For as long as I've lived in California, I've always heard people complain about California's major cities for a variety of reasons......including the traffic. After this past weekend though, I have to say I have no complaints at all. You see, last Friday was the first day of a long weekend that's been a long time coming. Our weekend jaunt to San Francisco was eagerly anticipated for weeks and not even the Bay area's reputation for horrible traffic conditions was going to spoil the fun. Once Weekend Getaway Pt.1
we got there, the traffic didn't seem to be that bad at all. I don't know, maybe I'm just getting used to driving in urban areas....or maybe all those complaints are a little unjustified. Either way, getting around San Francisco during our trip was a breeze.
We arrived at the hotel at the scheduled time, but the room wasn't quite ready. So, we decided to explore for a while. We walked around the Financial District and nearby areas for a bit. It's amazing how small you feel when you're walking amongst buildings that are so big.
Our first stop was the Asian Art Museum. If you're into all things Oriental, then you'd be in heaven here. That place is huge too. If it can be painted, sculpted, or carved....they've done it. And they have the museum exhibits to prove it! We were there for quite a while, and I must admit I was starting to get a little restless until we came across the exhibit featuring items related to the Chinese Zodiac and the Lunar New Year.
Now this exhibit really got my attention. As it turns out, I was born in the year of the Dragon! On the upside, the Dragon says I'm vital, ambitious, daring, gifted, confident, forceful and creative. (note to self.....try not to smile too much as I agree with the dragon) On the flipside the Dragon also says I can abrasive, demanding, and unwilling to compromise. (second note to self....take Dragon off the Christmas card list) If you were born in 1940, 52, 64, 76, or 88, you also share these traits that come with being born in the year of the Dragon. In case you're wondering, 2006 is the year of the Dog. If you're interested in where you fall in the Chinese Zodiac....let me know and I'll be happy to share the information I have with you.
Later, we hopped on one of the classic streetcars (these are too cool). We're talking circa 1946-48 and they were in excellent condition. Not exactly what you would expect from a major urban mass transit system. Then again, no one could ever accuse San Francisco of being predictable. We took the streetcar to Fishermans Warf and spent the evening there. We grabbed a bite to eat (seafood of course) and did some shopping.
There are a couple of streetside crab shacks on Fisherman's Warf that I highly recomend. One is called "Rick's Lighthouse" and the other is simply called "The Crab Shack." WOW!!!!!!!! While neither are much to look at, their creations are the epitome what fresh dockside seafood is all about. Again, I highly recomend both as long as you're not allergic to shellfish.
At the end of the night, I found myself somewhat conflicted about my first day of our weekend in San Francisco. Because of its politics and some of the ultra liberal attitudes of its residents, I've never been a big fan of San Francisco overall. That is about as big of an understatement as you'll ever hear me make. But the city itself is a beautiful city with a lot to offer if you're willing to look past the nonsense. For me and my love of the ocean, being on the waterfront and taking in all that comes with it was more than enough to make me forget all the rest.....if only for a weekend.
(originally posted 2-10-06 on Yahoo 360)