The next stop on our whirlwind tour was San Francisco. This was one of our two stops of which Mr. C was the most jealous. As I consider the Seattle area home, he considers San Francisco his city. He even talked about hopping on a plane and joining us for that stop. He opted not to, but he requested tons of pics and made lots of suggestions.
Before we left, we found the HopOnHopOff Bus (that was where we first heard about it – it was by pure luck that we found the LA one).
Unlike the one in LA, this one had a live tour guide (the first one was a recorded monologue). Not only could we ask this guide questions, but he was really nice to look at too (hubba hubba!)
First, I feel required to say – those bus drivers are
insane extremely talented. They squeeze full-sized buses in places I would be afraid to take my Saturn. I give them props for being fearless and really good at what they do.
They took us around to see a lot of stops which I really didn’t care about. Blah, blah, whatever. We finally made it to the Golden Gate Bridge. They took us across the bridge. At full speed. With no top. It was cold! But it was super cool, too! I took a ton of pictures.
After we visited the bridge, we visited the park (Golden Gate Park). It was gorgeous! Mr. C had recommended it, but I couldn’t imagine spending any of our precious time at a park. I’m so glad the tour bus took us through it! It was amazing. I can see spending an entire day there!
Mother laughed at me when I told her that I had never heard of Haight Ashbury. The tour guide gave us his take on it, and Mother told me her thoughts on it as well. Since then, I’ve heard it referenced a couple of times and now I understand what it is all about. Yay! I learned something!
The tour took us to a lot of other famous sites. Some which meant something to me, some which didn’t. They were all neat to see, and now I can say I’ve seen them. Some of the buildings were beautiful, some interesting. All-in-all, Mother and I both enjoyed seeing San Francisco way more than Los Angeles – it just seemed cleaner, better maintained. It was as if the people there cared about their city and their property.
The one time we got off the bus was at Chinatown – a place I’ve always wanted to see. As we were getting off the bus, the tour guide told us to be sure to haggle. Yah, that’s not going to happen. But, we got out and checked stuff out.
Basically, what we saw were a bunch of stores geared to sell tourist cheap souvenirs. As one to save money, I went from store to store to get a good deal. I realized it was all the same cheap stuff, store after store. Mother got a couple of good purchases. Had I gone in with more money to spend, I might have enjoyed my time there more. There were a lot of things I could have bought.
One vendor seemed to glom onto Mother. The shop owner had some of her wares outside of the store. A collection of five cosmetic bags caught Mother’s eye. The saleslady noticed that and swooped in. When Mother asked the price, the lady said, “$5.99, but for you $5.00” It was funny ’cause Mother totally would have paid the $5.99.
I meandered inside and found a pretty purple dragon pendant. I asked the lady the price, and she told me it was $16. I set it down and started walking away (completely forgetting I was supposed to haggle). Shen then offered a lower price, which was still too high for me (still forgetting to haggle). About a block later, I realized she probably would have accepted the price I was willing to pay. Darnit! Oh well.
But, I can now say I’ve been to Chinatown. It was interesting, and I learned stuff.
When we got back on the bus, it was a different bus, different driver, and a different tour guide. We were really glad that we were so close to the end of the tour because neither of us liked this new guide – at all! He was loud, obnoxious, and really hard to understand at times. We were glad that we had the other tour guide for the majority of the tour!
We got back to the pier and we checked it out a little around there – the sourdough bakery, buying souvenirs, and there was an impromptu street party (one of the street entertainers really got the crowd going!)
It was a great way to end the day!
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