Sunday, October 11, 2009

San Francisco

Even though I lived in the southwest for a few years, I never went to California. But I should have, because California is so far away from Maryland. Seriously, I could have gotten to England faster. (It probably didn't help that we stopped in Tampa - which is decidedly not on the way to California - and Austin first, courtesy of the bus that is Southwest airlines.)

So we went to California; more specifically, to San Francisco and Point Reyes National Seashore. We were there for a wedding, and also to sponge off my sister, who lives in the city and provides free car rentals. Alacatraz Island came highly recommended, so I bought tickets in advance. (The park is free-Alacatraz is a National Park site-but, you have to get yourself there. Well played my friends, well played.)

The Park Service really plays up the fact that Alacatraz was one of the most hard-core prisons for the most violent criminals. I thought this notion was rather undermined by the fact that the prison seemed to have a lot of natural light, a library, a great view of the city, and the prisoners got to live in San Francisco for free. Do you know how much rents are in that place? Ok, there might have been some murders, but the tour focused a lot on a prisoner uprising that occured becauase the spaghetti tasted bad. Not exactly hard core in my book.

And, they had views like this:

After Alcatraz, we walked around the Fisherman's Wharf area. Although it was a little too commercial for me, I have to admit that the aroma coming out of Boudin was heavenly. They also have bread that is shaped like stuff - which is pretty impressive, if you have ever tried to make bread yourself. Also, the sea lions were totally awesome:

Sometimes nature freaks me out. Like, there are crazy huge whales that swim around in the ocean, and there are blubbery, slippery sea lions who bark and climb all over each other. I'm not necessarily scared of the animal itself, just blown by the idea that such a creature exists in the world. Don't even get me started on outer space.

The next day we visited the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, which claims to be "the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States!" I love when things claim to be "The Best" or "The Oldest", but with lots of qualifiers. For example, "the oldest zoo in the northern part of Ohio that also includes giraffes" or "the biggest fish ever caught on a Tuesday by a man with one arm". Here, look at Buddha:

I also visited the Museum of Craft and Folk Art. I say "I" because my sister and husband decided to do the more exciting activities of going to Gap and sitting on a bench, respectively. It was all for the best really, because one small gallery does not a museum make. I saw the "Open Source Embroidery" exhibit, which mostly I didn't get. (And I went to grad school for art history - so that has to say something.) In fact, there were moreinteresting things in the gift shop.

Then, we went to a wedding, during a "wind event". It only served to make the whole affair much more impressive - these people planned their own wedding. And when I say planned, I mean they bought the food and transported it, rented the tables, bought the alchohol, made their own table decorations, and the bride even had time to make some pumpkin bread for the buffet. Any of you readers who have gotten married, you understand how impressive this is. Also, they are tall, and I am not, which is why I'm not showing you any pictures of me, for I look like a garden gnome in them all.

On our last day we drove back to my sister's house, and spent the remainder of our time just enjoying the view from her balcony. I also might have bought some yarn.

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