Our Cultural Experiences in San Fran

Trip Start Feb 10, 2010
Trip End Feb 14, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, February 13, 2010

We had a busy day today as well.  We woke early, ate breakfast and headed to Pier 33 to catch the Ferry to Alcatraz.  We were on the 'early bird' tour so that we did not have to fight the crowds, which worked out well.  We listened to an audio tour narrated by former inmates and officers as they took us back in time on Alcatraz.  We really love learning about the history and significance of landmarks at places we visit.  The Rock was no exception.

We took the ferry back to San Fran and took a cab into Chinatown.  Thanks to our Fodor's guide, we took a walking tour off the beaten path and into the heart of Chinatown.  We found it so interesting that these people, with a much different culture than ours, have created a place/home within San Francisco that fits their needs and lifestyle.  It is a city within a city.  While sight seeing we stepped into a very tiny Dim Sum shop (filled with locals) and carefully ordered some dim sum.  Then we tucked ourselves into an alley (which no doubt led to peoples homes) and ate most of what we bought.  While in China (town) we had to experience dim sum!

We continued up and down the streets of Chinatown observing how the locals lived and worked and watched the tourists buy meaningless trinkets from compeating shops.  We stumbled upon a game of Chinese checkers between two men.  We figured it must be a serious one since 10 other men surrounded them.  We also ran into a crazy 'cat lady' who pushed two fat cats in a stroller as she donned a cat collar and other odd things. 

After Chinatown we hailed a cab and headed to yet another cultural experience; Haight-Ashbury.  Wow... it is so amazing how the areas change in San Fransico.  Haight is yet another city inside a city.  The hippie movement began there and has never left.  Funky people, bright colors, vintage clothes and music shops. 

We stopped at The Grateful Dead's old house and posed for a photo and just meditated on the history that was made on these very streets.  We stopped and spoke with a man who owned "Historical Restoration", a restoration/painting company who has redone many homes in SF to include a magnificent one we stopped to admire.  He told us it was painted using 38 colors and gold leafing and that front stairs were crafted by a local carpenter and cost in excess of $30K.  More great insight from a local.

We decided to find a locals place to eat and ended up eating one of the best meals of the day!  The quaint cafe was called 'All You Kneed' and it was full of locals and staffed by women with dreadlocks and tattoos.  We had burritos and beers and enjoyed the scenery. 

As if that were not enough for today, we hailed another cab and headed to Ghirardelli Square, just because its something to see.  We did not get any chocolate, but we did get a gourmet cupcake from a cupcake shop.  Apparently these shops are all the rage out west.  We probably should have picked up some chocolate because as I write this blog, its 845pm PT and Evan is craving some chocolate!

We left the square and walked along the Marina admiring the large homes and many boats.  On our way we walked through Fort Mason and leaned of its history and signifigance.  We continued along the waterfront all the way to the Gold Gate Bridge!  There is a beach, many trails and pet friendly parks that many locals go to.  We marveled at the amount of people who were out jogging and finally figured out that the Marina/waterfront area is the only area flat enough to do so, that is where everyone runs or walks their dog!

The walk we took this evening was about 6 miles round trip.  After several days of walking, it really wore us out.  So we are now back at the room and wiped out.  We scarfed down In and Out Burger for dinner (a west coast delicacy) and now are watching the Winter Olympics.
I just heard a snore out of Evan, so I guess he forgot about the chocolate.  :)

We had such a great time during our trip, saw the neatest things and took a lot of great photos.  Time for a good nights sleep...  see you soon!

Michelle & Ev
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Marian& Russell on

We really enjoyed the blog and it's daily updates.

Brought back many happy memories.Thank you.

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