Sunday, April 11, 2010

San Francisco Trip

Decided on a short trip to San Francisco over the Easter-Ching Ming weekend. End of the day, perhaps a trip to Hokkaido or Tokyo would have been better. Our first trip to the State, probably our last for a very very long time.

Day 1

Reach S.F. in the evening. Took us an hour to get past immigration. I can't remember the last time I was asked to produce my printout of my flight details. The expressionless officer sort of told us off regarding the tickets. Geez... If I want to strike terror or work illegally in the States, surely I can afford a return ticket and not take the return flight? After 12 hours on a flight and 1 hour standing in the line, I didn't need that.

We stayed at Hotel Monaco along Geary Street, pretty near to Powell Station on the Bay Area Rail/Rapid Transit (BART). The trip from the airport to our station was approximately 30 minutes. Then it was a short 15 minutes walk away.

The lobby looked great, our room was fairly comfortable. But I have a feeling it was converted from an old warehouse... The bed sure sucked us in for a few days and nights... too comfortable...

Woke up early the next morning for our trip to Fisherman's Wharf. Took the tram from the terminal above Powell Station which took us right to our destination.

It was around 9am and most of the shops were closed. The wind was chilly with a slight drizzle threatening. Managed to see Alcatraz from afar. And there's this WW2 submarine. The seafood stores along the streets were closed so we made our way to Pier 39 for... whatever we could find...

Pier 39 was full of restaurants and little shops selling things from pearls to NFL jerseys. Also saw some seals lazing around. With an hour to go, we made our way into the aquarium for a look, see and managed to touch some sting rays! And when the shops finally opened at 11:30am, we made our way into Crab House and found the following...

Too salty for our taste buds but nevertheless very fresh and tasty~ Come to think about it, the crab was really tasty... How I wish I can have one right in front of me now...

We made our way back to the seafood stores along the way from the cable car station and gotten ourselves fresh lobster to snack on. With that I was satisfied and we joined the queue to go back. Trying to find a place with more shelter to avoid the rain which was forecast to hit us around 3pm.

And the first stop was Victoria's Secrets. Sorry no photos allowed... but I had a good time sitting outside the changing room~ Another poor chap wanted my seat for a long time but he just got to wait till I was ready to go~

Some more walk around before we head back to hotel for a nap. When we woke up near midnight we went out to recce the queue outside the Apple Store and found less than 10 guys sitting around. Went for some pizza and Jack in a Box before we went to bed again. Got an early 2nd day~

Day 2

The day to get my iPads. Scheduled for sales at 9am. We reached the queue at around 8:30am and this was the scene that greeted us...

And we inch forward slowly from 9am once the sales started. There were 2 queues, the one on the right for pre-order and the left for walk-in sales. Along the way, Apple staff would bring Krispy Kreme donuts and Starbucks coffee to keep everyone happy. We managed to meet some locals and it was actually quite fun to be queueing. I thought the queue for walk-in was actually faster...

So near yet so far... That big Apple was finally in sight...

I could see the inside of that store!

And I was finally in! A representative would follow us from the entrance, take our orders and get our payment done and if we wanted, would lead us to the 2nd floor to setup our iPads and give us a simple primer on how to use the machine. Happy with our machine we made our way back to the hotel, locked it in our suitcase before heading out for breakfast. We were starving! Today we head out to Japan Town and Golden Gate Park~

Japan Town. Pretty much a suburb area for the Japanese community in S.F. Found a shop which sold Japanese stuffs like tatami mats and futons which we really liked. Apart from that shop the area didn't really struck me as anything interesting... maybe for someone who had never been to Japan, not for us... At least they had lots of cherry blossoms~ Next stop, Golden Gate Park~

A park is a park is a park. Nothing in this park that impressed me except for the size. If only we have something like this in HK... I will probably move near the park and bring my dogs there everyday!

The picture above was taken in Chinatown. Coming from HK... Chinatown was... a waste of time. I rather talk about the Ramen we had after that! My best meal in S.F. could have been that bowl of ramen @ Katanaya! Hahaha~

Day 3

Didn't went out since it was raining cats and dogs for the whole day. Managed to walk-in and got ourselves dinner at Farallon.

Spent around USD200 for a meal that included cavier, lobster, tuna and scallops. And a decent chocolate dessert. Realised I don't really dig cavier that much... Great attentive service.

Day 4

Last day in S.F., we walked around the financial district near our hotel.

A MacDonald's meal in America to finish off our trip? ^^;

Really liked the look of these clouds about an hour before we land.

The thing I really like about the States is the fact that people can bring their pet dogs into shopping malls! I know that a few places in Japan which allows pets as well but that is unheard of in HK and Singapore except places like PetMax which specially caters for pets.

Honestly speaking I'm not really a fan of the food in S.F. Maybe I don't have anyone to bring me around to find the best food. Maybe the weather wrecked my appetite. In any case, I'm already living in some of the best places for food so I shouldn't really have too much expectations. We should have gone to Japan if we wanted great food~ I really miss some of the 3-hr dinners in Japan...

Lastly, one outstanding point from this trip to the States. The friendliness of the people and the great service provided. At Starbucks, in the queue for the iPad, the waiter in Farallon, the girl behind the pearl counter... each and everyone of them made the trip to S.F. that special for us. Unfortunately that is not enough to warrant another visit... at least not to that part in the States~

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