California Musings - Day 6 (July 9)

Friday morning arrived and we all enjoyed a nice breakfast.  Waiting just a bit for any morning traffic, we piled ourselves into the Suburban and headed toward downtown San Francisco. A mere 20 minutes later we found ourselves down at the bay, parking in a public lot just across from Pier 35.  A short walk over and we were at the famous Pier 39.  While Ivan went looking to confirm what tour bus we wanted, the rest of checked out the Only in San Francisco memorabilia shop.  Eli bought an Alcatraz toboggan and Emma bought a fleece jacket.  It was chilly! One more block over and we were at the Open Top Sightseeing tour site. 

After purchasing our tickets we made our way to the top of the bus and waited a few minutes to get started.  It was a fantastic tour.  We went all through San Francisco and saw all of the sites that you see on television - Transamerica Pyramid, City Hall, Golden Gate Park (no, we couldn't see the Klingon Bird of Prey - it was cloaked), the Painted Ladies, Haight Ashbury, and more.  Though chilly, it was wonderful.  Being a hop on / hop off tour, we got off at the south end of the Golden Gate bridge and bought hot chocolate and coffee (Starbucks).  We were surprised to learn that at the bridge it is almost always cloudy and chilly (according to the coffee clerk). Half an hour later we hopped back on the tour and crossed the bridge where we turned around and headed back into town.  A few more sites and we were back at Pier 39. 

By this time we had missed lunch time, so decided to have a quick snack (a loaf of sourdough bread at Boudin's Bakery and Cafe and a drink) and take a short look around.  Then it was back to the Suburban and this time head to Chinatown for dinner.  That was quite the experience!  Miraculously we found a parking spot on the street (of course it was a quarter for every 10 minutes or something like that, we spent something like $3 for an hour) and went looking for a place to eat.  The first place we tried that had been recommended was closed, most places we passed had people standing outside trying to get us to come in. 

Finally we settled on Dick Lee Pastry which had a buffet for a very reasonable price so we could try things out.  Hmmm . . . authentic Chinese food isn't Chinese takeout. Everyone was a good sport and tried lots of different things though, I was very proud of my children.  Afterwards we went to a Chinese shop where my mother-in-law was able to have earrings made to match a necklace she'd been trying to get for a couple of years and my daughter got a fan.  Back to the "tank" we went (Yea - no dents being parked on the street!) and back to the hotel we went.  After watching some television, pool time, and postcard writing we all went to sleep excited to know we still had two more days for San Francisco.

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