Tour Buses, Homeless People and Twinkies
Trip Start Apr 19, 2010
22Trip End May 20, 2010
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Where I stayed
Best Western Express
First I need to start this entry with the last picture from yesterdays. Somewhere on this page or below is a picture of how the Day ended, with us all in the hotel room - play spot the Charmayne and win a quarter.
We were up at 6am ready for our first offical day in glorious San Francisco (SF from now on). We had breakfast in the Hotel dining room as its included with every stay. The kids eyes were only on the fruit loops, settling for a treat and having two ! bowls each. Char and myself had scrambled eggs on Muffins and Sausage.(In a patty - but much much nicer than any back home). After this we caught a cable car ride into the middle of SF to Union Square where we started on our 2 day Hop'n'Off tour ride. You are free to scoot around the city on a large loop, and jump off at one of the 8 or 9 stops and catch the next one passing every 30 mins
Places we got off at were ChinaTown. I found a spot downtown that felt familiar for some reason and then I realized why - It was soo good to finally see where I've been taking Tom all these years. There is a spot where all the old chinese/japanese/asian i suppose too, gather to gamble play chinese board games. I took a photo of a group of them, then asked for a photo of what they were playing = looked like checkers to me, but who knows, it could have looked like anything to my keen western (culturaly ignorant) tourist eyes.
Next the tour took us across the famous Golden Gate Bridge, which was totally awsome. The wind was bloody freezing on top of the open double decker bus, but worth the View. On the other side we stopped in the main viewing area and took some photos with the classic city skyline as a backdrop. Then we hiked up a ridge road/path to the lookout, which is a 45 return trip
Golden Gate Park was next on the list, a massive long park in the heart of SF, completely man-made, it started life as huge sand dunes, in around 1890, it was transformed over many years. The developer gained an agreement with the city for all of the horse manure collected from the city streets to be brought here for use fertilizing this massive areas. Eventually tree planting started, and thousands of different varieties from all over the world were imported. Speaking of trees, on the way there, we saw a heap of gum trees. Being from OZ we remarked on this, and as it turned out, the city imported and planted hundreds of them to grow for their wood, but quickly found out it was too soft for use, and so it was too late to remove them all and they gave been happily growing ever since.
We had a very average hotdog in the park - Chars was half cooked and full of fat. Seans and mine was a New York type and just OK. Lauren loved her huge pretzel. I should have waited for a genuine hotdog from the bug apple ! Then we had a full 360' view of SF from the deYoung Museum from the free viewing deck - see some photos of the amazing view
Then we visited the Japanese Tea Gardens, where we walked around the beautifully manicured gardens and ponds. A large bonsai tree collection ( fairly large sized too at about a few feet tall) was donated by a gentleman who died ( in the 70's I think). He was tasked with looking after the whole collection during World War 2. The original Japanese woman who grew them was herded off to the internment camps, and she gave them to him to look after the plants she loved so much. He thought the japanese gardens was the perfect permant home for them I suppose, as they have been there ever since. They are in the photo with the multi-story red Japanese house.
We saw some classic Victorian style turn of the century SF houses, they all looked and had character, makes you wonder how culturally dead Perth is. You have to fight just to keep a frontage on some old buildings, over here, the same wooden houses rebuilt after the great earthquake in 1920 are still lived in, and the ones in the photo will set you back a cool 4 mill each.
To finish off the day, we had dinned at Pier 39, a famous land mark. Lots of fabulous shops, all catering to the tourist trade
Which brings me to the current time, a bit more later than I would have liked at 12:30am, and we are up at it again tomorrow at 6:30. I was later then planned because I finally got a hold of Shan, my cousin and we spoke for an hour and a half, comparing our time so far in the same city. He had alot of stories to tell, and I will not even attempt to retell them, but I will say this. Those of you who remember a funny movie set in the american wilderness, which contains the line - "I dont need to run faster than it, I only have to run faster then you !" will know exactly what I am talking about ...
Crap forgot about the title.. OK, so anyway there are alot of homeless in SF, and I have taken to one guy ( run I can hear you all saying) so I donate to him each time I pass, by just giving him all the shrapnel I dont want weighing my pockets down with. Maximize the "I dont feel so bad now karma" all in one spot I reckon. Anyway each time I pass he says something, a plea for money I have been assuming. Each time I just couldn't make out what he was saying, and so curiosity being what it is, I slowed down more and actually stopped in fron of him and listened closely, as he was sitting on the floor. And it wasnt me, he just sort of mumbles/slurs/groans out the same unintelligible sound to everyone. When you give him anything, the noise he makes changes pitch, and vagely resembles a triple thank, thank, thank the same way a hopeless old grubby man living in the same spot 3 doors down from our hotel resembles the swanky rich buinessmen who live in the 4 million dollar homes I was photographing hours earlier.
Oh yeah, Twinkies. Love emm actually. Took till the second one to fully appreciate the %100 artificial taste, colour, flavour and packaging, but hey they are pretty good. Bought a box and its a hit. That and Mint Oreos - yeah.