Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Many Faces of San Francisco

Mural in Chinatown
Why do you travel?  For most people, it's for the newness, to simultaneously feel the discomfort and the thrill of the quirks and peculiarities of a place.  On our second day with #1 Daughter (#1D) in San Francisco, her tour showed us new faces of the city, diversity on vibrant display. (see previous post of Day 1)

Down a random, semi-concealed cobblestone alley?  The Irish Bank Bar and Restaurant.  You might think you are in Dublin!


Chinatown is a bit more conspicuous with its ornamental gate, lanterns and lampposts.

It's the tourist district, and we comply, stopping at the bakery that advertises its moon cakes in the front window ("The Only Moon Cake Made in America; Best Moon Cake in the Whole USA) - who can resist?  We buy three different cakes and munch as we admire the murals that are on every spare wall and some delivery vehicles as well.
Mural on left says "In Progress"

A few blocks more, and in the peace of Portsmouth Square, old men are playing vigorous card games, and others are focused on Tai Chi.  Not many tourists here - locals always find a place to hide from tourists!

A small alley hides the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, with its tiny storefront that opened in 1962.  Women sit at a conveyor belt folding messages into 20,000 fortune cookies a day.  This is the only bakery in the city where cookies are made by hand the old-fashioned way.

Up one block and suddenly we are swimming against the tide of Chinese shoppers, who are navigating a myriad of open-air stalls - dried seafood of every type, fruits and vegetables, fresh fish, and many curiosities that we could not identify.

By now, all this food has whet our appetite, and soon enough we are sampling the wares of one of the countless restaurants in Chinatown.
I wonder if these fortunes were made down the street?

Re-energized, we ascend Nob Hill, poles apart from ChinaTown.  Posh hotels, classic architecture, people walking dogs in the park, the hushed serenity of Grace Cathedral.  

Brass Christmas ornament
Of course, no visit to Nob Hill would be complete without a stop at the free Cable Car Museum, which houses a collection of historic cable cars, photographs, and mechanical displays.  And, most stunning to me, it is located in the Washington-Mason powerhouse; it is the site that generates the power for ALL of the cable cars in the city.  From the museum deck, you can see the huge engines and winding wheels that pull the cables plus the person perched above the cables monitoring their smooth operation. Downstairs is a viewing area of the large sheaves and cable line entering the building through the channel under the street.  Mind-boggling!!!

Like Spousal Unit and me, #1D is a coffee fiend, and she has a nose for unique coffee shops.  This day, her choice is a short cross-walk from the Museum.  And how fun it was!  Board games, quirky and eclectic decorations, wine and beer, and just the right amount of attitude to be amusing without being annoying - for example, they put their bad reviews in the bathroom for everyone to read!
Maybe I liked it because I won the game of Sorry!

Afternoon was moving toward evening, and #1D took off for work after ensuring we made it safely to our BART station.  A short time later, we navigated our own way through the BART to arrive at the enchanting California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, where #1D has invested her summer honing her skills as a stage management intern.

All the theatergoers were making the most of a glorious evening - sunny with a bit of nip in the air - partaking of picnic dinners in the grove near the outdoor venue.  We are here to see #1D and black odyssey, written by Oakland native playwright Marcus Gardley.
We move to our seats, and are struck by the simplicity and beauty of the set.  And so begins a classic tale (and classics always evoke the full range of human emotion) that jogs our memory about the importance and power of stories. 

We clap, we shout, we sing, we cry.  It's that kind of performance, that kind of tale.  How fitting that #1D is here for the summer: to be reminded that our history is both chain and freedom, depending on how it is used.
#1D on set at intermission, deploying props

And so the second day ended, once again, to a standing ovation.

Linking to Our World Tuesday
Our World Tuesday Graphic
Linking to Mosaic Monday


  1. I've never been to San Francisco, Angie, but this wonderful post gives me lots of ideas of things to do, see, and eat should I get there. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. So much diversity!

