1. My favorite memory is the Golden Gate Bridge. I know, I know – it is just a bridge but to me it will forever be more than just an amazing marvel of engineering. Later in the week we took the opportunity to walk the bridge and read about its construction. There are four dudes whose job it is to paint the bridge all year long. Talk about a monotonous job. Early in the week the bridge was the backdrop as my man-love asked me to be his wife. See, forever a special place to me. San Francisco is a great city, but man the weather. It was cold! I didn’t expect 60s in mid-July. Apparently the city doesn’t experience summer-like weather until September and October. It is a great place to go for those who want to escape the heat.
4. I was super impressed with the audio tour at Alcatraz. It was really well done (award winning in fact). The narrators are former inmates and guardsmen telling the tales of the old jailhouse. The tour using very descriptive audio cues walk you through the entrance to the end telling a story throughout.
5. Our first day in the city we jumped on one of those double decker tour buses. While we ended up huddled together due to the cold weather it was a great way to get an overview of the entire city and really decide what we wanted to concentrate on for later in the week. The highlight was watching our tour guide wrangle a sea gull that landed on the top of the bus for a free ride. Comedy. Especially after the turd bomber dropped (well) a turd in the guide’s jacket leaving him to shiver with the rest of us tourists.
6. Chinatown proved to be a pretty cool experience. I bought a jade bracelet (more jewelry to commemorate my trip). I tried to haggle but I think I am just wired to pay retail. We ate lunch at the Empress of China, which may have been really awesome in its day. They had a ton of celebrity photos from the 80s adorning the entrance. The dining room is on the fifth floor and provides a view over Chinatown. The décor is dated but the food ended up being really tasty. I had wonton soup for the first time, delicious. The dumpling appetizer was served with a nice, spicy ginger sauce. For our entrée we had duck lo mien, which was served with sprigs of cilantro making it even more amazing. Empress of China proved to be a nice surprise we stumbled in to, cheers to luck. It was also cool to walk through the heart of the area and watch musical performances, people doing tai chi and old Chinese ladies gambling over some card game.
7. An early morning tour took us to Muir Woods National Monument, home to a forest of gigantic redwoods. The size of the trees was astounding. We enjoyed a two-mile loop walk during our limited time there. It was so peaceful and beautiful, unlike anything I’ve seen on the east coast. We ran into a mom with her two children who come every year while visiting grandparents. They spend their time in the forest hunting banana slugs. Huh? They had just found one and happily shared a viewing with us. The little girl loved them so much she kissed it. Eew.
8. Man-love enjoys him some hippy music. One of the things I most adore about him is that he loves music and shows as much as I do. Our musical taste is varied so there are times when he goes with me to a show he is less than thrilled about and I go with him to his jam bands. I like the music; I just tire of the SUPER long jam sessions. Fifteen minutes is too long for one song. Any way, we wanted to check out the Greek Theater at Berkley and the String Cheese Incident played there our last Saturday night. Holy cow. I’ve been to a few of these shows with him but none like this one. Only a video will do it justice.
9. We rented a car for our road trip to Napa. Upon our return the rental company called for a cab to take us back to our hotel. At least fifteen minutes passed and no cab. The rental shop was closing for the night and our transportation was the last thing on their mind. A local woman was renting a car to head out of town with her daughter and witnessed the lack of assistance from the car company. She graciously offered to take us back to the hotel saying we’d be hard pressed to get a cab at rush hour in our location. Great proof to me that southern hospitality doesn’t just happen in the south.
10. After a long week of lots of activities and a ton of eating out, the Friday before our Sunday departure we crashed. Ever ate out so much that you just got over it? That is how we felt. We cancelled our reservations and had microwave popcorn in the room for dinner and watched the gymnastic Olympic trails. Ahh, vacation.