Part 2: San Francisco

On our second day in San Francisco, we ventured back to Chinatown for dim sum. I’ll talk about dim sum at a later time. When we were there, they were setting up for the Autumn Moon Festival. Up and down the main drag in Chinatown, there were booths selling various goods including moon cakes, kites, and other items. My favorite was the booth that sold goldfish in bags hanging from the ceiling of the tent. Later, there was dancing and a dragon dance. However, we were off to Oakland for hiking.

We met up with friends to seek out the Redwoods in Redwood Park. It’s not the really famous one, the John Muir Forest. That one is about an hour from the city. This one was about 20-30 minutes from Oakland. The Redwood Regional Park was fantastic. We started on the more arduous hike uphill. We could catch glimpses of the forest valley around us. There were occasionally lizard sightings, from lizards the length of my palm to ones the length of my thumb. Very cool.

After several miles, we took a route down to the Stream path, which follows the river…if there was one. But we really got our fill of Redwoods. These are younger Redwoods, I think my friend said they were second generation. But they were gorgeous. They grew straight up to the sky with branches that sort of stick straight out. Apparently, small animals, like squirrels, have difficulty climbing them because of their particular structure. Only flying animals, namely birds, can make home of these amazing trees. We meandered down to one patch of Redwoods, which were clustered together a bit ominously. It almost seemed like some otherworldly evil should emerge from there. It was amazing to see how tiny we were in relation to the trees. At one point, we saw a giant tree that had actually been three trees that had grown into one another. So cool!

Redwood Trees

Redwood Trees

Later that same evening, we went to Fisherman’s Wharf for dinner. Instead of calling a cab or taking a bus, we took an old fashioned trolley. It was amazing. Scott and I got to stand on the outside, hanging on the side. You get to feel the wind rushing through your hair, and the thrill as other cars and trolleys pass by a mere inches from you. Plus turns are more fun! It’s the best thing ever. I know it’s incredibly touristy but I don’t care. It was also interesting to see the process behind it. The trolley system requires a lot of manual labor; men had to physically change lanes or turn the trolley around. You would think it would be more electric and whatnot, but it’s not. I’m sure that was a choice. Also, it was curious passing by various neighborhoods. It seemed that many houses looked vacant. The blinds were all shut and there were no signs of people. Very weird.

Trolley!

Trolley!

Fisherman’s Wharf is a bit like Navy Pier times ten. There are lots of chain stores and even a 7D experience. But there is a nice assortment of street performers including some Reggae musicians, Michael Jackson impersonator/dancer, and more. And there is the magnificent view of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. But the best thing is the sea lion area. Off Pier 39, there are wooden platforms where sea lions can hang out. They were all piled on each other all over these platforms. It was amazing. We went twice in the evening: once when the sun was up and another when the sun was down. Worth the trip both times. During the day, we could see more of them and their interactions. At night, it was harder to see but they were more vocal.

Sea lions.

Sea lions.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about food!

That’s all for now!

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