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Thursday, May 28, 2009

San Francisco

San Francisco

Thursday May 28th Wake at 3:30am. Get in the car to drive to the Ottawa airport. The check battery light comes on. Not good. Flights booked with expedia.ca, $437.34 (all prices CAD) for one person round trip (Amanda's flights were free). Depart at 6am, but checkin/security/customs aren't even open at 4am, so 2hr guidance is bogus. NWA-2874 from YOW to DTW, 1hr 43min. NWA-343 from DTW to SFO, 5hr 12min. Arrive at SFO. Take the AirTrain to the BART. Take the BART to the Montgomery St. Station at 598 Market St. There's only one train that leaves the airport, so it's dead easy. You have to buy a paper card from a vending machine before you can enter the BART area. Fare one way is $5.60, cards are non-refundable. Walk to Hotel des Arts at 447 Bush Street. Booked with expedia.ca $429.05, Vinyl Killers, Rm 406, Painted Deluxe Queen, 3 nights. The hotel is totally awesome. Walk to Saint Marys Square and have a snack (from by backpack). Walk to Portsmouth Square and finish the snack. Walk to Redwood Park at the Pyramid tower. Walk to Telegraph Hill / Coit Tower and up Filbert / Greenwich steps. There are socialist art deco murals in the tower. I like them very much. The steepness reminds me of Scotland. The city is awesome but windy and chilly so I have to wear my jacket. It's a lot like Scotland actually. Wander around and discover Jack Early Park. See a giant boat "Italia" bringing shipping containers into the harbour. Walk to the aquarium. It is very awesome. Walk around on the peer and see a busker juggle knives while wearing heavy gloves that are on fire. Walk to Cinecitta and have Fungi Pizza and Beer. Introduce myself to a cool guy named Brad who is also alone. He's in town doing training. Had many drinks with him. Walk to hotel well past dark, drunk. Unpack (the room wasn't ready earlier so I just checked my luggage). I am very happy. Wait for Amanda. Watch TV about Hitler. She arrives. Fall asleep. 3am Advil Gelcaps.

Friday May 29th Fun morning. Breakfast in bed. Good shower. Walk through the parks again. Have pain aux chocolate at the Brioche Bakery. This place is great. Walk around and stop at the Jack Kerouak Museum, but just enter the shop. Walk up the zig-zag road to the top of Russian Hill. It's beautiful. Walk to the beach and sit for a bit. Walk along the water, then into town. Try to eat somewhere but it's too noisy. Eat at Noodle Theory instead. This place is great. Then share a Chocolate Velvet Cupcake from Kara's Cupcakes across the street. Delicious but is four dollars. Buy Lucky jeans. Walk through the faux roman ruins. These are amazing. Walk to the beach. Great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. But it is very cold and windy. Walk back into town and get on a zero emission electric bus (they take cash and coins, you don't need a ticket). Crazy guy gets on the bus and won't pay. There's almost a fight. Another passenger ends up paying for him. Back at the hotel, call some number and get tickets for Wicked. Nap then cab to pickup the tickets from some guys house. They are ticket master tickets purchased months ago for a much lower price. He must be a professional scalper. Cab to the show at the Orpheum Theatre. It's great. Cab back to the hotel, have snacks, watch part of Crocodile Dundee. Sleep.

Saturday May 30th Wake. Breakfast at the hotel. Walk towards City Hall. Pass through shopping district. Suddenly we're in a bad part of town. Lots of street people. Right away a guy notices we don't belong and asks where we're from. I see the guy in front of me fiddle with something in his pocket. It looks like a knife. Nothing bad happens. City Hall isn't interesting. Get on Bus #5. Lots of colourful people. Get off at the park, near 8th street. Buy coffee and a cookie at a corner shop. Walk to the Academy of Science. It's amazing. You get a few dollars of the entrance fee for showing your bus transfer. They have great exhibits: many aquariums, a living roof, stuffed animals, an albino alligator. Eventually it's our turn to enter the planetarium. Great show. See more of the museum. It's getting late, so head back on the #5. Meet some gregarious Ozzies on the bus. Stop at Union Square for tickets, then walk and shop with a long stop at H&M. Dinner at Bangkok Best Thai Restaurant. Back to the hotel. Nap and watch House. Walk to Mr. Marmalade. Concessions for sale. Two paper cups of red wine and share a chocolate chip cookie. The play is as promised dark and twisted. Quite good. Walk back to the hotel. Lovely night. Stop at the Irish Bank for nachos and Guinness. I'm very happy. Sleep.

Sunday May 31st Wake late. Breakfast in bed. Lazy morning. Shower, etc. Shop Shop Shop: Macy's Levi's Camper. Buy orange T-Shirt at Sisily. Great dumplings but bad main at Far East Cafe (don't go here). More shopping. Buy Amanda a bracelet. Back to the hotel. Amanda naps. I walk around the financial district and out to the old ferry building. It's a beautiful day -- the warmest yet. Back to the hotel. Jamba Juice. Walk the the MOMA and get tickets. Explore the adjacent park before entering. Very amazing park. SF-MOMA is great. Very tired now. But still time for Amanda to paw over some shoes before the shop closes. Search aimlessly for dinner. Finally success at Maru Shusi. This is excellent. I'm happy again. Stop at Wallgreens then back to the hotel. Watch part of Lethal Weapon 3 before sleep.

Monday June 1st Wake. Amanda is in a rush to catch her cab. Pack. Walk to the BART and fly home. AC-5390 (via UNITED, charges extra per checked luggage) SFO to ORD, 4hr 14min. AC-4106 (via UNITED) 1hr 55min. The transfer was very tight. I arrived at the plane 7 min before take off. Oh no! Amanda sent her passport home with me. Tricky situation.

Cost

Park'n Fly, Flights (one person), Checked Luggage, BART, Bus: ~$545
Hotel: ~$430
Meals, Drinks, Snacks: ~$330
Aquarium (one person), Wicked, Academy of Sciences, Mr. Marmalade, SFMOMA: ~$370
Total (not including shopping): ~$1,675 = ~$400/day