Archive for the Chinatown Category

San Francisco revision

Posted in California, Chinatown, San Francisco on June 9, 2007 by lenscapremoved

          I jumped to a conclusion about San Francisco.

           I shouldn’t have judged it by our first day because all I saw was probably one of the worst ends of towns and the touristy end of town. Not always the most flattering parts of a city.

          After rolling out of our hotel at the crack of noon we started walking. With a piece of paper with a few scribbles of directions I got offline we started wondering toward Chinatown, or we thought. We looked at a map on a bus stop for about five minutes and just made up our own route to pursue.

                   What we didn’t’ realize is we weren’t going through the ideal part of Chinatown for tourists. My directions had taken us to the backside of it, where we found to me what was most interesting.

           There weren’t many tourists trap shops or venders trying to get you to look at their dinner specials. Instead we were getting ran over by people carrying bags of their dinner (authentic Chinese food) in bags tied and hung over their shoulders. Protesters handed flyers and newspapers about the persecution of Falun Gong, an ancient Chinese practice for self-improvement of the mind, body and spirit, by the Chinese government.

          Yes I’m aware that Chinatown isn’t like the rest of San Francisco, but it was part of what made the whole experience a great one for me. I loved walking through the crowds looking at the signs completely in Chinese, not being able to tell what a single sign on the venders’ shops meant. The smells were so amazing. Every step brought out another mystery scent.

          After walking through Stockton Tunnel we made a left and found the “real” Chinatown. You know, the one with all the authentic Chinese toys of President Bush and NASCAR replicas. This area was fun too but didn’t stand up to the one a block up the hill.

          Then of course we drove down Lombard. It was everything we expected…curvy. For anyone who has played Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the street in San Feirro called Windy Windy Windy Windy Street, is from that road. If you want to see a Mini Cooper S take it, click here, or the annual big wheel race is here: .

          There’s a lot I didn’t get to do in San Francisco, but now I have a good reason to travel back this way again. I guess you can’t do it all in one trip.

Too little time

Posted in Chinatown, Highway 101, Mary Margaret, San Francisco, Ventura on June 8, 2007 by lenscapremoved

            Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s a nice place but I wouldn’t want to live there”?

            Well on first impression, I think that’s how I feel about San Francisco. As much as I like big cities and love how diverse the people are, my initial reaction is to say, “Eh, don’t think so.” 

            When we first drove in we missed the turn for the 101, so we got down into the real people, not the tourists. That’s the thing I don’t like about staying in Fisherman’s Wharf. Where are the real people? Not here, because everyone here has a disposable camera and a shirt with the Golden Gate on it.

            But when we were driving through what I guess was the real downtown I didn’t feel comfortable at all. I’m not saying I was scared of the homeless people or afraid I was going to get shot. No, none of that stereotypical fear that comes upon good old country boys when they first see the city. I just mean I can’t imagine working somewhere like this. I can’t see myself fitting into this scene very well.

             I’m sure it’s not a typical fear because I’ve been to places like Washington D.C., Madrid, Rome, Miami and tons of others and not gotten this feeling (well OK maybe in Miami). I think it’s just the fact that is seems really congested. I know I’ve only been here for one day, but that’s my first impression. Maybe after today I’ll change my mind.

             Despite knowing I wouldn’t want to live here, I really want to investigate this place but there’s just too much to do for the amount of time we’re going to be here. Dave got to Ventura yesterday so we really need to be moving along to get there either tonight or tomorrow.

             I really want to see Alcatraz, but that takes too long for what we’re looking at. Ed and I really want to see Chinatown, even though Elliott made a face at the idea. I think it would be cool to see the Golden Gate parks, Lombard Street and maybe just for the heck of it, swing by Castro District.

            Last night we spent our time hanging out in Fisherman’s Wharf, looking at sea lions and other tourists. The three of us look like such stereotypical tourists it’s pathetic. Three huge cameras around our necks that everyone probably thinks we can’t use. A host for a restaurant asked us to look at the dinner special. When we just kept going he said, “Hey, why don’t we all get the same camera and walk around together?” Here is where we laughed and made camera jokes about how we all had different cameras and lenses and probably seemed like even bigger nerds.

            So as my time will surely be cut short here, I guess that just means I need to start planning my next trip here. Mary Margaret tells me her aunt lives here on Jones Street. I joked and said we’ll make a road trip next summer and just stay with her. She said, “No that would be cool.” She said  Brian and Courtney (brother and fiancé) flew out and stayed with her.

             I might just hold her to that.