"To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted." -- Bill Bryson

Thursday, October 14, 2010

San Francisco: Day 1, Part 1

At 6am sharp Sarah and John pick me up. It's still dark & sooo cold (ok not that cold) outside. Because it's so early, it only takes 15 minutes to get to Bergstrom [airport]. We arrive to find the longest security line I've ever seen. Luckily, having a travel buddy really helps. We go through security without mishap (well...we almost thought Sarah managed to lose her laptop charger in security until we realized it was under my purse). We pick up a couple breakfast tacos at Maudie's and make ourselves comfy in those delightful airport chairs. Interesting fact about the Austin airport: they only have local Austin restaurants, stores and cafes. I guess even the airport wants to "Keep Austin Weird."

The flight turns out to be one of the best flights ever (except for the loudest snoring man of all time). JetBlue has cable TV and satellite radio. Sarah and I watch 10 Things I Hate About You and some America's Next Top Model. We also have an empty seat next to us so we have plenty of room to stretch out and relax. AND one of the flight attendants looks exactly like Jason Bateman. I'm not sure that he isn't Jason Bateman in disguise. The view from the plane isn't too shabby either.

We arrive in San Francisco about 15 minutes early and have the smoothest landing ever. I'm thinking about switching to team JetBlue...that's how impressed I was. We grab our bags from baggage claim and head towards the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Oddly enough, as we ride an escalator up a floor, we pass Abby, an acquaintance that we both know from Austin, on the down escalator. Small world! We converse as much as we can on moving escalators before waving goodbye. We find the BART, buy our tickets, and listen to Tony Bennett's "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" while waiting. Isn't modern technology marvelous? Share what we were hearing:

The BART trip is also uneventful. I must say though, the city of San Francisco made a poor decision when they chose to put cloth seats and carpet on public transportation. Sarah describes them as looking 'like the 70s.' It's a fairly quick and straight shot though to The Embarcadero, the stop Rachel told us to get off at.

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Rachel works in the general vicinity of all the piers along The Embarcadero so our plan is to drop off our bags at her office...problem is she's got to do a volunteer event that doesn't end until after lunch. Sarah and I thus get the added adventure of dragging our luggage through the city until that time. Luckily, we both have rolling luggage! We hop off the BART and assess our situation at a nearby map. A poor older man asks us directions, to which we answer 'we're just as lost as you.' The three of us ponder San Francisco together before going our separate ways. I sure hope he found where he was going! Sarah and I decide to head towards Chinatown for some food. Last year Sarah and her sister did a road trip through SanFran and had really great sushi at some place in Chinatown. Thanks to Sarah's great sense of direction we find Chinatown very easily.

After a few blocks, we stumble upon the sushi place. Now, I know that sushi is actually Japanese, but this place has the sushi floating by on boats and you just grab whatever you want off of them. How could I resist such a marvelous place??

See the boats? Amazing!

The food is good and fresh (we can watch the sushi lady as she rolls them) and we're the only people in the place so we get our choice of everything floating by. It's a marvelous beginning to our trip.

We head out from Chinatown towards the piers for more adventures. But now I must leave you until later.

Friday, October 8, 2010

San Francisco from a Bird's Eye View

So it's our first morning waking up in San Francisco. Rachel is getting ready for work, her friend Robin is up and about and Sarah has gone back to bed. In SanFran time it's only 8:45am, which is an hour I try not to see in my real life but I suppose in my head it's almost 11am. Anyways, I'm sitting at Rachel's desk which is against her huge bay windows in her room so I'm just peering down at the passers-by and enjoy the fresh chilly air that's coming in. My only want right now is a cup of coffee! While sitting here I have decided upon a plan to fill you in on the San Francisco experience. I was going to try and keep you updated day to day but I realized then that none of my blogs would have pictures to back up the stories. Since I have no way to get my pictures on someone else's laptop, I'd rather wait and do a backlog. But I will write every detail in my journal so I don't forget a thing! I will tell you our plans for today and give you the official list of things that Sarah and I MUST DO before leaving.

Today we're going hiking somewhere called Muir Woods for a bit before having lunch and then heading off to NAPA VALLEY! While it will be nice to see the Redwoods again while hiking, I am just way more excited about going to Napa. The Redwoods are beautiful, but I've seen them. I've also seen Napa...but I was somewhere around 13 at the time so I didn't care. Seeing as how I work with wine now, it will be a lot more special this time around.

Here are the things we MUST DO:
Me: drink Irish Coffee, eat really good oysters, and go to the Ghirardelli factory/museum
Sarah: walk/ride bikes across the Golden Gate bridge.

I think we can handle all of those things! I'll let you know if we do.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

SanFran Locale

Our other base of operations will be Sarah's friend Hol's place. He lives in Oakland somewhere abouts here:

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Not sure how we'll transport ourselves from place to place. I believe Rachel lives close to the Bart though, so mass transport will probably be the easiest. We'll see! I'm getting excited.