San Francisco Travelogue Day #2 and #3

March 28, 2008 at 7:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Despite our less-than-stellar night’s sleep (James corrected me — it was a seagull humping a fire-escape that was keeping him up all night) we had a fabulous day in The City. Clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls at the Boudin Sourdough Bakery hit the spot for lunch, and the tour of the factory we took was surprisingly entertaining. You can watch as the machinery spits out dough, rolls it into a ball, leavens it, then rolls it into baguettes to be baked. Docked nearby were a WWII diesel submarine and navy ship that we climbed around in. It’s difficult to imagine setting out to sea for two months at a time in such cramped quarters. Apparently groups can reserve the submarine for overnights — though, with all the rocking, I’d be sick if I had to spend more than 30 minutes in there.

After our requisite Ben & Jerry’s chocolate milkshake break, we took off on a boat cruise of the Bay. Cheesy, but informative, narration informed us about the building of the Golden Gate Bridge as we cruised underneath it. A bit windy and cold, but got some nice pics. We also cruised close by Alcatraz, which we’ll be touring more closely on Monday. The Bay Bridge was also an interesting sight — it tunnels through an island in the middle of the bay before continuing on to Oakland. That also brought back some memories of a diary I used to keep when I was a kid. During the 1989 earthquake, I remember carefully recording in my diary what i was seeing on TV — including the collapse of the Bay Bridge — and how I was feeling about the whole thing. Figured someday I’d look back at it. Maybe I’ll do that when I get home and see what 11-year-old Mandy had to say.

Wind-blown and a little sunburned, we headed to the Aquarium of the Bay, the highlight being two underground tanks with pedestrian tunnels showing the variety of fish in San Francisco Bay. Pretty, pretty sharks 🙂 Seeing all those fish got us in the mood for seafood, so we headed to Pier 39 for a Dungeness crab dinner. James had a little too much fun watching me struggle to ,er, disassemble my crab. I think it tastes better when you have to work for it, heh. Utterly sated, we headed back to our hotel in the theater district via crowded cable car.

Feeling very accomplished (that was a very packed day!), we decided this morning because of the rainy weather, we’d spend our third day in SF at the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum James remembers visiting 15 years ago on a class visit when he used to live in Sacramento. Lots of hands-ons activities, and lots of kids. Lots of them. After about and hour and a half, we’d had our fill. Back on Fisherman’s Wharf, I begged a reluctant James to try the In & Out Burger for lunch — a place made famous (to me, anyway) from The Big Lebowski. James isn’t a big fan of hamburgers, but I figured they’d have something else on the menu for him. But we realized as we stepped in to the restaurant why they call it the “In & Out.” There are three menu choices — hamburger, cheeseburger, and double-cheeseburger. With and without fries and drink. Love the simplicity. Didn’t really love the burger, tho. I’d say the Texas Whataburger has it beat, as far as non-national hamburger fast-food chains go.

With the rest of the afternoon to kill, we stopped off at the Cable Car Museum, which not only houses historic train cars, but actually functions as the pulley system for the entire cable car line. Very cool to see all the big wheels and cables doing their thang. From there we walked up, up, up Nob Hill — and despite most people warning us about the SF hills, they were certainly no worse than the ones we encountered in Istanbul. Still, killer on the feet and shins. We passed by Grace Cathedral and popped in to admire the stained glass and get out of the rain a little bit. Surprisingly, I didn’t burst into flames at the front door.

Back at the hotel, we caught the tail end of afternoon wine-tasting (one of the perks of this place we’re staying. And now that we have extra pillows and less noise, we’re liking the place better. As long as we don’t walk West, heh.) Tonight we’re off to the Mission District for dinner with my friend Todd. We’re looking forward to a sunny day tomorrow spent with my other college friends Christie and Michael, and their little girl, Maya, who I’m excited to finally meet. I’ll try and offload some pics later in the weekend.

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