San Francisco, CA
Tuesday July 2
Mark and I started the morning with a walk down Market St to the Farmers Market at the Ferry terminal. It was a beautiful and sunny morning and the outing was a brisk 30 min round trip. The morning was rather cool and offered some relief after the heat we’d had through Death Valley.
We all headed out after breakfast to take the ‘Hop On Hop Off’ bus tour loop around SF. We find these trips give you a good overall perspective for any new city. The ‘number 5’ stop at Union Square was a 5 min walk away from the apartment so, it was to that stop that we headed. We experienced the fog that is quite common in SF and this shrouded the Golden Gate Bridge on our approach. It seems that we were quite lucky to capture this Bridge in fog free mode on our arrival to SF yesterday.
The bus loop took about 2 hrs and left us back at Union Square where we then wandered up to Chinatown to have lunch, another 5 min walk away. Mark found some more shoes to buy and I swear that he is a very different species whilst on this continent. Part of our later lunch conversation involved me doing a SWAT analysis on why we shouldn’t ‘do’ the Outlets in Hawaii. Mark is still keen for this but I thought that was all over after the outlets in Las Vegas. Apparently not and…… that conversation had yet to be concluded !
We had planned to do our own self guided walking tour of Chinatown that afternoon but our Bus ticket also came with a free 1 hr guided tour of the area so we opted for that instead. Our guide, also called Mark, gave us a potted history of the area and about the progression of Chinese habitation within SF. He was most knowledgeable,quite entertaining and clearly enjoyed his work which always makes for a better learning experience.
Our bus ticket also included a 90 min night tour and we planned to take this at 7 pm and ‘Mark’ was going to be guiding that as well.
So, after leaving our Chinatown walk, we bid our guide farewell for a few hours and made our way back to the Levis store as Mark was keen to get some more jeans. 45 min later and we left with both Mark and Tom being the proud owners of 2 pairs of jeans!
We were all pretty tired by this stage so we headed back to the apartment to shed the shopping bags and rest up before the 7 pm night tour.
It was a cool evening so I chose to sit downstairs for the night bus trip whilst Tom and Mark went upstairs. It wasn’t long though before I was joined by a young and friendly lad called Chris. We chatted a bit and then he ‘floored’ me when he said that ‘he and his husband were the first couple in Hawaii to celebrate a civil union’! It wasn’t the ‘civil union’ bit but…… I thought he was only just a tad older than Tom! Anyway, his husband, Brandon, eventually came downstairs too and Chris has asked us to look him up at ‘Hulas’ in Waikiki when we get to Hawaii. They had both been over here for the ‘Pride March’ held last Sunday. Chris and Brandon practically out shone the twinkling lights on the San Francisco Bay Bridge and made the night more enjoyable.
The tour finished by 8.30 pm and had us back at Union Square by 8.45 pm. We headed to a small, but very popular and busy, Japanese restaurant just across the road from our apartment. We are in the best location ever for visiting SF!
I do need to share a funny story here though. When we first arrived we had just come from a sweltering Napa and the apartment here in SF, having been closed up for sometime, was quite warm. We immediately searched out the A/C. Finding this not to be working I emailed the owner who replied that they don’t actually have any A/C here! There was some mild panic from us at first, but, sure enough, we opened the windows and all was eventually ok…..the breeze filtered through and memories of Death Valley soon faded. Tonight though, we’ve come home wondering how to activate the heating! It’s cold!!!!! Tom has unpacked the track pants I had made him bring and Mark and I have layered up too. The tour guide tonight had mentioned that they can tell the ‘tourists’ here as they’re the only ones stupid enough to be wearing shorts! ‘Note to self’ here but…..so true!
We packed in a lot today. We plan to take it a bit easier tomorrow. Tom is keen to check out a PC shop and we’ll take the free walking tour of North Beach/ Little Italy before catching up with our niece and nephew for dinner.