Eclectic neighbourhoods of San Francisco

Trip Start Sep 07, 2009
Trip End Nov 17, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We decided to spend the today exploring some of San Francisco's neighbourhoods. We caught our first open-sided, ''old school' cablecar, which you can hang off the side from on a ledge. There aren't many routes left, but they have kept a few of the original lines running for the tourists. It costs $5 to ride the car, but it's free if you buy a one-day pass for $11, which is also valid on the bus etc.

We jumped on at the start of the route on Powell Street, but unfortunately we had to sit inside as the open sided seats and standing spots were filled quickly by other pushy tourists eager to enjoy the ride. Anyway, we had gone no further than two stops, when we suddenly heard yelling behind us and we turned round just in time to see a woman falling off the car! I quickly turned back round as I couldn't watch, but I heard the screams. The cable car screeched to a halt and the conductor jumped off to check the lady was ok. She had hit her head quite badly and was dazed, so he called an ambulance. We didn't hang around to find out what happened, but we were a lot more cautious of the trams from then on!

We jumped on the nearest bus up to Little Italy and wandered up and down the steep streets. We walked on past Washington Square and up to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, the highest point in SF. We were all puffed out from the steep climb by the time we got there. We caught the elevator to the top of the tower and were blown away by the views. The weather was sunny and clear, you could see for miles.

We caught another bus from the tower down to Chinatown for some lunch. The streets were bustling and there were endless open-front shops selling all sorts of things from Chinese herbs and medicines to smelly dried fish! We stopped off for lunch at an all-you-can-eat dim sum buffet. Oh dear, it was disgusting, The food looked, and tasted, like  it had been sitting there for days (I was convinced for the next 24hrs that we were going to get food poisoning, luckily we didn't). 

We left Chinatown and caught the cable car again to Lombard Street, SF's most crooked street. From there we headed south to an Hispanic neighbourhood called Mission. We got off the train at the main park, Mission Dolores, where we stopped to watch the world go by. The local high-school had just finished for the day and it was cool to see all the local SF kids hanging out. The park was great and had an awesome view of the city looking north. We left the park and headed west down 24th, through the heart of the vibrant Mission neighbourhood. The Mission area is well known for its street murals and we visited a back street, called Balmy Street, that has the highest concentration of murals in the area. The mural depict a lot of the struggles of Central and South Americans in the States. We were both dead impressed with the artwork and would definitely recommend a visit.

After a long day, we returned back to our hotel, before heading out to dinner at the restaurant next door, Annabelle's Bistro. The meal was one of the best we've had since being out here and it was so refreshing to eat 'normal' restaurant grub (e.g not deep-fried, fast food).

Just before going back to our hotel, we popped in at the massive Apple Store on the corner. You can access the internet there for free and its always packed. Anyway, we logged on to our emails and researched our next destination. I finished checking my hotmail account and so closed the window and went to wait for Jim. I just happened to look around 10 minutes later at the computer I had been using and there was a man on it looking through my emails! I ran over and snatched the laptop out of his hands. He reckoned that he had just wanted to log onto his hotmail account and my had automatically opened. I was so upset, because instead of just logging out of mine and into his, he had started to read through my emails. I felt so stupid because I had just closed the window rather than logging out properly. I was so angry, but the man just shrugged it off. Meanwhile, Jim was oblivious to what was going on and hadn't even looked up from his computer! Anyway, you live and learn, no harm done......
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