This was a mail I wrote to my aunt while I was in the US. It was the first time I was in the US, and that too on my own, and my aunt had complained that I wasn’t writing in and updating her about what I was up to. So finally, to appease her, I decided to send her a mail about one of my weekends.
Thought i’ll be good and write you a little mail – a little mail about my weekend.
i had a great weekend. Went out and saw a lot of things. Remember the DIY San Francisco trip I was talking to you about? Well, i achieved that and it was really ossum! i think it was one of the most satisfying and happy days of my adult life.
so anyway, on to the weekend activities themselves.
i’ve told you S’s friend P is here in Sunnyvale, and is acting as my chaperone for my three week stay here. He was supposed to come and pick me up on saturday morning. we were supposed to go to the monterey bay aquarium which is about 70 miles from my hotel and also explore the area around it. so i woke up like a good girl at 8 am and got ready by 9. He came to pick me up at 10.20 am.
We first went to Pebble Beach and on the 17 mile drive. It was quite scenic…along the coast, but the coast is kinda up and down, so it was a good combination. i’ve taken a bunch of pictures, will show them to you. The only thing i didn’t like was that when we went to the beach, it was smelly. i think it was all those sea weeds that were on the shore and probably rotting. :S It was Not pleasant, but after a point we either got used to it or it was gone. Either way, we didn’t particularly miss it, so all was good again. By the time we finished with the 17 mile drive, it was lunch time. So we went into (i think) the city and got some lunch at this place called Carrows. It was good, but, as always, the portions were too big. i don’t know what it is with Americans, but their portions are HUGE! We plodded and plodded and finally somehow finished it. P ordered a strawberry milkshake, which we ended up splitting, and I’m telling you, it was the yummiest strawberry milkshake I’ve ever had. *sigh*
Anyway, it turned out that the restaurant was only about 300m from the aquarium. So, after lunch, we went there. The aquarium is awesome! And quite the BIG! Sadly, i don’t think my pictures have come out very well cuz there wasn’t enough light…and well…cuz i don’t know how best to take pictures with my camera in that light…Anyway, i’ll show the pictures to you and you can imagine the rest and then decide how awesome the aquarium was.
By the time we finished with the aquarium, it was nearly 5:30pm, so we headed back. By 8, i was back in my hotel. The next day had to begin nice and early. The plan was to take the bus at 8 am. So, all things considered, i had to be awake by 6 – 6:30am.
However, in spite of wake up calls and multiple alarms, i woke up only at 5 mins to 7. After a mad scramble, cuz I’m much slower than that in the morning, i was able to make it to the bus stop in time for the bus. The bus took me to a train station. i took the train (Caltrain) to San Francisco. That took about 1.5 hours although it is actually only about 50 odd miles away i think. I took the 9 am train, so i was there by about 10:30-40. After that, i started walking. i’d done my research the night before and already knew the places i wanted to see. i also had the distances and directions all noted down. Aaand i was armed with a map. 😀 AAaaand since I was wearing shoes, I was all prepared for the walk.
First, i walked to Union Square. It was not as big as i expected it to be. i mean when you hear “Union Square,” you imagine this big space with a fountain in the middle, a few statues, wooden benches and lots of lovely old fashioned lamp posts. But really this Union Square was nothing of the sort. It was kinda small to begin with and then it was further dwarfed by the big huge buildings around it. And it had very modern looking lamp posts and shiny steel benches. No fountain, but there was a big pillar with a statue on top of it. And it was nice. There were lots of people sort of taking in the sun, a bunch of artists who were displaying their paintings and general art work, a little cafe on one side where you could get some coffee and cake i imagine (i never tried the cafe). i just kinda sat there on a bench and looked around. After a long while of doing that, i got up and walked around and took a few pictures.
After that, i proceeded to Chinatown. i think i was walking up the main street that goes through Chinatown, cuz it had this big gate n all that was like…i don’t know… a gopuram? i don’t know how else to describe it. And there were also a couple of stone lions guarding the gate. Predictably, Chinese shops lined the street. It was not too crowded though, and no dragons popped out at me. It was lunchtime and i was starting to feel quite hungry, what with all the walking n all. So, i kept an eye out for Chinese restaurants that i could imagine myself eating at. i finally ended up eating at this restaurant called …..wait for it….Chinatown restaurant 😀 about halfway up the main road i was just telling you about. It’s a nice place; old…the furniture showed the scars that they had acquired over time. And i went at peak lunch time i think, cuz the place was bustling. The interiors were not very Chinese. Not like when we go to a Chinese eatery in Chennai. These people didn’t feel the need to fill up the place with Chinese art and lampshades to convince their customers that they were Chinese. It worked out for them i guess. The staff was quite busy, but they managed to take good care of me anyhow. i had a to wait just a tiny bit more than normal for them to take my order, but other than that everything else was smooth. i had some pork dim sums and the chef’s choice of chow mien (which had some 2 or 3 types of meat in it i think). And at the end of the meal they gave me a free cup of ice cream (i don’t know what flavour it was, i think it may have been green tea…but whatever it was, it was very very nice). They also gave me a fortune cookie. i know i know…you want to know what my cookie said…nothing exciting actually. i got lectured by a cookie…something about true value is in service or something like that. i’ve saved the slip of paper but i don’t have it with me so this will have to do for now. So anyway, after lunch i started walking again.
