Getting my bearings

I start work tomorrow so I though I would do a recon. of my commute. A Bart train into San Francisco- Montgomery station, about a 10 minute walk to the base of the Transamerica Pyramid- this ridiculous but endearing landmark:

After this very straightforward walk I was surprised how much San Francisco reminded me of Melbourne- both have trams/ streetcars/ trolley-buses, both have lots of Victorian architecture funded by gold-rush booms at more or less the same time, both are a nice mix of big city and liveable city. San Francisco has really surprised me by how clean and graffiti free it is, and people seem nice. Twice people stopped to ask me if I was lost.

I walked down to Embarcadero to see the piers. Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharf was pretty tacky- lots of tourist tat, but not really sleazy. Full of really old people from some massive cruise ship that is stuck in San Francisco (the “Carnival Splendour“; too big to go through the Panama Canal- it looks like a building on its side). It actually reminded me of the fake ‘main street’ you’d find in an amusement park. You can see Alcatraz across the bay. it’s really close, what an awful thing to be that close to the city if you were locked up there. I missed the sea lions, I’ll save them for another day.

I then walked around the bay so I could see the Golden Gate bridge. It’s orange and looks a lot like the Bay Bridge (to Oakland) which I took lots of photos of thinking “why isn’t it orange?”

The hills here are ridiculous. I heard ‘steep’ but I thought ‘fat-american-who-drives-to-the-letterbox’ so not very steep at all, but was I a sweaty mess who was proved wrong, a 27% gradient wrong (for comparison Greenhill Road has a max. gradient of 9%):

I caught a cable car and got sucked in for a 5 minute trip that cost $5.00 (thieving bastards) to Union Square, where all the shops are. The big department stores are ritzy- Bloomingdales looks like a fancier David Jones, and even the in-store Dior shop has a concierge. On behalf of my little girls I went to the Disney store, half the shop is “Disney Princess” stuff -if they saw it they would’ve had a glitter stroke.

Anyway, a nice long day sightseeing in beautiful unseasonably warm weather (mid 20’s celsius). The TV just had an ad for ‘Ihop’ – International House of Pancakes, with all you can eat pancakes from $4.95. I also noticed that people waiting for the BART train line up where the platform markers show where the doors of the train will open. What a civilised place:

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