San Francisco, May 10, 2017

Yesterday I flew Southwest Airlines to San Francisco via San Diego to meet my friend Jacqueline, coming from Paris.

Note to self: Never fly through San Diego. It’s an antiquated airport, with long lines for the Ladies’ Room. Plus to get from one gate to the next, I had to leave the security area and go back through security. And the flight was late leaving Tucson, so I just barely made it.

Jacqueline’s flight from France worked well, and we met up without problem. I’d already gotten the rental car and put my stuff in it, so all I had to do was collect her and take off.

Getting to the hotel in the heart of San Francisco, near Union Square, was not a problem. Directions from Mapquest plus the GPS on my new iPhone helped a lot.

Today we took a GrayLine Hop on/Hop off tour. The young woman in the office where I thought I had exchanged my voucher for a ticket wasn’t very friendly. A young guy, a friendly employee, walked with us to the Union Square pick-up spot, since it was not near the office. We apparently just missed the bus, because we had a long wait. GrayLine buses are every 30 minutes (or so)…long if it’s cold and windy and you’re waiting to get started. While we were waiting:

A Japanese-influenced heart at Union Square near our Hop on/Hop off bus stop.

A Japanese-influenced heart at Union Square near our Hop on/Hop off bus stop.

The cautions I found online about the open-air doubledecker buses were really true: it was cold and windy upstairs, but we got better photos without glass.

I found a couple of interesting façades:

Interesting building I saw on the tour.

Interesting building I saw on the tour.

I liked the patterns…

One of our stops was near the Golden Gate Bridge:

The Golden Gate Bridge, from the tour bus

The Golden Gate Bridge, from the tour bus

I follow a Murals blog in Tucson, so I’ve started noticing murals more. Here are a few examples that we saw on our tour which I found interesting:

Mural found during our tour.

Mural found during our tour. I follow a Murals blog in Tucson, so I’ve gotten “in tune” with murals. I found this one quite interesting.

A neighboring wall...

A neighboring wall–I think there were some musicians painted underneath. I just found it different.

Yet another mural in San Francisco.

Yet another mural in San Francisco.

Then there was the dome of the City Hall and cultural venues, seen from the doubledecker bus, so only the ornate top shows:

Dome of the City Hall in San Francisco, taken from the bus.

Dome of the City Hall in San Francisco, taken from the bus.

We rode through most of the circle of the tour, till we got to Pier 39. I’d heard about the sea lions, and I wanted to see them.

A couple of sea lions at play at Pier 39

A couple of sea lions at play at Pier 39

A slew of sea lions basking in the sun at Pier 39

A slew of sea lions basking in the sun at Pier 39

Two sea lions at play under a friendly sign at Pier 39

Two sea lions at play under a friendly sign at Pier 39

I also found some GLASS! This was in the Musée Méchanique, free admission but you have to pay to work all the moving games and items in it.

Stained glass window over a player piano in the Musée Méchanique at Pier 39

Stained glass window over a player piano in the Musée Méchanique at Pier 39

The gulls near the food stands at Pier 39 are absolutely bold and unafraid.

The gulls near the food stands at Pier 39 are absolutely bold and unafraid.

The gulls pretty much dive-bombed anyone silly enough to carry food around. This appeared to be mostly Japanese tourists.

Hard Rock Cafes are everywhere, including Pier 39, with this interesting entrance

Hard Rock Cafes are everywhere, including Pier 39, with this interesting entrance

Looking around Pier 39 we saw a lot of chain-type places. Hard Rock Cafe was one, but I don’t recall weeing the guitar entrance before.

Alcatraz, as seen from Pier 39

Alcatraz, as seen from Pier 39

While I was looking at the sea lions, I also found a good view of Alcatraz, the maximum-security prison no longer in use.

We got back on the tour bus at Fisherman’s Wharf after a lunch of pizza for me and fried fish tacos, a first, for Jacqueline. At the end, we headed for Eddie Bauer to see about another jacket (we bought a total of three last year during our trip to New York and Washington, D.C., I never got around to posting). She was out of luck this year — we were out of season. Then it was on to Chinatown.

Dragon Gate, at the entrance of Chinatown

Dragon Gate, at the entrance of Chinatown

Just to the right of the Dragon Gate I found a shop with this lamp in the window:

Glass lilies form a cool lamp in a shop on the edge of Chinatown.

Glass lilies form a cool lamp in a shop on the edge of Chinatown.

Nearby was a shop with several blown glass “flowers” à la Dale Chihuly (or perhaps Chihuly himself, I didn’t ask) in the top window. We found a lot of glass from Murano in Chinatown, including some quite large and heavy pieces:

Glass flowers, à la Dale Chihuly, in a shop window in Chinatown.

Glass flowers, à la Dale Chihuly, in a shop window in Chinatown.

Here’s a shot of a main street in Chinatown, with lanterns strung across the street.

View of Chinatown with its lanterns

View of Chinatown with its lanterns

Our final shopping was back at Union Square. We went into Neiman Marcus, because Jacqueline wasn’t familiar with it. The ship in the ceiling, stained glass, was pretty spectacular:

Stained glass ship in the very high ceiling at the Neiman-Marcus store at Union Square

Stained glass ship in the very high ceiling at the Neiman Marcus store at Union Square

For May 11, it’s on to lunch at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, followed by a night in Healdsburg, heart of the Sonoma Valley wine country.

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2 Comments

  1. It’s only taken –what — 40 years? to get her over to visit me….

  2. Pamela Roberts

     /  May 12, 2017

    Jacqueline’s doing a lot of traveling these days!

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