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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bay Area Trip (Day 1)

WEDNESDAY, DAY 1 of our Bay Area Thanksgiving adventure started with a 5:30 am trip to LAX. Anticipating huge crowds because of the holidays, we (my mom, dad, hubby, brother and I) were extra early for our 8:30 flight. Security at the airport, although heightened, was not irritatingly horrid, and we were in the boarding area with almost 2 hours to spare. This is very typical of me – being extra early and waiting a long time in the airport. I have a friend (you know who you are) who insists on getting to the airport 15 minutes before his flight. Not me - I would find that way too stressful.

We arrived at the Oakland Airport and checked into our rooms at the Park Plaza Hotel. After settling in, we took the BART to San Francisco and hopped on the Powell-Mason line cable car and headed for Fisherman’s Wharf. Since this was my dad’s first trip to the Bay Area – we wanted to do all the touristy stuff. We were off to a good start – I seriously think only actual tourists would pay $5.00 per person for the one-way cable car ride!

Fisherman’s Wharf was exactly the same as the last time I’ve been there almost 4 years ago. We walked along the Fisherman’s Grotto with their steaming pots of Dungeness crab and strolled along Pier 39’s array of restaurants. For lunch, we decided on a little diner-like place called Chowders where we had clam chowder in sourdough breadbowls, fried calamari, clam strips and zucchini. After lunch, we did a little shopping along the small shops on the Pier that sell those kitschy and silly souvenirs that I absolutely love to browse through. My hubby bought me a baby pink windbreaker (which came in handy during the Bay Cruise we took later on), my mom and I found some adorable crystal Xmas ornaments, and we bought Ghirardelli sugar-free (you can’t tell they are) chocolate turtles.

Then came our hour-long Bay Cruise on the Blue and Gold Fleet. We sat at the very top of the ship – three stories high. It proved to be a VERY COLD AND WINDY cruise (this is the part where the windbreaker came in very handy). Throughout the hour there were several seagulls that kept flying almost on top of us – the rest of the passengers found this really amazing and kept oohing and aahing. I was too worried they would poop on our heads so I kept my jacket hood on. The cruise took us around Alcatraz, Sausalito, Tiburon, the shoreline of SF, the Golden Gate bridge and the Bay bridge. Perfect way to see the Bay.

When we got back to dry land, we leisurely walked towards Ghirardelli Square, stopping by several sidewalk stores along the way. There were places selling really inexpensive faux leather and suede jackets ($29.99 for a suede jacket!). Of course, quite frustratingly - there is no way to convince my hubby to wear something “fake” and “off the street”. I was trying to look for a place that sold bags (which is the one thing I can not have enough of!) but I couldn’t find anything interesting. We finally reached the Square and had dinner at The Mandarin (which serves North Hunan style food). Actually I was planning on having pommes frites for dinner and had looked up a place called Fritz’s Fries. But it turns out half the dining places at the Square have closed (since as I learned later on, the city is planning on tearing the Square down and constructing condominiums in its place). I found that sad since I really like the ambience of Ghirardelli Square.

Back to dinner, after being in the cold for so long, we ordered bowls of hot and sour soup, chow mein style noodles, shrimp mu shu and yin-yang lobster. The restaurant had really small portions which was good since we were really there to have ice cream at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain. Between the 5 of us, we had the banana split, the very berry sundae, and the brownie sundae. Super duper good! Definitely the highlight of the day. Our last stop before heading back to the hotel was the chocolate shop where I bought pasalubong for people at work and back home.


jol said...

My very first visit to San Francisco was truly memorable. This came about because I was in the company of my wife, my children and my son-in-law. I truly hope that one day, my entire family will all be together in SF to enjoy this beautiful city.

jeff said...

do i also know this friend of yours=)