Everett, WA So who wants to hear about our trip to San Francisco?

Discussion in 'Pacific Regional Discussion' started by Cliodna_ben_Lhee, Jul 6, 2006.

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  1. Cliodna_ben_Lhee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2003
    star 4
    Day 1 started out with a minor catastrophe

    After we got to the airport for our departing flight, I decided to find an ATM machine to take out some cash in case I needed more than I had on me to pay for ground transportation from the airport in San Francisco to our hotel once we arrived. When I looked in my wallet, my debit/credit card was not there!! I about had a heart attack! I only had about 13 dollars cash on me and I had planned to use my debit card to pay for everything while we were there! I knew I had left my card back home in my other wallet, so I was not worried it was lost or stolen, but still, We had no money for our trip and no way to pay for anything.

    I started thinking of ways to remedy the situation. I went to the customer service desk for our airline and asked if there were a bank inside the terminal that I could write a check at so I would not have to leave the airport to go to a bank. But there were none. My bank happened to be very close to the airport but I worried that if we left, we would not be able to get there and back and get through security again in time to catch our flight, which was leaving in an hour.

    Well, the clerk was very helpful and booked us on the next flight out (which left two hours after our original flight) and we went and caught a cab to take us to our bank where I withdrew all the money I had budgeted for the trip while the cabby waited, and then we returned to the airport. That took us about 25 minutes. We got through security again fairly quickly and as we approached the gate where our original flight was leaving, they were just doing the final boarding. But we could not use our original boarding passes to catch it. Damn! So we sat around the terminal for another two hours waiting for our flight into San Francisco, but at least we were still getting to go and arrive on the same day.
    But our luggage was to arrive two hours ahead of us, as it had been loaded onto our original flight.

    When we arrived in SF, we went straight to the Alaska Air office since I knew they?d have taken it off the carousel by then. Sure enough, our luggage was there in the office. But one of my pieces of luggage did not look quite the same. It was all smushed in on the top and the sides had split open, revealing my dainties that lay inside!!!!!!!
    The man in the office made a joke about it having been sat on by a gorilla.

    I did not laugh.

    They told me I could buy an equivalent piece of luggage and would be reimbursed for it.

    After that, we walked outside and looked for ground transport to our hotel. We had no problem finding a shared van waiting for people to ferry to their destinations, there was one waiting right by the sign for shared ride vans. There were already people in there, so my Daughter and I took a seat in the only available spots left. As the driver began to pull away, I discovered I had no seat belt and there was a spring from the seat sticking into my ass. I scooched my large posterior over as far away from the spring as I could while the driver raced down the freeway at top speed and the van bounced along like a stagecoach on a bumpy dirt road- for the shocks were obviously non existent on the vehicle in which I had so unwisely entrusted the lives of my self and my daughter.

    We reached our hotel safely, albeit late(after having to insist to the driver that it existed, for he said there was no travel lodge across from the Presidio- until I showed him my printed copy of the email confirmation from the hotel with their name and address on it).
    After we checked in we freshened up and changed out of our clothes rumpled from the flight and the bumpy ride to the hotel.
    I looked in my destroyed piece of luggage to see if anything was missing and it appeared at the time that there wasn?t (more on that later) and then we went to look for a restaurant near the hotel to eat, as we were both famished!

    I told my daughter to pick the place so she would be happy with our choice. It did not take long to find a place that looked good; we walked along Chestnut, which is
  2. RebelMom Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2000
    star 6
    Nothing like starting out a trip with a little excitement. I hope Day 2 was a little less frantic.
  3. Cliodna_ben_Lhee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2003
    star 4
    A few pics
    B having dinner in a café on Chestnut Street in San Francisco

    Me across the table

    The tiny tiny theater
    There are only two seats on the other side of B

    Here is a pic I took from the back row

  4. Cliodna_ben_Lhee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2003
    star 4
    Day 2 (part I)

    The morning started out slowly. Despite our early bedtime, it was nigh impossible to shake my daughter out of her sound sleep. So I made a pot of coffee (isn?t it great how most hotels now put coffee maker and complimentary coffee in the rooms now so you can have a cup of fresh brewed while still in your jammies?) and started watching the Telly. I flipped channels until I fell on what looked to be the movie ?Must Love Dogs? I?d ever seen the flick but I knew who was in it and the premise of the film. It looked to be about 20 minutes in so I decided to watch it anyway. I got things ready for a shower in the meantime and tried a few times to gently wake up my preteen daughter.

    I managed to get her to open her eyes and look at me so, with the movie still going I hopped into the shower. After I was done and getting dressed, I talked with my daughter to bring her to full wakefulness and we decided to watch the movie to the end while she dressed before leaving our hotel room to start our day.

    First stop, the Walgreen down the street from our hotel to get some much needed ?sanitary? supplies and then the washroom. After that, we went to the bus stop which I had learned from the hotel clerk the previous day a bus would come to that would take us to Chinatown.

    The ride to Chinatown was interesting; the bus became more and more packed the closer we got to our destination. I wanted to ride all the way to the opposite end of Chinatown, where I knew from my map the official Chinatown gate was located. Luckily, as we approached our stop, the bus began to empty so we would be able to squeeze through the throngs to get out.

