A day in Cisco - a night at the concert

Trip Start Mar 28, 2012
Trip End May 24, 2012

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Where I stayed
Mission Inn San Francisco
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of United States  , California
Friday, May 11, 2012

We allowed ourselves a leisurely breakfast and waking up routine to regather some of the momentum the schedule is depleting! At about 10:00 am we walked four blocks south and the 4 four blocks east to catch the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train at Balboa to take us downtown to Powell Street - a bargain at $1.75 each. Pics for the day are here.

We made for the nearest coffee emporium for our daily fix which on this occasion happened to be in the Westfield shopping Mall on Market Street. It was like any other Mall - a temple to the god of consumerism with multitudinous side-chapels dedicated to the demi-gods of fashion and desire.

We then began walking up Powell Street with its famous cable cars and steep gradients before turning down towards Chinatown - the largest Chinese community outside Asia. All the cities I have been in have had a Chinatown - some were frankly disappointing - but not this one. it was alive with all the touristy things you'd expect but the restaurant we chose to have lunch in made us feel very much in a non-chinese minority! It was good.

There then followed a series of frustrating encounters with cable cars. eventually we made on to the fourth one - just. We were allowed external, hanging-on spaces and had to 'breathe in' significantly when we passed anything parked that was bigger than a car! Katrina enjoyed riding the car right at the front hanging on for dear life. there are no photos of this escapade as I too was hanging for dear life whilst trying to secure my ruck-sac and its precious contents. I needed both hands to hang on and hold the ruck-sac whilst obeying the driver's (Mr T look-alike) commands to "suck it in" whenever we passed anything a bit too closely! The consequence was I never managed to pay the conductor although I did once offer him the $12 fare he seemed otherwise occupied and then we arrived at Fisherman's Wharf - end of the line!

We then explored many of the fine options on offer at the Fisherman's Wharf complex, including Ghirardelli's before settling down at a bar with views of the Bay and the people to enjoy a drink in the warm afternoon sunshine.

Our next mode of transport were 'Street Cars' - trams which gave you 90 minutes if riding for $2 - again pretty good we thought. we made our way east along the Embarcadero to the AT&T Park - the home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. This 42,000 seater stadium offers a fantastic location with the city back-drop of skyscrapers and the Bay Bridge. It also offers exposure to the very cool wind that was driving the fog in from the Pacific Ocean that obscured the Golden Gate and flooded into parts of the Bay. Having tried to be economical with our ticket purchase, when we got tour seats we discovered why they were the cheapest! We were perched 200' above the ground right against an open metal fence with some of the sound system obscuring our view but in an excellent position to catch that chill wind. With an air temperature of only 10℃, although I was dressed comparatively warmly, I was freezing and spent most of the second half shivering! With half the audience lighting up joints throughout the evening, it was nothing if not pungent!

It was nevertheless and excellent and unforgettable experience. We were privileged to see this performance for the second time in 12 months having caught it at the 02 Arena in London last May. The photos from the show are here. Afterwards we jostled with the crowds but made a good progress via the Street Car and then BART train back to Balboa and the 20 minute walk back to the motel. We got home just after midnight.

An excellent introduction into a uniquely charming city.
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