01 September 2009

The City

Hello again, sorry for the delay. Life has a way of catching up when you get back from vacation.

After flying into Los Angeles and picking up my former roommate, Andre, we headed up Interstate 5 to San Francisco. The drive is VERY much like driving from Albuquerque to Roswell, NM: flat, flat and flat.

All farming communities. Lots of fresh produce stands along the way but not much to see.

We arrived at night in San Francisco. At first I was a bit worried being unfamiliar with the city and all but I have to give credit to T-Robs GPS system as it got us to the hotel on the first try.

After searching around and making then canceling several reservations
I came across the Hotel Bijou situated in the heart of Union Square in downtown San Francisco.

Personally, considering the price and location, I REALLY liked this place. Andre, not so much, heh.

Ok, granted there is no air conditioning [we were in town on the hottest day of the year, 96 and humid!] But seriously, who is going to stay in a hotel in the middle of the day when there is an exiciting city outside your window. Besides, the nights cooled down and we ended up sleeping with the window open.

And yes, the area to the left of the front door is a depressed area complete with panhandlers, homeless and questionable people who hang out until 2 am, and being in the middle of downtown you have to deal with street traffic, sirens and loud people it should be mentiond to the immediate right of the hotel is a great area of shopping, eating and city life. The two mix very well and at no time did I ever feel threatened. Also, just a block away is the turnaround point for the cable cars and trolly.

For $109 a night I thought it was a great deal. The hotel [www.hotelbijou.com] is a mix of kitsch and old San Francisco.

It has a movie theme. There is a mini theatre where they show two movies a night set in San Francisco on a big screen tv. You also get a complimentary continental breakfast in the morning. The staff was very cool and willing to recommend places to eat, see or give general directions.

If you want 'ritz' there is the Hilton up the street. If you want to visit a cool and exciting city on a budget, this place can't be beat, well not that I have found anyway.

Local denizens on one side of the street.

A bathroom with a view.

I would easily stay here again. Even with the $29 a night valet parking.

The hustle and bustle of Union Square was very cool. Lots of shopping and little places to eat. And GREAT access to the cable cars and trolly.

We were able to take the cable car to Fisherman's Wharf and the trolly to the Castro District. It was a breeze with an $11 day pass.

Ah, the cable cars. If you get on at a 'turnaround' expect to wait in line, especially during tourist season. We walked up a few blocks and were able to 'jump on' and hang on tight to the bars on the side. Watch your butt as these cable cars are just inches away from car side mirrors. Man, but what a ride. The trip to the wharf was spectacular.

Once you get to the wharf, ok ok, once I got to the wharf... I ate. Lemme tell you, I LOOOOOVEEE crab crakes. These were delicious.

This was my first time in San Francisco so basically I was the tourist which included a boat ride around the bay.

Andre and T-Rob


We also toured the USS Pampanito, a submarine from WW2 and the Jeremiah O'brien, a merchant marine ship from WW2. [Jeremiah O'brien is a sister ship of the USS Lane Victory berthed in San Pedro].

...to be continued.

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