Posted by: mckenzie68 | May 8, 2010

San Francisco, a bowl of mixed nuts…Days 17 and 18 or May 5 and 6

We slept in on Wednesday, which I think was therapy for me.  I was so exhausted from the previous day’s riding…and crashing!  My left leg and foot was still sore, but it was such a fantastic morning that Ray and I knew we had to get out to explore San Francisco.

We headed down to breakfast, to a place that was attached to our hotel.  It was a place called Custom Burger – and let me tell you, it’s a total tourist trap!  They charge huge $$ for a very average breakfast.  We learned that you need to head out for a good breakfast at a fair price.

So, after our breakfast of dollars, we headed out to check out Union Square and our surroundings.  We ended up walking for miles, loving every minute of it!  As we headed out of our hotel, we again threaded the needle of crack hoes, drug dealers and all around stellar citizens.  We had to laugh that we had chosen a hotel that was on the fringe of the hood.  We nicknamed our area ‘hood lite’.  I can only imagine what the German tourists that were booking in just after us were thinking when they headed out!  LOL. As we walked towards Union Square, we saw this crazy (very scary looking) heroin addict guy that was totally tatted up and scootching around in a wheel chair.  He came scootching towards us, but veered off at the last moment only to through his cigarette butt in our direction.  There were various other interesting characters in ‘the Gauntlet’, but they were only new to me.  Apparently Ray was all familiar with these people from his time downtown and in the hood.  LOL.  It was totally wild for me!

Once we made it through ‘The Gauntlet’ without incident, we headed West and found ourselves at the Civic Centre.  It was so interesting!  There was a huge sculpture just being constructed on the court yard area.  It was called ‘Three Faces and Six Arms” by an artist out our Shanghai.  His work was based on the statues he saw being sold in markets after the trouble in Tibet.  It was really interesting to watch this giant bronze arm being attached to this giant body.  The artist looked terribly nervous as the constructions guys (complete with crane) – 5 outside and one inside the statue – fought to get the arm on.  Finally it was done – truly amazing!

We continued on just walking and talking, seeing all sorts of interesting things, and even more fun, more interesting people!  I’m not kidding that this place is a big ol’ bowl of mixed nuts! We walked through a market (like a farmer’s market) that had various people talking to themselves – and one strange guy that followed us for a bit.   We eventually lost him, but it was clear why there was so much security at the market!

Our walk eventually took us to the Port of San Francisco Ferry Terminal.  It was thriving.  People were moving through like a river ebbing and flowing.  As we took a moment to look over the water, Ray saw a sea lion pop up and dive, and I made friends with Scruffy the Seagull.  That thing looked like it had been put through the dryer without a bounce sheet.  Poor messed up thing!  I used my Jedi skill to get within 12 inches of the thing, but then got freaked out and moved away.  It was looking at me like it had seen Alfred Hichcock’s “The Birds” and was thinking about re-enacting a scene or two…

We continued down the waterfront, as it was a fantastic day.  There were so many ships to check out and the sights!  Fantastic! There was one guy riding around on a peddle bike that had big ape hanger handle bars.  LOL.  He just kept riding back and forth down the piers.  I think he really wants a chopper, but is just can’t afford it, so that bike is the best he could do.  I almost expected him to make ‘vroom vroom’ sounds as he rode by…but sadly he didn’t!  I would have LOVED it if he had!  LOL.

Eventually we came up to Fisherman’s Wharf and went for lunch at Bubba Gump’s.  That restaurant is so excellent – it’s just so fun!  Our waitress, Lisa, was full of Forrest Gump trivia, that she kept trying to stump us with.  We got all the answers though!  Our table was by the window overlooking the water and in clear sight of Alcatraz.  Lunch was super good – lots of sea food…but I must say…I got the steamed clams and muscles…and they were not even CLOSE to the one’s Rhone did for us.  I think I’m spoiled!

As we started back to the hotel, we came up to a Blues Bar that had live music.  You KNOW we had to stop there…and we did!  The band was good, the drinks were cheap and we had a crazy woman dancing to the music outside the window.  I mean, what more can one ask, for?  After a couple of drinks, we decided we had better head for home, for real this time, before dark as we still had to run ‘The Gauntlet’ on the way.

The walk home was brutal…all up hill…but man did we burn calories!  I think I may have lost a good 3 lbs walking home.  YAY San Francisco hills!  We ran the Gauntlet, and made it home exhausted from walking so much during the day.  It was a great day.

Thursday dawned bright and sunny with a little wind.  We dressed, ate our breakfast of cheese and crackers (left overs from the day before) and headed out to conquer the Golden Gate Bridge.  We decided to walk, thinking it wasn’t THAT far from our hotel.  OH LORD!  That thing was forever away!  We did find this outdoor nautical museum with ships from various ages, along the way.  After checking them out (very interesting), we headed back out…and had to pass through this class of 7-8 year olds that were all dressed like deck hands from ages ago (or what I would imagine them to look like) heading into the museum with their packs.  We guessed that it was a field trip of some sort…that or they are recruiting for the Navy really young!

We continued down the waterfront, having lunch at this little conservation place that was like an oasis in the land of hungry!  Eventually we made it to the Golden Gate Bridge, and headed across.  It’s quite a thing to do if you get the chance.  It’s almost surreal, it’s hard to explain the experience.  I will tell you though, that when we got the center we were taking our ‘self portrait’ picture and this guy asks us if we would like him to take our picture.  We said ok, and as he was taking it, we realized that he had the camera lens pointing at himself!  LOL.  I wish we hadn’t said anything, that picture would have been classic!!  Even after he got the camera pointed the right way, he still didn’t take the picture.  He thought he did…and we still aren’t sure what really took place.  LOL.  It was all just funny and weird, which is what San Fran is!

Since we had walked 10,000 miles to see the bridge, we decided to take the bus back to our ‘hood’.  Best decision EVER!  We got off a few blocks early to have supper at a place called Chevy’s.  It was a Mexican place, that was decked out with all sorts of cool memorabilia.  Our waiter was totally fab and very excited that I wanted to try the local beer.  It’s not often that a waiter gets excited about what a person orders, but he was just a cool kinda guy.  The food was good and as we looked out, we saw that it was getting to be dusk.  We knew the creepies would be coming out and we still had to shoot ‘The Gauntlet’ to get back to the hotel.  About a block from our hotel there is a little liquor store which we hit on the way home to grab some wine.  As we were leaving, this wild looking, very tall African-American woman came in.  She took one look at me and set off on how much booty I have.  I kid you not, she announced to the world that I have a huge butt!  She went on about how “Baby’s got booty”.  It was so embarrassing!

It was such a funny two days.  We met and saw many more interesting characters that I don’t have time to mention here, but do know, that if you come to San Fran…don’t stay at the Best Western Americana.  The hotel is really cool, the staff is excellent, the price is good, but it’s in the hood!  Yikes.  That’s all I have to say about that!



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