San Francisco Trip Day 2

Scarlett at her first Diner

When traveling through time zones the first few days are often spent on the home city’s timezone. I ended up spending the entire trip on EST thanks to Scarlett. And that is fine because it made going back to work easy.

Vintage Car at Lori's

As I mentioned yesterday, there were a bunch of diners around our hotel. We spotted Lori’s Diner when we went to get water at Walgreens. It’s a 1950s-style diner with vintage stuff all over the walls and floors. Great breakfast (for a diner) and great staff.

Scarlett and a Wurlitzer Jukebox

We’re young and healthy so we decided to walk up from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf to go see the famous sea lions of Pier 39.  So after breakfast we went up through Chinatown, spotting this restaurant. I don’t know whether to believe its claims. Can anyone from SF substantiate it? Due to scheduling we actually ended up not having any Dim Sum in California. (Especially since they don’t open until 11AM!)

I don't know if I believe them.

Continuing north, we passed through North Beach/Little Italy. Interesting coincidence that both New York and San Francisco’s Little Italy and Chinatown are next to each other? I thought so at the time. But now that I think about it – since Italians were considered a minority back in the day, perhaps it makes sense that both minorities would end up together in the “bad part of town” (at that time)

Little Italy Park and Statue

All over San Francisco I kept seeing these trees that looked like GIANT ginger. What’s up with these trees?

These trees look like giant ginger

Most of the homes we passed were pretty basic, but this one had some pretty awesome windows:

Awesome Windows

Eventually we made our way to the Sea Lions. I’d already looked on the webcams to make sure they were there this time of year. But it was still neat to see them there and hear them barking.

Famous Pier 39 Sea Lions!

scratching an Itch 2

Scarlett really seemed to enjoy the birds and the sea lions. It’s pretty neat how she’s gone from ignoring animals about 4 months ago to being extremely intrigued by animals – especially birds and dogs.

"Hey!"

DIVE!

It was pretty incredible to see how close Alcatraz is to San Francisco. It doesn’t seem all that insurmountable. Seeing it like that really emphasized how strong the currents must be to keep people from escaping via swimming. It always seems so much further in the movies. We didn’t have any desire to visit, especially with Scarlett.  But also because you had to take a boat out there and Danielle didn’t want to get seasick with how choppy the water was that day.

Alcatraz from Pier 39

Scarlett and Dad in Front of Alcatraz (I Hate this Day)

A look at the city from Fisherman’s Wharf and then we explored more of Pier 39.

San Francisco from FIsherman's Wharf

It was pretty empty there as it was still pretty early (all my photos are tagged with EST so I don’t have to remember to reset the clock when I get back home).  It’s always so weird to be in a mega-touristy area before the tourists arrive.  Seems like a ghost town.  It had a lot more people that afternoon and a LOT more people the following day.

An Empty Pier 39

We walked around there and found the docks where all the boats had to move to after the sea lions took over the other dock area.  At first they’d thought it was cute and neat that sea lions had come to chill in their docks.  Eventually it got too crowded; there are around 1000 sea lions during the peak part of the year. So the boats had to move.

Non-Sea Lion Docks

We made note of where to grab some quick grub later and started walking up Taylor. To get to Lombard Street – the Crookedest Street IN THE WORLD!

Places to get a quick seafood bite

On the way there, we passed by where the cable cars are turned around to head back to the other side of the tracks. Danielle wanted to take a photo with Scarlett, but she’d just fallen asleep. We made a note to come back on our way back home to get a photo with her on there. And we continued on towards Lombard.

Danielle by a Cable Car

You probably know that San Francisco is famous for it’s hilly streets, but you don’t truly appreciate what that means until you’re walking back and forth on those hills. There are streets so steep that large vehicles can’t navigate them.

Very Steep Grade

And there are other streets that are so steep that cars are instructed to park perpendicular rather than parallel when street parking. I was constantly afraid of losing my grip on Scarlett’s stroller and sending her to her death.

Cars Street-Parked Perpendicular

High Rising Street 2

Eventually we made it to Lombard Street. It is indeed extremely curvy. The reason for the curves is that early cars couldn’t go up the steep hill. Surprisingly, there are HOUSES (or residences, at any rate) on this street.

Lombard Curves

Curvy!

More Lombard Street 2

We then wound our way back to Fisherman’s Wharf to go to the Museum Mecanique. We decided to have a snack at one of the street vendors. (Many of these are just cheap versions of restaurants that are behind them) We were told the clam chowder was amazing at this place. Whoever told us that apparently eats clam chowder at horrible places because it tasted just OK to me; I’d certainly had better.

Nick's

Sabella & La Torre

Sabella & La Torre Food

Of course, the seagulls there are viscous and used to humans so they’ll come right up to you to try and steal your food.

Seagull trying to eat my food

The museum was pretty awesome. It’s dedicated to arcade machines, pinball machines, and their ancestors.

Musee Mecanique

Old Pinball Machine

In bad taste? Not sure. But perhaps these weren’t originally found in San Francisco.

Earthquake! Movie

Pong Arcade Machine

Opium Den

Wurlitzer didn’t only make Jukeboxes! They also made their ancestors! Player pianos. This one, in fact, appears to have a whole bunch of instruments in it.

Scarlett and a Wurlitzer Piano

After that we took Scarlett for a ride on the two-story carousel.

Scarlett on the Carousel

And walked to our lunch destination – the Japanese place at Pier 39.

Walking to Lunch

Now, I don’t know the cause of what happened next. Perhaps Scarlett had been out too long and was mentally overwhelmed. Perhaps she’d gotten sick from all the hills we went over. But when I went to wash my hands, she lost her cool. Nothing could calm her. Not food, milk, water, carrying, or changing her diaper. Not rocking or being rolled in the stroller. She cried the entire 40 minutes it took us to walk back to our hotel from Fisherman’s Wharf. And what a walk it was.  It seems that I happened to have chosen the street with the highest hills.  I was going at a snail’s pace pushing the stroller and I’m usually a very fast walker.  After we got back anything she ate was immediately thrown up. The on-call nurse from her pediatrician’s office though she might have caught a stomach bug. And that’s possible because she was fine the next morning. (And a stomach bug can be gone as quickly as within 12 hours) We didn’t see Coit Tower because of that or get that photo of her and Danielle at the cable car since we were trying to get back to the hotel ASAP.  Other than that, we’d met our goals of what we wanted to see on our second day.

That, plus the horrible rainy weather of the next day, are why tomorrow’s entry will probably be considerably shorter.

Author: Eric Mesa

To find out a little more about me, see About Me

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