San Francisco

Published by Erica on

It’s like a hotel from some horror film… gilded lobby, gold elevators, plush red carpets…. lots of mirrors, deep red ceilings, low lighting.. and that’s just walking to the room. The room isn’t so bad. Two nice beds, an armchair, a TV from the 80’s, a small rickety closet, and a bathroom not much bigger. You can feel the humidity in the air (and see its effects on my hair). Lightbulbs flicker in the lamps, and even the wail of sirens outside sounds mournful and eerie. Welcome to Hotel Whitcomb. 

Okay, so it wasn’t really that bad of a place. It just had TONS of character, lol. The lobby was gorgeous, but I didn’t take a picture of it so you’ll have to take my word for it. Our whole HERA conference was held here, and overall it was a nice set up. It was arguably in not the greatest part of town, but aside from attending the conference, we spent most of our time seeing the sights!

Our hotel was right across the street from the Orpheum Theater… that’s where “Wicked” and other big shows play at! This was about as close as I got to it, though. 
We took the MUNI streetcars down to Fisherman’s Wharf. Public transit like this is so fun! We didn’t ride the trolleys because they’re more expensive and you don’t get a transfer ticket, but these streetcars were plenty fun enough. 
It’s springtime somewhere in the world!! I loved that San Francisco had sunshine, palm trees, green, and blooming flowers!!!

Here I am at Pier 39!

Golden Gate Bridge from Pier 39. By the time we made it down on Thursday afternoon, the bridge and Alcatraz had fog settling on them. It was really beautiful with the lighting, and so fitting for SF!

Seagull at the Pier. How could I not fall in love with this place?

On Friday Shannon and I took off to spend the day seeing San Francisco. We got to see just about everything, and it was fun soaking in the local flavor. 
We hiked up Lombard Street, the “crookedest street” in the world! This section is really quite short. I didn’t realize before we started walking the city that San Francisco is built on several hills. Everyone there knows how to park on a hill! And it makes for a great aerobic workout too. I loved getting up here and seeing this amazing view of the city! 

Erica encounters the Pacific Ocean for the second time in her life. I vow that the next time I go, I’m getting wet!! San Francisco ocean isn’t really swimming ocean ever, especially in early March, so I contented myself with playing with the waves. 

Because everyone runs away from water looking like this. (What, me a dancer?? Why ever would you say that?)

I made sure to coordinate with the nifty ship in the background. 

What goes along with the beach? CHOCOLATE!! We actually visited Ghirardelli Square before we hit the beach, but the view looking back at it from here was fantastic. They gave out free samples of chocolate and I made sure to buy some extra, of course! We went back later that day for their famous ice cream sundaes: Presidio Passion all the way! It’s a miracle that I  managed to still fit in my clothes after that delicious monstrosity (which followed on the heels of a delicious and large Indian lunch). 

Hanging around with some California palms

We had to re-visit Pier 39 and see the sea lions!

Looking out to Alcatraz Island from Pier 39. Friday was a much clearer day. Next time I get to San Francisco I’ll have to take a trip out here. From what I heard, it takes a lot of the day to ferry out, tour the prison, and get back, so I’m okay with missing it on this first quick trip.

Great shot of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Pier, again with no fog. It looks so huge! Well, it is huge. I know because I walked across almost the whole thing….

Cool sailboat. When we walked the bridge, we could see tons of sailboats in the bay. That would be so fun to try one day!

So I presented my paper at the conference on Saturday, and afterwards I hurried to change into my I (heart) SF shirt for my final day on the town, this time with a native San Franciscan. I didn’t have much time, so we went for some delicious Mexican food, then headed over to the bridge.

Kyle!! It was so fun to spend Saturday afternoon with Kyle. He’s lived in SF for about 6 years and absolutely loves it, so he made a great guide.  His grandpa even helped get the Golden Gate Bridge built! You can see his name on a plaque on the first tower of the bridge.

The bridge gives you a great view back over San Francisco. (Don’t mind the wind.)

That’s the first tower (nearest to SF) with the plaque on it. And here I am on the bridge! At one point Kyle had me look down at the sidewalk. Every now and then there are small holes and you can look down and see all the way to the water! It was kind of trippy. There was also a telephone specifically for people contemplating jumping off the bridge. We opted to keep walking and not get too adventurous, hehe. 

As you get over to the Marin side of the bridge, you can look down and see this small building at the base. (We’re almost to the second tower at this point.) Kyle said he’s going to buy the place and live there one day. I don’t think he’ll have anyone fighting him for it, given the look of it currently. 🙂

And here we both are on the bridge, this time in front of the second tower. This is about where we had to turn and head back, so I could catch my flight. Boo. Next time I’ll have to get out to Baker’s Beach, which I’ve heard has great views of the bridge but isn’t flooded with tourists like Golden Gate Park is. 

San Francisco was such an amazing trip!! I had a great time at the conference presenting my paper and listening to others’ academic connections. The keynote speaker made an interesting connection between Manet’s paintings and the use of “high value” and “low value” to describe white and black, connecting that into a discussion of slavery. Shannon and Rebecca also had great presentations, and it really wows me that I’m in the same program as them! Sometimes I feel like I don’t quite fit in, but I just have a different specialty than the majority of people studying Humanities. While in SF we all went to see the San Francisco Ballet and it was amazing!! I haven’t actually seen a ton of ballet companies, but this was definitely the creme de la creme. I could go into raptures, but I was supposed to be writing my thesis instead of blogging, so I’ll save that for another post. I loved having fish and chips at the Pier, seeing all the cool things at Fisherman’s Wharf, chasing a streetcar for about 4 blocks (need to share that story too), the delicious food, the free mango lassi, the big-city atmosphere, and seeing Kyle. It was different seeing him while not touring with Clog America, but since he can’t go this year, this will have to suffice for now. 

Hooray for good friends, good food, and fun adventures! San Francisco has been the highlight of this everlastingly long winter, and I think it will always have a special place in my heart because of that. 
Categories: Uncategorized


Michelle · March 8, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Sounds like you had a great trip to SF! I love it there! Alcatraz is pretty cool, but I have to warn you…it smells like urine. Gross! Anyway, worth a trip to see it once at least. Glad you had fun!

Jenny Alama · March 9, 2011 at 3:50 am

what a fun trip! last time i went to san fran it was rainy and cloudy the whole time so i couldn't hardly see anything. but it was still fun! i'll have to go again when it looks like that.

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