Day 45. Thursday 27 June.
Mason Diner for breakfast (D really wanted to have the diner experience, to better understand the Reacher novels), after waiting in the hotel restaurant for far too long & ignored. Mind you, it took a good 15 mins to get a seat at Mason’s; but it was a very substantial start to the day (3 attempts at a cup of hotel room tea, in the coffee maker had failed!).
The day evolved: T had thoughts of getting seats for an evening show Once, but that was abandoned when the only seats available were back row and not together. We decided that a hop on & off bus tour would be a good way to get a city intro, so if we were clever enough, we could get a 24 hour ticket in the late morning, to last through Friday as well.
Why do we feel the need to do the tram ride thing? It is the ‘thing to do’, it will take us to Fisherman’s Wharf, and we can then pick up the bus tour. Good concept, but the queue to get the tram!
Well, we stood, crept to the boarding point (45 mins), bemused/discomfited by the histrionics of the guy predicting that Jezebel will take us to hell among other threats concerning our souls – the Jehovah’s Witness trio standing quietly next to him were in ignore mode: if we don’t look it’s not happening.
Beggars and homeless are commonplace, as are folk talking to themselves or gesturing – a bit confronting but not in the least threatening, and blithely unheeded by locals and visitors alike.
The tram ride was really about the conductor and his interaction with passengers who hadn’t paid or who had the wrong tickets, all part of the performance.
Fisherman’s Wharf bustled in its grime and glitz. A coffee stop at Boudin’s bakery extended into a tour which consumed and fascinated us for a couple of hours, taking in the museum and bread production…the bakers, the machines, the story…
Along to Pier 45 and the WWII naval vessels (a submarine and the last surviving Victory ship) and then Pier 39 where the sea lions barked, fought and rolled and dived for the crowd. The loser in the fight ended up in the water: the victorious sea lion seemed to look to the crowds for applause!
Pier 39 was mostly cheezy and just a bit sleazy…But there were some other amusing distractions: two characters dressed up as Trump & Kim Jong Un, and a multi-instrument (all at the same time) musician. And a little girl and a little dog couldn’t care less about everything else going on around them.
Around 4pm we boarded the BigBus tour and the afternoon breeze had become VERY chilly. On the top deck, the views and commentary were great…across the Golden Gate, back into town…
Past the Town Hall, site for a couple of weddings.
The city is proud of it’s colourful recent past – particularly the beatnik and hippies revolutions of the 60s, notably the 1967 ‘Summer of Love’.
And is also staunchly for Gay Pride – a leader in recognition of gays dating from the 1970s. We will regretfully miss the Gay Pride March through the city on Saturday, in which 1 million are expected to participate.
Another interesting sign was the one about home loans: didn’t this precipitate the GFC?
For dinner? Chinatown and the hard decision: where to start? With spruikers shoving menus at us on the footpath (sidewalk). A restaurant offering a sampler of dim sums…and now we feel like a pair of dumplings.
Old angels young angels feel alright
On a warm San Franciscan night
And a last thought: we’re not sure whether the juxtaposition of the two signs was deliberate!