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San Francisco Trip
Transcript of San Francisco Trip
The "OG" Chinatown
My first whole day in San Francisco involved stopping at our hotel which happened to be right on Fisherman's Wharf. A beautiful area, but unfortunately crawling with tourists. Regardless, it was amazng to finally be somewhere with less of a beige and dull influence. It was beautiful and wildly different from Pittsburgh. New smells, new sounds, different people, and a completely different vibe for a new place. We were even met with 2 rainbows upon exiting the airport, and another once arrving to Fisherman's Wharf. It was the first time I could finally take a break from grinding all the time at school, and take time for myself and relax.
Bike Ride to the Golden Gate
Twin Peaks (too much walking...)
San Francisco International Airport
The best adventures start and end at the same place; the airport. I had begun my trip landing in the San Francisco Airport at one in the morning and then finding a good spot to sleep for five hours until I could begin my actual adventure. Spoiler, I did not find a comfortable spot but at least I was in a new and exciting place.
The adventure ended at the same place at six in the morning after an expensive Uber Pool and a horribly long security line. Memories I won't forget anytime soon, and what I learned most on this trip is that place to place, the people and vibe of every area is individual and unique.
The Wave Organ
I arrived at the wave organ later in the morning, around eleven, but unfortunately at low tide. The sound of the water was not yet amplifying through the cement tubes of the framework, only brushing the sides of the rocks. I decided it would be best to sit and wait for the sea level to rise again so that I could hear it for myself, but I didn't want to sit and wait around until three in the afternoon. I did get to hear it very briefly and very quitely as the waves raised up to the lowest pipe before I left. It wasn't very impressive, just amplified "sloshing" and other water noises. Sitting there did immensely relax me, listening to the bay waves and watching them, the movement and sounds of nature. Perhaps that is why some places are so different than others, being void or in the presence of nature.
More water, waves, and sand. Very relaxing sitting on driftwood logs and gazing out across the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge. The water was absolutely freezing, so I decided the most logical thing to do was to stand in it for long enough that I could no longer feel my feet, then make a driftwood castle and bask in its glory. There were dogs running all about the beach and kids playing in the sand. Everyone followed their own schedule, with seemingly no schedule to abide by or place to be, everything just moved at the pace of the waves. It reminds me of the east coast beaches, similar but different, relaxed and sandy but seperated by 4,000 plus miles.
This was probably both the best and worst day of the whole week. Initially I had thought that the ride would be easy or that we would have the bike closer to the bridge. Instead, we biked seven miles to the bridge, one mile across, one mile back, and seven miles all the way back from there. It was a beautifully scenic route with lots of Insta-worthy photo spots, but was it really worth all the pain an suffering of an ill fitting bike seat and sore legs for the rest of the trip? Possibly. It was very colorful and the people we met were some of the nicest people I've met, always a greeting with a smile on their face. Interactions were also another very different thing on the west coast than they were at home, where everyone just minds their own business on the east but on the west coast, conversations are so much easier to have with complete strangers!
Ah, Japan Town. (and also the Japanese Tea Garden) quiet, serene, and full of fun places to explore. Particularly, lots of great food. They had all the different style Japanese delicacies: mochi, udon, beef don, sushi, Kotsu curry. Everything and anything you could think of. There was such a large variety, specially from Asia, which is a wildly different experience than at Pitt, which has very few authentic Asian restaurants, and when they do, they arent quite, "top notch" or really very good. The diversity in San Francisco is so welcoming and open, a very different vibe than Pittsburgh.
Tacos: arguably, Mission District tacos are the best tacos ever. The place that I visited was called La Taqueria and it was packed full of people trying to get their helping of world famous tacos. To be fair, they were pretty delicious, but not the best I've EVER had. This place was run the good old fashioned way, which is essentially just placing an order, then watching everyone scream back and forth at each other until your order pops out in a little brown bag covered in grease. A way I very much enjoyed watching, especially compared to the way Pitt does their food, sadly putting it onn a plate and under a hot lamp for a half hour. The whole culture of the city is so much more vibrant than that of Pittsburgh's.
A place I can be myself in, being Chinese and all. Everyone here made me feel at home, but not like "Pitt dorm room" home, or "medium sized town in eastern PA" home, but more like, "everyone gets me" home. Yet again, the food didn't fail to impress. This was the only place I think that I stopped that the vibe did feel very similar to that of the east coast of nonstop hardwork and always very busy, even if it had not been that way all the time. Everyone selling on the streets was hustling their way to a living, and San Francisco is not a cheap city. Up until now and I hadn't realized how relaxed I had been on my trip, and how stressed the east coast was. Different places, especially coast to coast, were very different in the ways they live their lives.
San Francisco was still finding ways to amaze me by the sixth destination, my friend and I adventured to Twin peaks, the second tallest point in all of San Francisco, and that is saying something because it is hillier in San Francisco than anywhere I have ever been, including Pittsburgh. The view was 360 degrees of the whole city and would have been more fun to hike up if it hadn't been so warm. I am a complete adventure craver, but this hike got to me and I was completely exhausted afterward. The only place in Pittsburgh that I think would have the a similar view would be "Cathy." Really nice views, none of the athleticism, but Twin Peaks was definitely worth it.
The famed sea lions! They were everything I dreamed that they would be, cute and fuzzy, entertaining, but also smelly and loud. All they did was lay on the docks and occasionally fight, screaming and slapping the other seals. The pier itself was bustling with so many people, shopping and spending some relaxing time wandering about. I took time apart from watching the sea lions and shopping to just sit by the side of the pier and watch the water. From my time spent in San Francisco, I think that not only is it very different than the east coast in that its culture was very different in evolving, but also that it is located at the waters edge, and I think that both east and west coasts, the location by water leads to a typically more relaxed feeling.