My wife and and I always have this little argument about which town or city is better…Los Angeles or San Francisco. I mean it’s not like we’ve lived in either one but she has relatives and friends in L.A and spent more time there for work and some play so I guess it’s that feeling of familiarity or belonging. I on the other hand made SF my first destination when I went to the U.S.A. for the first time back in 1976 and fell in love with the mood, vibe and overall charm of the place.
This of course, was the original San Francisco. Land of the hippie, home of marijuana and unspoiled with the trappings and evils of the Silicon Valley tech sector. My aunt’s place was on Taraval Street on the Eastern side of SF and I loved it. Early mornings were chilly and the first coffee and cigarette of the day was heaven. Oh the simple things. My aunt was also a smoker and it was a joy for me to enjoy the vice (I was only 15!) unimpeded by parents and persons of authority. Discovering the USA through the fog and mist of the city was really memorable and I loved every moment. SF was also my father’s college town and as a kid, I would go through his photo albums which were meticulously organized and labeled and spend hours just looking at black and white pictures of him doing some fishing, going out on the town with his college buddies or just having a good time in his SF State University jacket. I guess this somehow imprinted on me the goal of finding out more of SF and what made it so special.
And special it is…I will always love San Francisco and it will always have a place in my heart.
Oh about this pic. I took this while on top of one of those double-decker tour buses. My wife and I, along with the kids, took this on a whim just to get a quick tour of the city.
One of the more colorful things I saw at Pier 39 that day. Being Filipino, we don’t really get into taking long baths just showering sometimes even twice a day so the concept of using bath salts doesn’t quite appeal to me. Nonetheless, maybe it’s something I should try at least once.
I saw these windows on Haight Street and was immediately attracted to the geometric patterns and lovely blue color. Really makes you wonder what these guys were on when they painted these. I mean, you just gotta have some of that to get the creative juices flowing.
San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without a trip downtown to check out the sights. And what better way to see the city than aboard one of the iconic San Francisco streetcars. They may be old but they seem to work fine and lots of people still use them for practical or even sentimental reasons.
One of the things that I noticed about the West Coast was the lack of rainfall. Everything was so dry and this was evident in the terrain that I saw on the drive from L.A. to San Francisco which consisted mostly of dried grass. This in turn led to the adaptation of cactus and other succulent plants as a way to dress up the garden without having to resort to watering or extensive maintenance. Being a plant-lover, naturally I agreed 100% with the move and besides, there’s something fascinating about cactus and their cousins like the tillandsia.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the more impressive aquariums I’ve seen simply because of the layout and the way exhibits are organized according to the local habitat. The kids enjoyed getting up close with some of the inhabitants of the seas and I’m pretty sure some of them ended their visit with dreams of becoming a marine biologist one day or at the very least, learning how to scuba dive.
As we were leaving the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I saw this door leading to another room which somehow piqued my curiosity. I entered the room and was amazed with what they call the “Circular sardine exhibit”. It’s this huge, circular glass wall which allows you to look into their Open Sea exhibit which is the largest tank in the complex. So it was only appropriate that I pull out my fisheye lens (WTF) to take this.