06 February 2013

San Francisco Day 4

Tuesday was the first day that Ramona and I had to go it alone, but it was okay.  I wanted to get a MUNI pass to ride around the city, but had a problem with my cash* situation.  Long story short: MSUFCU is awesome and now I owe them like $6 on a cash advance and it's probably not going to be worth it.  I purchased a $22 MUNI pass with the hopes of taking a cable car at some point and zipping around town on the bus system.  The cable car lines are insane and the buses that I tried to take that night either didn't come or were so overcrowded that, at one point, I got hit by the door because the bus driver didn't know someone was standing on the stairs and I had no way of knowing that he was closing the door.

We took a street car to the Ferry building for lunch.  I knew that the farmers market was going on that day, but I wasn't sure what to expect.  There were some prepared food vendors, but they were all crazy busy, especially Hapa Ramen.  I would have loved some ramen, but Ramona makes ramen-eating precarious at best.  All of this happened outside of the Ferry Building and as I walked in, there were TONS of shops, mostly having to do with food.  It was amazing and I went into the Cow Girl Creamery store and bought a half round of Red Hawk and then went next store to a bakery and bought a sourdough baguette and that's what I had for lunch.  Best decision ever.  I spotted a bakery called Miette and saw that they had macarons and bought a pistachio, a vanilla, and a chocolate to meet the five dollar credit card limit and to try my first macaron.

Afterwards, we left the Ferry Building and I started to walk up the Embarcadero towards Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf.  Big mistake.  It's a bit over a mile to get there and having a Ramona on your front and a backpack on your back makes for quite strenuous walking.  I made several stops, including on a (supposedly historical) promenade where I tried my first macaron... and then shortly after my second.  They were wonderful.  Not at all what I was expecting, but that's okay because wow.  SO good! 

Along the Embarcadero was a bunch of buildings that housed some of the America's Cup stuff and that was sort of interesting to look at, although at that point, I was just stretching for things to be interested in during my arduous sojourn.  (I'm not being dramatic. Not at all.)  I finally saw the Aquarium of the Bay and realized that we had reached Pier 39.  I didn't see any walruses or sea lions or whatever you're supposed to see, but this might have been because that part of the pier was closed.  Or because I'm an idiot and never found the lookout point. 

Either way, it didn't matter because what I did find was a miniature playground complete with two slides and some stairs.  We were set!  Ramona played for awhile and then I changed her diaper and we were all happy again.  I've been complaining on tumblr, facebook, and twitter about how smokey San Francisco is and I think some people don't believe me.  I just want to show here that I'm not being crazy.  Here are two people who are smoking right by a playground.  I actually stood back until they left and held Ramona so that she didn't need to be all up in their secondhand smoke while she navigated the stairs.

Exhibits A and B.
So after that, we walked around Fisherman's Wharf, which I had been advised to avoid by anyone who lived in SF for longer than a year.  Was it a tourist shit hole?  Yes.  Did it have a whole lot of people who looked like carnies?  Absolutely.  Am I glad I went?  Yes, but not for the reasons you would expect.  I mean, I knew what I was getting into and now I can say that I went there.  It's also easier to have a screaming baby at Fisherman's Wharf than it is at the Museum of Modern Art.  Not that she was screaming.  We had a playground.  Playgrounds = magical.  After awhile, I ducked into an In-and-Out (I still don't get the hype) and got a pop because I was thirsty and under caffeinated.  On my way out, I passed some (probably homeless) dude without a full set of teeth crouched behind a garbage can.  It took every ounce of willpower I had to not scream, so I was proud of myself.  About 30 seconds later, I heard a huge shriek come from behind me.  I guess that guy got someone else.

As I was about to give up and leave and call the place a bust, I stumbled across the National Parks Visitor Center.  It had a huge exhibit on the port of San Francisco and different parts of the city that pertained to the parks.  It also had brochures on a lot of the local National Parks, including Muir Woods.  It was great and it meant that going to the Wharf wasn't completely stupid.  If you do decide to go to the Fisherman's Wharf, this is what I suggest:

1) clam chowder in a bread bowl - there are several vendors on the street and then there's Boudin Bakery.  There's also a Boudin Bakery in the giant Macy's downtown.
2) at least walk in the public restrooms.  Those things are kind of hilarious and they'll talk to you if you'd like.
3) National Park Visitor Center

After leaving the Visitor Center, we left the area.  I wanted to take a trolley back, but the lines were crazy so I found a bus stop and waited for it to come.  There were several not the right buses that came and I finally talked to someone at the bus stop and realized that I was headed the wrong way anyway so I found the right bus stop and went back into town.  Colby met us back at the hotel room and then we went to Sotto Mare for dinner.

Sotto Mare is in North Beach and I didn't want to deal with the hills from last night, so we opted to take the bus.  That didn't come for a long, long time to the point of missing our reservation time, but that wasn't a big deal because we called them to let them know and they didn't have a problem.  Eventually two different buses came that didn't let us on because they were too full, so we all said "fuck it" and walked.  It turns out that North Beach houses some pretty nice hills along with a vibrant red light district.  That was great to walk by, but it was't a huge deal.

When we got there, the owner was IN LOVE with Ramona.  Between her and our waitress, Ramona was giving ridiculous amounts of attention.  It was kind of cute and sort of creepy, but the food was great and Ramona seems to like scallops and pasta now.  We got oyster shooters, a wedge salad to split, and the cioppino also to split.  When dessert came around, we were informed that they don't do dessert, so we went back to our hotel room and ordered room service cheesecake.

*side note: whenever I type cash, I always type CASH first because that's the acronym for my thesis project (the Chemical Abundances of Stars in the Halo).

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