Visiting Uncle Sam – 3 -Exploring SFO

Remember I told you that I was invited to my ex-manager cum friend’s home for Lunch during Vinayaka Chaturthi…? Yeah.. so now, since I knew how to use the Caltrain, I just took one to travel South of California to Sunnyvale. She picked up and drove me home, gave me a very sumptuous and very tasty lunch (pongal, kozhukattai etc etc..) and we started chatting about everything under the roof.. She is much elder to me.. but I feel so comfortable talking to her about everything..I always have been…. Time flew and by 6 pm I started back home via the Caltrain and took the wonderful 10 min walk back to the hotel from the Belmont Caltrain Station. It was so pleasant walking down the road with the chill wind up on your face and there is practically “no one” on the streets..except for a few cars going up and down.. .Can you imagine that…. Well trust me.. it was such a beautiful evening.

Then I was feeling a little adventurous.. so I thought what can I do for Sunday.. Should I waste my time @ hotel or shud I go somewhere..then I just went through transit.511.org website.. It listed some good options to go to SFO city, particulary the Golden Gate Bridge… and that too along with the map. Even though I wasnt sure if I would really do that… I just saved a few trips and thought of printing it out in the hotel business room. Then I just slept without even deciding on what I will be doing on Sunday.

On Sunday, somehow I got up by 7 am. It wasnt bright.. there was no sun…but something lifted up my mood and I decided to visit San Francisco especially the Golden Gate… So I had my breakfast, got up handbag ready and called the taxi by 9.15 am to drop me off @ Belmont Caltrain Station so that I can catch my 9.48 am train to SFO. And guess what.. the taxi never turned up… Is that a good sign or a bad one ? I really decided not to even think negative about it.. I just wanna go.. So took up the taxi booked by my hotel receptionist and got off in the station by around 10.30 am.. The next train came up by 11 am and off I went to San Francisco. Since I had the plan(s) of my trip printed out (in the mean time I waited for the taxi), I was somehow sure of where I am going. Got down after an hour long trip in SFO and followed the map and got in the 30 number Muni (SFO Municipal Transit) which was supposed to drop me off @ Chestnut and Laguna cross street. Hardly did I know that there would be a long 30 no. bus or a short 30 no. bus and they dropped off @ different locations :). Well I didnt know at that time, so I was enjoying my bus ride in and around SFO City.. Its the proper city.. not anything like Belmont.. Belmont is more a village… you have to book a taxi if you wanna go somewhere.. but here.. taxi’s were waiting for you :). The bus went through the Financial streets, the high profile buildings, the China town (doesnt China Town look alike in all places.. I mean I have see China Town in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and they all look the same!! why is that ??? ) and then finally it dropped us off near a school (I dont remember its name now.) The driver informed us to take the short 30 number bus if I want to go to Golden Gate Bridge (here on referred to as GG Bridge). So I boarded the short 30 no. bus to GG Bridge after exactly 5 mins. Well this doesnt take you to GG Bridge directly.. it dropped me in Chestnut and Laguna Cross street and I took the 28 no. bus which drives through the Marina Blvd to GG Bridge parking lot.. How about that :).. Finally after 10 mins of drive.. I was there… in the GG Bridge parking lot.. Oh man.. it was so exciting.. Was I in my dreams.. !!! whatever… I am there and thats what it matters. And my camera started to overwork 🙂 I went about 20-25 mins of walk in the bridge , took as many photos as I could, even asked an elderly couple to take my snap with the bridge as the background… and I was just enjoying the whole picture..

After almost 40 mins of roaming around.. watching the vehicle zoom to and fro the bridge, the Alcatraz Island faraway.. etc and then came to the Gift center .. did some window shopping and got down to the cafe to grab a bite…and sitting on the bench in that windy and cold weather, I was wondering what to do next. I had planned on going to Fisherman’s Wharf, if I really did go to SFO…Now the dilemma was should I take the bus (for which I had the route map and the numbers) or should I just a taxi because you have so many taxis lined up for you to choose from there.. I just had my bite and large cup of coffee and thought about it for a while and then just took a taxi… it was already 1 pm.

Till now my fare was 8.25 $ in Caltrain for a day pass to and from SFO, 2$ + 2$ in the Muni bus and now the taxi to Fisherman’s Wharf did cost me 17$ (the costliest on on the whole trip to SFO), but what big deal, as long as I am enjoying it :). So I reached Fisherman’s Wharf by around 1.30 or 1.40 pm… Wow that was nothing like what I thought it would be.. First of all it was so cold and windy and chill.. I was freezing, literally. I just took my time to walk around the streets, checking out the shops, seeing some of the live shows happening there.. going through the gardens.. watching kids play and went to enjoy the waters.. I could see the Alcatraz island much nearer now. Saw lot of boat cruises and thought.. should I try that too ? But my hungry stomach wanted something for it first.. So went into the Pier 39.. roamed about everywhere inside it and tried finding a better restaurant which was less crowded.. and got into Boudin and had a cheese Pizza 🙂 and then suddenly it dawned on me that I shud go for a ride.. It was already 3.30 pm.. So checked out the Blue and Gold Fleet which was available there and saw that there was a Rocket Bay Cruise for 30 mins for 20 $, but then I saw a 5$ off coupon in the free flier I had taken in the Caltrain station and 3.30 pm was the time already for the cruise and somehow I wanted to do something more… So checked out the next one… It was the SFO Bay Adventure Cruise for 1 hr and would take us down the GG Bride, comes round all the way showing the Angel Island and the Alcatraz (where you get very nearby to it). I wanted this. It was scheduled for 4 pm. So took it and waited in line and when I got in the boat and I was again excited and satisfied that I chose it. It was an amazing cruise and my camera saved me even though it had very less battery.. I love you camera… you stood by me @ the most important time (when the boat was cruising below the GG Bridge).. It was awesome.. We could see so many surfers and one particular fellow was very good even though he was showing off a lot for the photographers around :). The wind was freezing me already…and I was on the top floor of the deck…They went around came near the Alcatraz and explained about it in detail.

In the distance I could see the Bay Bridge just opposite to the GG Bridge. And after an hour, reached Pier 39…. Well it was hell of a trip 🙂 It was 5 pm and I shud catch the Muni Train asap to get my 6.15 pm Caltrain to Belmont. Now to catch the bus I need to walk a little.. and guess what , I held up the map wrongly and walked the other way 🙂 and when I came to the street, I found that I had to retreat and then take the other side.. But luckily, by the time I came to the bus station, there was a fully loaded bus which was about to take off.. I just signalled the driver who did stop and voila I was in the bus to the station 🙂 I reached the station by 6 and the train started back to Belmont exactly by 6.15 and around 7.20 I was in Belmont. Walked again back to hotel with the chilld wind blowing up my face and my hands and feet were already half frozen. But all in all I was very satisfied that I did what I wanted to do.. Explore the place on my own.

I always wanted to do that but somehow never got the guts.. Now here in SFO, where I dont have friends around, I guess it kind of pushed me to do it. I am really glad I did it.. Not only it gave me enough confidence on my own, I could also do it in a very small budget trip 🙂 Well, now that I have done this, I would really love to do it again.. Why not ? I enjoyed myself there.. You never know unless you tried. right ? I tried and now I know 🙂

I love it 😀

Hope to do more exploring and hope you enjoying my trip as much I had (being there and writing it too 🙂 )

Ciao till then…

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