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My San Francisco Vacation & Fun Things To Do
Cable Cars, Sea Lions, Beaches, Sightseeing, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Park. Fun, fun, fun !! ♥

San Francisco Cable Car
San Francisco Holiday Vacation
Cable Car

If Wednesday was a day of discovering man-made sights, Thursday was a day of discovering nature's work. Water is all around San Francisco, the Bay on one side, the Pacific Ocean on the other, but sometimes I got turned around. We set out for the beach via the N-Judah, a rail train that goes straight across the length of Judah Street and stops in sight of the Pacific Ocean. For breakfast we tried the beach coffee shop. It was self-serve from the thermoses of variety coffees and pastries. The stone floor was covered with beach sand and flies dropped in with customers through the open door. It was remarkable weather, unusually warm, clear and sunny with almost no breeze, quite the opposite of what we expected.

To us from the Midwest, the ocean is a rare, mystical thing. I spent a lot of time watching and listening as the waves mounded up, gathered strength, curled over the beach with a scallopped white fringe of air bubbles and slowly disappeared in the sand, depositing a winding ridge of sand at the tide line. Mesmerizing with its randomness, soothing in its continuity. What is the Walt Whitman poem? "Out of the cradle, endlessly rocking." There were dozens of surfers with wet suits and colored boards.

San Francisco Skyline
San Francisco Holiday Vacation
Frisco Skyline

Cliff House is a nearby tourist site on a high cliff overlooking the ocean. We enjoyed the Musee Mechanique, which is a Fun House of mechanical coin-operated attractions, all of them original antiques. We tried the mechanical fortune teller, an automated band of miniature wooden monkeys in costume, a test-your-strength machine, and stereopticons which offered sights of beautiful ladies and foreign travels. There is also a Camera Oscura, a freestanding dark room with a ten foot convex mirror sitting like a center table. The mirror projects a live picture of the outdoor scenery, accomplished by rotating lenses and mirrors on the roof. You could think of it as a curiously large periscope. In the olden days, it must have seemed like magic. My favorite feature is the Laughing Woman who laughs and laughs for fifty cents.

For lunch, I chose a corner restaurant at random, Flappys(?), and a hearty meat-lovers hamburger.

Our next stop was Golden Gate Park and the Japanese Teahouse gardens. They have acres of walks landscaped in the traditional style, stones across little koi ponds, gravel raked painstakingly into symbolic rockscapes, stone lanterns, pagodas and gates and a tea house and bamboo and a high moon bridge to climb. Then we carried on with our adventures in Golden Gate Park, past the Conservatory, the McLaurin gardens, the palm forest, the Asian Museum, the Arts and Sciences and the deYounge. Well, you get the idea. There is enough here to fill up five vacations.

Best Cheap San Francisco Holiday
Travel Vacations Guide
Random Impressions of the City

San Francisco Alcatraz
San Francisco Holiday Vacation

Random impressions of the city. All the house are entered through locked gates and locked front doors. It takes three keys to get into Suzie's apartment. The streets are dense with traffic and parking is hard to come by . But you don't need a car, because public transportation is phenomenal. SF is only seven square miles, after all. The many people are of diverse ancestry, but what you notice is that people are young. It is a young town with high energy and it keeps late hours. At the produce store an Asian woman ran her cash register faster than a scanner. The No Touch Car Wash is staffed by very busy Mexicans. On the bus, we watched a trendy man in black who carried a bouquet of pink lilies, making cell calls that were never answered and reading a day planner that was jammed full of dog-eared papers. People don't smile a lot or talk much to strangers here, but they are always watching. It's that "big city" thing. And yet, thanks to Suzie's winning ways, we had a lot of interesting conversations with strangers.

Outside a house that was being painted were two signs: the first sign said. "Painting by So-and-so". The second sign said, "Color coordination by So-and-so." What an interesting career, planning color schemes for vintage houses, the Painted Ladies of San Francisco.

The homeless problem is huge here, because the weather is mild and liberal benefits are available. You can see the homeless soaking up the sun in the park near City Hall with its sparkling gold dome. They drag duffel bags and push their possessions in grocery carts. As you walk by, they single you out and ask with excruciating politeness, "A little spare change, please?"

Best Cheap San Francisco Holiday
Travel Vacations Guide
Shopping in San Francisco

While we were shopping on Market Street, one of the shop owners told us his rent was jumping from $5,000 a month to $10,000. He couldn't pay it, but a new tenant was willing. That's part of the new Gold Rush in San Francisco.

My hosts Suzie and Jill are vegetarians who gave me a chance to try soy milk, tofu and home cooked saitan, which is wheat gluten, a meat substitute. What is a vacation for, but to try new things?

Another stop for us was the Museum of Modern Art MOMA. One exhibit room had so many life-size Rodin sculptures standing around, it felt like a cocktail party. The temporary shows were remarkable, but the permanent collection on the fifth floor has all the famous names like Degas and Matisse and Picasso, where we finished up tired but happy.

Across the street, the Metricon is a futuristic high-rise shopping mall. From the terrace on its fifth floor we could see the San Francisco skyline and MOMA glowing under a full moon, while a trio of musicians performed.

Golly, only five hours left until the Airport Super Shuttle returns to pick me up. Suzie is awake and ready for a big breakfast out. Time to pack up. Good-bye, San Francisco. It's been terrific! Super! Grand! Wonderful! The best holiday travel vacation ever.

Back to Part 1 of San Francisco.

I hope life brings you much success.
I wish you a very happy day.

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