The plan was to walk till Pier 39. So, i walked right through Chinatown. That was cool. You could see the China part of town tapering off to give way to more Italian and American stuff. There was one row of just restaurant after restaurant offering Italian food. Then there were these cute little cafe like places that had nice tables outside. These looked more…i don’t know…spacious, and maybe cozy…i think. You decide when you see the pictures. 🙂
San Francisco is very conscious of its tourist population i think. Either that, or it’s generally fond of flowers…cuz, every once in a while, you’ll have these flowerpots overflowing with….yes…flowers…bright and beautiful and happy and colourful…hanging from the lamp posts, and they generally made my walk very pleasant and nice. And it definitely helped that it wasn’t too hot or sunny.
Then as i was walking along i saw this Huge church. So of course i had to go inside it. It was the Church of Peter and Paul. i went inside and took some pictures of burning candles. 🙂 then continued walking towards my destination – Pier 39.
Pier 39 is a nice, busy place, Full of tourists. It’s also famous for sea lions. They have these floating deck kind of things…at least some 10 of them, and the sea lions come there to sightsee us humans. You should hear them bark and howl at each other. Makes you wonder what they think about us. They are kind of cute and goofy. Some of them will be chumma rolling around on those floats. It’s fun to watch them…at least for a while. It may get annoying at some point, but i didn’t stay That long so…all good. i walked till the very end of the walkway on Pier 39, stood there for a little while admiring the scene…you can see Alcatraz from there and the Golden Gate, and the fog rolling over one or both. 🙂 i saw the fog rolling in. It was nice, but cold, so i walked back and to the aquarium. Yes, they have an aquarium here as well. This one has a tunnel. But it’s kinda small…tiny, compared to the other aquarium i went to. And i went to the petting section here as well. Did i mention that the other aquarium also had a petting section? Well, it did, and i went to that one too. Ask me later what underwater creatures i petted: D
After the aquarium, i walked around pier 39, followed my nose to an ice cream shop and got myself chocolate ice cream in a chocolate fudge waffle cone (there was a brownie somewhere in the name there, but i just can’t remember where it fits in now). The ice cream was yumm…and quite big. i walked around with the cone for a bit, went to the sea lions and watched them for a little longer, then, since my legs were starting to ache, i went looking for a bench, found one, and sat down for a while.
By the time i finished my ice cream and felt sufficiently rested, it was already about 5:30. So i got up and started walking towards Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s shamefully close by :D. i think about a 5 minute walk away. So i took my time walking and did a little shopping. A wiser person would have finished their shopping, but no, i am after all my parents daughter, so have left a little bit of shopping for next Saturday :D. Let’s see how that works out. Anyway, i kept walking and eventually reached the beach near Ghirardelli square. He he he! No, i did not buy any chocolates (i think i just heard you making that “I’m shocked” sound). But i did take a picture of it, and of a Ben & Jerry’s sign (cuz i saw that and i remembered you, so i took a picture of it for you).
i sat there on the beach for a little while, freezing and literally shivering in spite of wearing a thick jacket and waiting for P, who was supposed to join me in the evening. He had a football game in the morning and said he would want to rest but also come with me, so i told him to rest and join me in the evening. He got there only by about 8 pm though. ( i shook his hand when he eventually arrived and he jumped in his seat and nearly out of the car cuz my hands were like ice. That’s in spite of getting a cup of hot chocolate (from Ghirardelli) to unfreeze my hands while I was waiting for him).
Then, we went to Lombard Street. That’s the extremely steep followed by extremely crooked street. Very very nice. That part of the street is one way as well, for obvious reasons. Apparently, people get scared when they are going up the street. i wonder why, cuz although it’s a one way, they only allow one column of vehicles so everyone goes very slowly both up and down this road. i can imagine it getting a little scary for the driver though. Hmm…the sad part was that it was already dark when i got there, so i couldn’t get any nice pictures. 😦 But then i’m planning to go there again on Saturday. Let’s hope that works out.
After that, we headed back toward San Jose. Had dinner at this place called Chilis. i ordered some steak that came with mashed potatoes and other yummy stuff, but i was so tired by then that i couldn’t taste anything. Finally, i reached my hotel room at 11 pm and managed to just about change before I crashed.
So THAT was my weekend. Of course i have tons more to tell but i dont feel like typing more. The initial idea was to send you a little mail, so i’ll stick with that. 😛 Hope this makes up for my not writing last week.
Alright then, that’s all for now.
PS: Please to kindly yignore spelling/grammar yerrors. Thanks ya.