Wednesday, October 10, 2007

San Francisco - More than just hills and ...

Prerequisite knowlege - This trip was was not for any reason other than an attempt to satiate lov's neverending desire to travel. I owe thanks to Skybus for enabling this trip. We looked through the list of flight destinations and prices back in early summer... Tickets were 120/person for round trip to the west coast.. Could I really complain?

So months passed with no thoughts of the trip until a week or two ago when I realized I would be going and knew absolutely nothing about the city.. What were we going to do for 3 days there? Then I realized we hadnt even planned where to stay.

First things first - find a cheap place to stay. Scratch that. Find a reasonably priced place to stay. Scratch that- lets stay at this famous old hotel : Hotel Whitcomb. Prior to booking - obligatory tripadvisor search - bums, bums, dirt and asbestos. I like classical, history etc, dont like that. Back to searching - Hotwire, priceline, nothing.

New goal - find a decently clean place for something less than outrageous. Attempt after attempt on priceline fail. Waiting for Lov 1 week before trip at 6:30am to go to work... Accepted. WHat?!?! what have I done?? - Grand Hyatt San Francisco for 148/night. Hrm - guess ill deal with that. (in retrospect, ended up being a nice hotel, not worth what we paid, but that statement could probably apply to 99% of everything on the west coast).

Fly to SanFran - skybus is skybus. Its southwest without food. I love skybus. Hooray skybus <- thats the weekly hurrah.

Arrive in sanfran, take airBart to Bart. Bart (train, not yellow little guy) takes us to downtown sanfran for like 6 bucks. (One of the 1% that is worth the money we paid).

Check in to hotel - Huge hotel, 39 floors. No real complaints. No problems with priceline reservation.

So Id made a list of things to do, then threw them out the window and decided to just see where things would take us (other than tix to alcatraz and a trip to napa)

First night - bus through chinatown to fishermans wharf. Tons of people. Elephant seals - loud and stinky. Clam chowder - delicious. Fresh dungeness crab (sp?) - cold, but would be delicious otherwise. Throwing bread crumbs to birds who flock only to be chased away by nearby dog on a leash - hilarious. Went to ghiriardellie square. Eat chocolate with ice cream. I cant eat chocolate. Writhing stomach pains all night.

Back to the hotel - im exhausted. I dont like PST, requires me to stay up past bedtime.

Sunday morning - wake up at 5 am. Think about going to service at beautiful catholic church we see walking home last night. Roll back over and go to sleep knowing I will again be kept up past my bed time. I would have stayed in bed longer if I had known if was going to be one of the longest days of my life.

So we stayed in Union Square - guys, never ever ever do this unless... no, never ever do this.

After a brief stop into chinatown to eat sticky buns (soft white bread with red BBQ pork in it) we go to a noodle shop. Eat noodles. Not bad.

Now begins the day that never ends. Lov wants to go shopping. Were in SanFran and shes going to wine country with me, Ill weather the storm. It wasnt a storm - it was a weeklong deluge followed by a tornado and a hurricane all at the same time. Somehow only I was hit by this storm, everyone else was smiling. Freaks.

List of hellholes: neemen marcus, guess, niketown, hm, chanel, nordstrom, bloomingdales, armani, bsbg, arden b (lov is providing store names) we went to so many not even she can recall all of them... Around 5pm we finally stopped. The headache she woke up with had somehow magically transferred into ever small crack of my brain, eyes, and feet.

Back to the hotel to drop of her purchases.. Now with 6 hours of shopping youd think there was a ton of clothes.. nope. She bought like 3 things of the 3,202,200 items she tried on. And on, and on.

A little rest for the feet and we were starving. Or I was. Now time for something fun. We rushed to find a way to the wharf again. We made it witha few minutes to spare so I knifed my way thorugh the giant horde of tourists (somehow we were the only 2 going that direction... I now feel like I know how a salmon must feel). We grab bread bowls full of clam chowder. Runnier - she likes more, i liked the thick stuff the night before with potatoes better.

Onto the boat. It slowly steams its way to the island. Audio tour around the island that Id highly reccomend. Prisons are scary, even without the cons and butt raping. Got to walk into a solitary confinement cell - if they shut the door I may have wet myself a little more than i did (note to self - never go on an insane killing rampage, you are not cut out for prison) We learned about prison breaks, etc. Good tour. Missed the 7:15 boat leaving the island. Tempted to jump for it but lov would yell at me for leaving her behing and she isnt a good jumper.

We get back to SF and realize we have no idea where we are. I need cars. I dont like public transport. Im lost, even with Garmin. Lov finds the way to a trolley.. we find out its $5 a piece and we decide to walk. We head to north beach and eat at a little italian place. Great waiter, great homemade spinach pasts. The seafood risoto was not great. Long walk up steep hills and we finally give up and hail a cab. Hotel = me tired. Noodles or something didnt like me, writhing stomach pains all night. Pain keeps me up long enough to make a car reservation for the following morning. That was a blessing in diarrhea.. i mean disguise.

Monday morning has finally arrived. I managed to wake lovanna who concedes to getting up and ready while I walk to go get the car. Enterprise did not pick me up. Liars.

I get the car - of course I booked the cheapest one possible - and expected to be bumped up because they didnt have what I booked. "Do you want to upgrade to an SUV?" - no. Do you want to upgrade to a sedan? -no. Do you want insurance? -no. Do you want power windows? -what??

So I got the saturn with absolutely no options. Oh well. Wasnt a big deal.. great gas mileage... but we take power windows for granted when we fly into the toll booth... And since when is the toll for a bridge $4????

Next post will be on napa..

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