San Francisco, 27-Oct

Melody is going to an early November conference in San Francisco, so we decided to take some time beforehand to travel around the City by the Bay. We've been here several times before (and I lived in the Bay Area in the 80's) but the last time we didn't spend much time in SF but went up to Mendocino; the time before we went south to San Simeon (and Hearst Castle). This time we're going to all places that we can get to by train, ferry, bus, cable car, or foot. Our flight down was uneventful, but it was noticeably shorter than our usual trip to the Los Angeles area. Upon arriving at SFO, I was struck by how different it looked than what I remembered from before. We went to get Clipper cards (like our Orca cards, you can have passes and value for multiple transit agencies) and the baggage claim area looked just like I remembered from before, so I guess that part didn't need refreshing.

Making it to the hostel was uneventful, as was checking in and settling into our room (which included making sure our devices could connect to WiFi). We got a private room with a sink, and the showers and toilets are down the hall (right next door, actually). One interesting thing about the toilet is the lid on the tank has a miniature sink built into it; when you flush, water runs into a small bowl so you can wash your hands. It works surprisingly well, but I can see it being a problem in Seattle during the winter, when the water is very cold.

 Chinatown gateway

Chinatown gateway

Since by this time it was only mid-afternoon, we did a walking tour through Chinatown. Starting at the Gateway at Grant and Bush, we meandered back and forth, seeing monuments, temples, painted balconies, and many street vendors (souvenirs on Grant, food on Stockton). We settled on one place (with the help of Yelp) and had chow mein, broccoli chicken, and siu mai, spending $5 for the two of us.

Having a yearning for dessert, we made our way down to the basement of the Westfield Mall on Market and got gelato. Since it was right there, we picked up some groceries at Bristol Farms before heading back to our room for the night.