    After getting off our stop, we made our way over to the next street where the gate should be, turned the corner, and lo and behold, there it was


    As we made our way up towards it, I took a few more snaps



    After going through the gates, we tried to look at the wares in the shop lining the streets, but hunger was gnawing at our bellies, so we searched for a restaurant to have lunch at instead. We found a very Chinese looking place and went inside. My daughter, for some reason, thought it would be fun to take a picture of her empty plate:


    And of me drinking tea


    We ordered the Barbeque pork appetizer and the broccoli chicken with steamed rice as our main entrée. I wanted something a little spicier, but as we were sharing a dish, I had to bow to my daughters delicate taste buds

    While we waited I took a couple of snaps of my daughter


    And some lanterns hanging from the ceiling that I thought were cool


    The food was tasty and satisfying and after we ate we went back out into the street to do a bit of shopping




    We walked up towards the end of Chinatown, popping in and out of shops that looked interesting, buying a few things here and there. I saw some things I would really have liked to have (some cool Buddha statues, tea sets and recreations of the Chinese soldier statues found in recently unearthed archeological digs), but since we would not be going back to our hotel until after the fi
  5. RebelMom Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2000
    star 6
    Chinatown is always a great place to visit.
  6. Cliodna_ben_Lhee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2003
    star 4
    Day 2, PART II (so sorry this is taking me so long to relate to you all, I am just lazy since I got back from my last trip, mental exhaustion I guess)

    We walked to a nearby Walgreen?s to pick up bandaids for the blister that was forming, inexplicably, on my little toe (the one that went wee-weee-weee all the way home). Then I asked about a restroom so I could go put one on my mysteriously injured digit. We were told to go out and take a left out of the store, then another left into the alley behind some fast food place whose name escapes me know. So we did, and there is no bathroom to be found, so we decide to walk around the block and look for another alley. No bathrooms to be found all the way around the block. As we head back to the Walgreen?s to find out where our directions were misheard I see a sign pointing to the bathrooms! Eureka!!! As I reach the door to the privy, I see the signs saying one must have a token to get in, and said token can only be gotten from one of the retailers in the little shopping mall thingy we are in. The first retailer whose door I reach has a sign that says one must make a purchase to get a token. A very harsh and crude expression crosses my mind **** that ****?. I decide to grit my teeth and bear the pain until we arrive somewhere that they don?t try and shake you down just so you can pee.

    Mincingly I begin to walk on toward the first place I wanted to go, my daughter following behind me.

    Having forgotten my debit card at home, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the ticket window where I was supposed to pick up our tickets for the fireworks boat ride that I had purchased online weeks earlier well ahead of time in case of problems (most places require that you have the card you used to purchase tickets with you when you pick them up) sure enough, I was asked for the card but when I explained my situation to the gal in the booth, she accepted my drivers license and produced our tickets to us.

    With that out of the way, we walked ahead to pier 39 and went to the ticket booth for the Aquarium under the bay. Then we went inside. I snapped this pic of some fish in a tank
    And then we looked for the elevator to get to the tunnel under the bay. There was quite a line for the elevator to the lower level where the tunnel under the bay was located. It turned out that one of the elevators was out of order. After. a bit we finally got to go down to the lower levels
    I tried to take some pics but they did not turn out because the flash reflecting off the glass. It was pretty cool down there. We got to see sharks ands rays and starfish and all kinds of sea creatures swimming over our heads as we walked thru the tunnel.

    After the tunnel, we got back on the elevator and went up a level where we got to go through a room with shallow pools with various creatures in it that we could touch. I could not persuade my daughter to touch any of them, not even for money!!!! I touched some rays and starfish, but there were too many others around the tank holding the sharks (tiny species of shark that are probably not dangerous at all) and I am an impatient sort and not wanting to hang about waiting for my turn, I took my daughter into the gift shop to pick up a couple souvenirs.

    After the Aquarium, we went for a bite to eat at the Hard Rock Café. If I had had my way, we would have gone to dine at one of the many fine seafood paces at the pier with views of the bay, but B wanted to go to the HRC. The meal was unremarkable, but I enjoyed telling B about the different artists whose memorabilia covered the walls around us.

    She actually took time to text message with a friend

    And then tried to hide behind her phone

    After our meal, we decided to walk around for awhile before it was time to go get on the boat for the Fireworks show

  7. Cliodna_ben_Lhee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2003
    star 4
    Our Last Day

    So here it is our last day. I want B to wake up so we don?t waste it, but like most preteens, she?s hard to wake. So I hop in the shower and hope she?ll be awake when I get out. She is. And she?s nearly packed. So I wait for her to get ready as I finish packing the last of my things too. Then we check out of the hotel, and ask the clerk if we can leave our bags in the room next to the front office since we had to check out by 11 and we won?t be leaving for the airport until 3. No problem.

    The first thing I want to do is go check out the grounds of the Lucas Digital Arts Center on the grounds of the Presidio. The gate is just a half block from our hotel so off we go!


