal city policies. Interestingly, they’re mostly found in the lower elevations – as you climb up the hills to the inner city, bum population drops off. So accordingly, property values increase as you climb up.
Places I visited:
– Fisherman’s jetty. Most of this place is very touristy, but towards the back, there’s a section of the pier that’s completely populated by sea lions; you can hear them going ornk ornk ornk!
– Union Square. Supposedly a big tourist place, lots of high-end shopping, but I visited when it was early, rainy, and deserted.
– Chinatown fortune cookie factory. Very cool, they manually make fortune cookies here. It’s got to be a gimmick, with most real cookies being folded by machine, but it’s still pretty cool to watch. The flat fortune cookie crisps are pretty good too!
– Liberty ship, Jeremiah Wright. Full of history and quite interesting! It seems to be a work in progress though, with volunteers working to maintain the ship. $12 admission. There’s also a nearby submarine you can tour.