Monday, October 17, 2011

The City

So, if you've ever seen Eddie Izzard's Dress to Kill, you'll understand the snotty tone of voice in which I say "the city."  So, I was born in San Francisco, but lived in Marin once I was old enough to have even the most basic concept of geography, and so whenever we talked about going to San Francisco, we said we were going to "the city." Now to be fair, I did the same thing when living in a suburb of Chicago, so it's not like it's an exclusively California thing, but whatever. Eddie made fun of us, and that's cool. Also, he totally hit the nail on the head. You do not call the city "Frisco" or "San Fran." You just don't. Or rather, if you do, you're wrong, and we will mock you.

Anyway, last Mon and Tues, J & I spent our time in the city. We stayed in a little hotel on Lombard St., just blocks from the Presidio where I was born. Monday, we had the kind of weather you think of when you think San Francisco- foggy, overcast, misting. So of course we spent the day walking around outside. We took the bus down to Fisherman's Wharf where we splurged on a semi-fancy lunch.

Lobster tail... splurged for lunch at the Fog Harbor Fish House on Pier 39

Then we did the shopping part where we bought souvenirs and presents for friends, then decided to be totally touristy and take a tour of the bay on one of the Blue & Gold fleet ferries.

We're on a boat!
The boat went out, under the bridge, then around Alcatraz, and back to the Wharf. It was really neat. The fog and mist actually made it cooler.
Real San Francisco weather
Unfortunately, the BEST shot of the bridge I've ever gotten, I took on my cell phone. The unfortunate part of that sentence comes at the end of the trip. FORESHADOWING!
The Rock
After all that, we went back to our room, took a nap, then wandered down to the Tipsy Pig for dinner. It was amazing. Our waiter was friendly and knowledgeable without being pretentious. The place was cozy and had really great atmosphere--kind of like walking into an old English sitting room, with all the books and stuff. At our table was an old copy of "The Life of Johnson" by Samuel Boswell. The food though... oh, the food! J described it as gourmet home style, and I guess that's as good a description as any. Simple food prepared really, really well. It was totally worth it, and a wonderful birthday dinner, even if it was the day before my birthday.

Tuesday was bright, sunny, and beautiful. So of course we decided to spend it inside. To be fair, if the Exploratorium had been open on Monday, we would have switched our schedule around, but it's not, so we made the best of it. We walked the 4 blocks or so from our hotel and enjoyed the sunshine and the city.

Looking down the street towards the bay

Looking up the street at the hills

Random hydrangea. It was purple, I couldn't resist!

Now, the Exploratorium is at the Palace of Fine Arts, and it's pretty much the coolest museum I've ever been to in my life. The last time I visited was 1990, just before I moved away from California to Texas (the first time). 11 years is a long time to anticipate going back, and it absolutely did not disappoint!
The Palace of Fine Arts--maybe my favorite place in the whole city. It looks like a postcard, but it's real! 
So, it's this big, geeky, kid-centered science play ground. Anything that looks touchable, pushable, movable, spinable or turnable probably is, and you're encouraged to touch, push, move, spin or turn it. Each exhibit is a little science experiment. There's an explanation of some THING in the wide, wonderful world, then an explanation of how that thing works, then an example for you to recreate the principle there at the museum. It was wonderful! This video is of us playing with the black sand. It's magnetic, and we were fascinated.

The Exploratorium... SO FREAKIN' RAD! It's a giant play room for science! Here's J & I playing with black sand.

Our picture taken in... infrared? Heat sensing? Something like that. 
There was a whole section devoted to biology where you could look at stuff live under microscopes, and there was a room full of magnets and electric stuff, an entire SECTION devoted to sound, and a whole wing about social sciences. They had exhibits like a water fountain made from a toilet. A clean, brand new, never been used toilet with water pumped straight from the kitchen, but... I couldn't drink from it. We played with lasers and tried to communicate with just our eyes. It was so much fun. We spent 5 hours playing with science and it was more fun than I can describe. 

Then we walked back to where our airport shuttle was going to pick us up and had some super tasty Indian food while we waited, and I had to take a picture of the tiny police call box, because that's the kind of dork I am.
Tiny Doctor inside
Then we flew home, and I left my cell phone on the plane. Oh yes, I'm just that awesome. So, the fabulous picture of my bridge, from a great angle as we passed under it, as it disappeared into the fog? Gone. Luckily, that's the only thing gone. All my contacts and voicemail and stuff was saved, thanks to Google.

Anyway, that's our trip to San Francisco. I'm looking forward to our next trip, whenever that might be.

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