  2. Oh my, what a wonderful trip! I think I have only been to San Fran two times. Such a great city! And so great to see the behind the scenes kind of places that are so special and really stay with you. So nice you had such a good time with your daughter. Daughters are great, aren't they? :) Kit

  3. Oh the fun of San Francisco - one of my favorite cities. We used to visit a lot when we lived in California. I love all the things you showed, great adventures await.

  4. ...I've been to SF only once for a short visit, another place to put on my to do list.

  5. Hello, what a lovely tour and visit to San Francisco. It is a beautiful city. One of my favorite cities to visit. It is great seeing all the sights thru your eyes. Wonderful photos. Have a happy day and weekend. PS, I appreciate your comments on my blog.

  6. This post shows me why the song “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” was written. What a richness of things to do and see … and experiencing it all with a loved one makes it all the more meaningful. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Great tour of the place. I was not familiar with face of the city.

  8. I loved your post. I was there in March visiting some of the places you mentioned and i loved the city. Pity I didn't get a chance to go to the theatre. It would have been worth a visit for the setting alone. Thanks for your visit to my blog.

  9. It's great to have someone who knows about the city to tour with. We enjoyed our visit to Grace Cathedral when we were there and having drinks at the Top of the Mark. Hope you are having a great weekend.

  10. Such a diverse city. I've never been to California. Wonderful to see it through your eyes.

  11. What a fabulous trip! and the experience - I bet you are still talking about it. That pink fruit? That looks so strange. Wonderful post!

  12. What a great visit to SF you guided us through,it brought back lovely memories our vacation there many years ago.
    Happy Mosaic Monday!

  13. Happy Mosaic Monday, thanks for the lovely photo share

    much love...

  14. Like so many others here...I've never been there either. So much to see and do...and eat! heehee! Love your post. You've made us all wish we could spend time there! Hugs, Diane

  15. Hi Angie - oh I so enjoyed your travel pics - I have only had the opportunity to visit SF once - many years ago - and had such a wonderful time! I loved Chinatown's delicious food, it's never been matched no matter how hard I try to find really great Chinese food.

    I appreciate your visit and kind comments. Thank you for popping in and saying hello! : - )

    Have a wonderful day!

  16. Oh, this post gets a standing ovation from me (well, figuratively speaking anyway). What a fabulous tour of Chinatown ... wonderful SF....and ending with what sounds like a great play. Wonderful that your daughter is a part of it all!

  17. Nice glimpse into all this area has to offer. I can't believe I've never been there. I just threw away a bag of old fortune cookies. I guess I saved them to read the fortunes someday..but never did.

  18. San Francisco is one of my favorite cities to visit. I often accompanied my husband there when he was on business, so I was able to wander many places on my own over many visits and even took a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge! So many good memories. Did the Fortune Cookie shop ask you to contribute $10 in order to take a photo of the women making the cookies? They were doing that the last time I was

  19. Dear Angie - Your mosaics are fun to see the different aspects of the city. Variety seems to spice up the charm of the place. As an Asian, I’m drawn to Dublin-like area. Nice idea to see a play toward the end of the day. The simplicity of set makes us focus on the performance especially when dealing with deep human emotions.


  20. I love to travel to many places. I love to know about places. Enjoy the nature, food, stay etc. Beautiful pictures:)

  21. What energy! And one obviously needs it, as there is so much to see and do in this vibrant city. From the moon cakes and messages to the undecipherable food and great coffee experience, it is evident that San Francisco is a very entertaining city. I know that I'd want to do the leg work to see its many diverse styles of architecture, too.

    Thanks for sharing!


  22. Thanks for the tour, they are not always shown often like the other most famous landmarks.

  23. I very much enjoyed your tour of San Francisco! So much to see and do so many colors,sights, and smells! Wonderful that you could go with your daughter who knew her way around and then you got to enjoy the theater experience too! Sounds like a wonderful trip all the way around!


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