© 2011 jemma

Tina’s Here!!

After Tina arrived we set off on many new and old adventures.

On the first day, Tina and I walked around down town San Fran looking in the shops and up into Chinatown. When Jess had finished work we all went on an open top bus tour of most of the San Fran area.

To get on a tour bus you need to follow the following instructions.
1. Go to Union Square.
2. Talk to one of the various tour bus people.
3. Remember you CAN NOT ask the price. They will be arrested by the cop standing behind you. No soliciting!! However he will openly explain to you how to get (for himself not us) cheap weed near said cop…Go figure.
4. When bus arrives, hop on and ask for the price and when too expensive hop off and repeat the process till you find an agreeable one.

We finally found a great tour that took us through down town, past fisherman’s wharf, to the Golden gate bridge and around the Presideo and Golden Gate Park. Having never been in an open top bus, it was thoroughly enjoyable and a great way to settle in.

The next two days were riding days. Bike riding that is. We rode EVERYWHERE!
On the first day we rode down to check out the ferry markets,then up to Castro and then up the wiggly road to Haight-Ashbury. Still is/was a big hippy hangout where you can see Hendrix’s old house and the recording studios and houses of other artists of the time including Janis Joplin. We had cocktails and cheese (very sophisticated for the area) and moved onto eating lunch in Golden Gate park by the Flower Conservatory. I made REAL daisy chains for Tina and I to wear and I even had a young fellow come and ask me how to make them.

Then it was onto and up the de Young Museums viewing platform – very cool – and then past the giant windmill to see the sea. It was pretty spectacular to move from a forested path to the open expanse of the Pacific. As we rode along the path we saw a teenage girl being arrested and a cop holding a very large handgun and taking out what Jess said were ‘hollow point bullets’. So much for family fun on the beach…only in America.

We rode back to the hotel via the Painted Ladies and then up and Up and UP all the hills in order to ride our bikes down the Crooked Street. All I could think of the entire time was that I could smell my brakes. It was fun dodging cars though.

The next day we rode over the Golden Gate bridge with the millions of people walking/riding across – bike riding side inconveniently closed on July 4th weekend – so it was more like walk riding. We rode to Sausalito which was soooooo hot! The line for the ferry back was very very very VERY long, so we kept riding an hour and a half more to Tiburon. The line here was just as long, but we weren’t riding the 26 km back.

After waiting 5 hours in what would have been a beautiful place otherwise, we finally got on a ferry and put our bikes back at 10pm finally eating dinner with our new friend Parminder. Fun Fun!!! Despite my anger over the amount of people and lack of services, the ride was really good, very pretty and took you along the water and some beautiful real estate. If done not on a July long weekend it would be much much better 🙂

Monday was July 4th and the population more than tripled I think, and the amount of crazy people doubled. We headed out to Fisherman’s wharf where all the action was taking place, via Coit tower and the Greenwich Stairs. It was crowded! There were bands all over the place and market stalls. We walked around and checked everything out, then sat on the stairs in the sun and enjoyed listening to music. Tina then found out where the Lane was for the famous San Francisco book Tales of the city and so we walked up lots of hills to get to it. Very nice, leafy and peaceful.

We set off a couple of the firecrackers we had bought in Chinatown in a little park – disappointingly small ones – and walked back to the hotel to rug up for the evenings main event, the fireworks. We were going to catch a tram back to fisherman’s wharf, but they were all full. Luckily for us a limo came past offering us a cheap ride down. Naturally after investigating whether we would have our kidneys at the end of the journey, we took his offer and rode in style with some other people.

The fireworks were packed and the atmosphere was very patriotic. Even the music was patriotic with all songs referring to the USA and the fireworks were red white and blue. I felt proud to be an Australian!!

The next few days before we left went by pretty quickly. Tina and I would wander around in the mornings going to old Beat hangouts in North beach and then wander back to eat lunch with Jess. We checked out the Prisideo and went to see the Yoda fountain at the Industrial light and magic complex, and the Darth Vader and Boba Fett costumes in the Lucas Film offices as well as other paraphernalia. Jess was a kid in a candy shop. We even went to see Tales of the City the Musical which was excellent and Tina bought me the book to read.

On another day we caught the trolley down to Castro to go to the Mission Deloras. There are over 20 missions in California and I have now – as I write this – been to three. They date back to when California was under Spanish and Mexican control and are pretty magnificent buildings for their age. This one had been visited by the Pope and has a Basilica attached to the old mission. Very beautiful.

Our last day in San Fran was spent searching for and finding the beautiful Filbert steps and then getting our hire car ready for the next part of our Californian adventure, a road trip down the Number 1 hwy to LA, via Yosemite and Sonoma (wine country). Can’t wait!!!!