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Walking through San Francisco

We got another early start for breakfast, watched some of the locals practice Tai-Chi in Huntington Park, then H went off to her meetings while I ventured out for a day of walking through San Francisco.

David Sifry has a new company, Offbeat Guides that is just kicking off, so I thought that this little trip would be a good test of their product. I went to their website and configured a guide for San Francisco and carried it along with me on my daylong walking trip through town. The guide worked well with lots of information on neighborhoods and such, but could use a bit more granular information like the guides from Wizard Publications, makers of the finest guides I’ve ever seen.

I started off walking down Nob Hill towards Fisherman’s Wharf, found it too touristy and headed West over to the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park. It was unseasonably hot, yet it was a beautiful day and it seemed that everybody in the Bay Area was out biking, walking, running, rollerblading and playing. Did I mention it was hot? Early on, I was walking behind a couple of ~12-13 year old boys for a couple of blocks and heard the following conversation:

Kid 1: Its hot man…. waaaay hot.

Kid 2: Yeah, it is end of times hot.

Kid 1: Yeah, apocalyptic hot.

From the Golden Gate Bridge, I walked over to The Presidio where I was surprised to find LucasArts had occupied a number of buildings. After a little bite to eat and water at The Presidio Starbucks, it was back to the center of town, Chinatown and all points in-between.

Up the hill to Chinatown and then down to the financial district and the Moscone center. At least a quarter mile of todays walk was spent climbing Nob Hill parallel to the woman pictured in the high heels. How she made the climb in those shoes without falling over was stupefying. Oh yeah, I also loved the I can haz cheezburger reference mural.

The other amazing thing about San Francisco is that you really do forget how steep some of these hills are and the logistics of engineering both buildings and public service vehicles that can both scale and controllably descend these hills is impressive. For instance, while the trolley car system is quite old and well engineered with many safety features, free rolling vehicles like the fire engine pictured above are another issue entirely. If you figure that a pump truck has to carry a volume of water in it along with a heavy duty chassis and travel at reasonably high rates of speed, the engine, transmission, chassis and cooling issues are not insignificant.

I figured that 10-15 miles was covered today and when I was done, I walked back up to the hotel to get cleaned up and meet H for a little walk over to dinner at Nick’s Crispy Tacos (again, cash only). The food was pretty tasty, reasonably priced and located in a night club with a wonderfully quirky feel. I had a carne asada burrito with a Dos Equis that was a mighty fine meal after a long day on my feet.

All of the cash only places in San Francisco leave me wondering a couple of things: 1) are credit card companies fees really exacting such a toll that merchants are having to drop them? This is certainly true with many gas stations right now where the credit card companies are making more money per gallon of gas than the gas station. 2) Is this an economic indicator of businesses that are running too close to the edge financially given the radically higher cost of doing business lately? i.e. every cent counts and taking credit cards pushes them over the edge.

Finally, after dinner at Nick’s, we decided to look for ice cream and though it was a bit of a walk, we ventured over to Cold Stone Creamery down in the touristy part of town by Union Square. The Chocolate Devotion really is quite good. Exceptional really… I highly recommend it…. really. We ate our ice cream with delight while climbing back up Nob Hill where we saw an event that my friend Ann Torrence would absolutely get excited about for a little bridespotting.

Categories: Travel.

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2 Responses

  1. Great photos and great SF-story. I’m a huge SF fan since my two visits there and I’m still hoping for another ones.

    Have a nice day

  2. Thanks Zuzanka. SF is a great town and one that I am hoping to get back to myself in the not too distant future.

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