    The first thing we looked for was the Yoda Fountain we had heard about.


    And then we went looking for the Café. I took a few snaps along the path as we walked





    Then we found the Café. I was hoping it had more substantial fare than it did. They only served fruit, muffins, overpriced sandwiches and various beverages and coffee. We decided to wait until after our next destination to go have a real meal, and I ordered an iced mocha and a muffin, while B, who had been complaining a bit about not feeling well, had a container of mixed fruit and an iced mocha. We started out eating out on the patio, but then a chilly wind picked up and we moved inside.

    We sat at a table next to a group of Lucas employees. We could not help but overhear their conversation as we were only a foot away. They were talking about a video game they were designing and used a lot of techie speak and acronyms that I didn?t understand, but I remember thinking that my son would fit in right along with them.

    After we ate, we walked through the grounds some more towards our next destination, you can see it in some of the last pics I posted up there ^ and in some of the following. It is the grand dome shaped building in the distance. We were headed towards the Palace of Fine arts building, which the Exploratorium (a hands on science museum) was connected to. We were there on the first Wednesday of the month (July 5th) and that is a free day for many of the museums and attractions on San Francisco, including the Exploratorium.
    I snapped a few more pics of the grounds as we walked











    When we arrived at the Exploratorium, there was quite a line to get in, after all, it was free. We decided to wait in it anyway and after about 15 minutes we were inside. The place was crowded. And we weren?t able to interact with most of the exhibits due to the large number of pushy little boys inside. (You
  8. AmmersVI Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2005
    star 4
    I love those last few pictures. It looks so tranquil!
  9. Cliodna_ben_Lhee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2003
    star 4
    Amy, it really was tranquil, I only wished we?d had more time and had thought about having a picnic there. There were a few grassy areas we could have laid out a blanket and had our lunch on and then just laid back and watched the clouds float on by over head

    Well here is the last bit on our trip


    I took the next three through a chain link fence they had erected to keep people out as they did some landscape improvements


    And then I zoomed in on this one

    That was the last pic I took while we were there, but it certainly was not the end of our day, not by a long shot (more on that in a bit)

    We had to walk a few blocks before we arrived at the area on Chestnut where we knew there were restaurants. We squabbled a bit on where to eat but we finally decided on a cute little bistro where they served pan Asian fusion type fare. By now it was after lunch time, so there were few patrons in the bistro with us. Our waiter was friendly, but the service was slow, but we were in no hurry because all we planned to do between lunch and meeting our shuttle to the airport was to meander about to take a last look around at the part of SF we were in.

    The food was pretty good, I had a something that was supposed to be a chicken curry in noodles, but it was not spicy at all, it was good though, they used a lot of cilantro in the dish (I love cilantro) giving it a fresh flavor. B had a spinach and cheese ravioli that she enjoyed so much she wished the portions had been larger (they were on the small side, but within the guidelines for normal portion sizes)

    After our meal, we meandered as I had described above, just looking about as we made our way slowly back to our hotel to retrieve our luggage and meet the shuttle that was to take us back to the airport. We arrived 15 minutes before our scheduled time of 3 pm, so we waited on the porch in front of the lobby in two lawn chairs. Our shuttle arrived at 3:03. We were the first passengers to be picked up (probably because we were furthest away from the airport) so we engaged each other in conversation and looked out the windows at the sights as our driver picked up a few more passengers along the way. We made it to the airport at about 4:14 and our flight was scheduled to depart at 5:48. We made it through security quickly and we got to our gate with plenty of time to spare.
    As I passed the monitor showing flight information, it showed our flight to be on time. But as I sat silently looking out the window I overheard someone on their cell phone telling the person at the other end that they were going to be arriving late because their flight had been delayed. I figured it must be someone who was sitting in our area who was actually on a different flight and I went back to my silent musing.

    After awhile, I needed to use the washroom, so I told my daughter to stay put and I left to take care of business, this was about 15 minutes before our flight was due to leave. As I walked by I looked at the monitor and our flight time had changed! It now said 6:20pm!!!
    WHaaaaa?!?!?! I had not heard any sort of announcement (but the way those gate attendants announce their info right over each other AND/OR speak as unintelligibly as a man with a mouth full of food and a few shots of Novocain in their lip, it doesn?t mean they hadn?t announced it, it just meant that no one could have deciphered what was being said when they did so.

    I called the shuttle service that was supposed to take us from the airport to our house and they said it would not be a problem.

    Anyhow, 6:20 came and went and they did get on the comm and say the flight was going to be delayed even further. Two
  10. RebelMom Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2000
    star 6
    You certainly had an eventful trip. I'm glad you had a good time. There is never enough time for any vacation to see everything.
  11. AmmersVI Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2005
    star 4
    ^ that's the truth! Time flies when you're having fun or on vacation. But it looks like you both had a great trip!
  12. bobafett25 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 1998
    star 1
    Glad you had a great trip. I was actually there for a couple of days last week.

    I grew up in SF, so if anybody needs a 'tour guide' let me know. :)

    BTW, the Palace of Fine Arts is one of the most serene places in SF.
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