day 551 | august 16, 2011 | San Francisco

my first time in beautiful san francisco was all the way back in dec 2005, before roo was born. in fact, H and I have a standing argument on whether she was ‘made’ in NY or in SF. i'd like to think she was inspired by the vineyards of napa.

for the final couple of days of my august 2011 trip, i stayed in the heart of downtown at a place called Stratford hotel. it’s near the powell BART and tram stations which make it perfect for accessibility. small clean rooms with ensuite toilets, which are great for passing out after a full day. (more brownie points to the staff who were very helpful in securing me a reasonable way to the airport, when I found out that the BART was down.) right around the hotel are bars and loungey places, and if you walk a couple of streets down, you’ll find Forever 21 and Anthropologie.
walking around the city was comfortable, with only a few awkward moments. SF beggars are
shameless in their signages (“$ for booze” “why lie, just want to get high” “bet you can’t hit me with a
quarter”). the strangest thing for me is that people are actually giving them money. i didn’t take any
photos for fear of antagonizing anyone.
besides the beggars and tourist crowds, there were random performances on the street, musicians playing the piano on the sidewalk, and dancers performing to a curious transient crowd.
from powell, i walked all the way through embarcadero to the wharf where I had a light lunch watching the seals. then waited at pier 41 to board my ferry to sausalito. passed by alcatraz and great sweeping views of the golden gate bridge. plenty of seagulls flying all around us and when i’m not shooting the vista, i’m preoccupied by the birds.
lovely views leaving the wharf, as well as approaching sausalito island's quaint outline.
i can imagine how writers like Isabel Allende and Amy Tan have settled into this idyllic island. found
out later on that DMB and Marley recorded music here too! checked out a few of the quaint boutiques, antique shops and art galleries around the Sausalito pier, then grabbed a leisurely lunch at scoma’s. i wanted to take the slow way so walked all the way to the end of the bay into the inner part of the island before i waved the white flag and hopped on to a bus for some rest.
stopped somewhere near the edge of the golden gate bridge and walked all the way to the san francisco side. whenever a bicycle passed me by, i would sigh in envy. despite the exhaustion though, i felt so empowered when i found myself on the other side of the bridge. that’s one thing off my long bucket list; and it wasn't easy.
took the Muni bus to town and stopped over to walk around chinatown, then took the tram back to the
hotel for a quick rest at bar norcini, mad packing, then run off to the airport to catch my flight. way to spend my final day out. as soon as I boarded the plane, I was out cold.
a snap of hana zen restaurant at union square where H and i had our first meal in SF back in 2005. was pleased to see it was still there. ;)
 ...and no, i didn't go in this place. ;) though i was quite tempted to. maybe next time...
(a post dedicated to peter pan. happy birthday! posting this just a minute before midnight. how can i forget.)

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