Hello Vacation! Yes, it has finally arrived. KG has been doing so many fun things this week (you can read about them over at Yukon Girl in the World), meanwhile this has been my view:
I shouldn’t complain. I learned a lot and got a free flight to San Francisco. Plus I saw a few cool things. We had a free night on Wednesday and I was able to venture into the city to hang out at the wharf. All the detail of that can be found at the end of KG’s Trains, a Crab and the Buena Vista post. I also drove through the Stanford campus and to some of the technological hotspots in the area. Although neither looks quite as cool as the Google Headquarters, I scoped out both the Facebook and Apple campuses. I loved the sign outside the Facebook compound…no label, just a big “Like” thumbs-up…and the address…1 Hacker Way.
I had to head into the office Friday morning (we did mock sales presentations) but was back to the hotel before KG had even finished packing up. After checking out and struggling through refueling the car we headed for the airport rental car return. I was not brave enough to take my Impala over the San Francisco hills…that just seemed far too stressful! Instead we will be pedestrians for the weekend. After struggling through car return (we are semi-professional strugglers) I totally outsmarted the airport train system. KG is a little weary of trains right now, having had some wrong station, wrong time and missed stop issues during the week, so she was willing to ride the entire loop in order to go back one stop. This was not acceptable to me! So I shuffled her out and onto a reverse direction train! Yay me!
The closest BART station to our hostel was on Powell St. This is right at the cable car turnaround, so there were hordes of tourists crowding the sidewalks. It was then about a 20 minute uphill-while-pulling-suitcases walk to the hostel location. I’m totally making it sound worse than it was; it was one of the smaller hills and we strategically took the less crowded streets. Our hostel is a usahostels hostel…how many times can I fit “hostel” into one sentence? Check it out here. You may notice from the photos that it looks very nice. They are not facetious, this place is awesome. Our room is a fine-sized 4 person dorm. The bathrooms are clean and the kitchen is amply supplied with dishes/storage space. Every bed has a plug in & light beside it and each person gets a locker with another plug in inside. That’s 2 double-plugs per person! It’s totally unheard of in the hostel world! Does anyone remember the posts where Justine & I described sitting in hostel hallways while our phones charged because that was the only power point in the whole building? After 4 months of hosteling in Europe I feel qualified to say that this is a top-rate facility.
KG was a little hesitant about the whole hostel thing, as this was her first time. What was her reaction? “It’s nicer than Slanty House” which was the nickname of the house she lived in for 2 years (on & off) in and after university.
By the time we were organized and heading out to explore our roommates hasn’t arrived. We decided to leave thea note, hoping they’d join us in some nighttime debauchery. This became a whole thing… You can read about the note at Welcome New Roomates!! and it’s origin story at Is reverse stalking a thing??.
We decided to walk to Chinatown. It’s not far from our hostel and is an obvious choice when approaching dinner time. The San Francisco Chinatown has a couple of major claims to fame. First, it is the first North American “Chinatown.” Established in 1848 it became an important place for people to retain their heritage. It became so important that this iconic portion of the city now draws more visitors annually than the Golden Gate Bridge. Second, SF Chinatown has the largest Chinese population outside of Asia. The population of the area is over 100,000. We entered through the dragon guarded gates. Actually I’m lying…We entered by side street and had to back-track in order to do it right.
We chose our supper location on a recommendation. On Tuesday KG had toured around with a business contact of her mom’s and he gave her lots of tips on where to walk, eat and visit. Apparently after laborious study he had deemed Great Eastern Restaurant as the best choice for authentic cuisine. He did not steer us wrong. We ordered the dinner for 2 with an addition of chow mien, not because we didn’t think we’d have enough food but because we really wanted chow mien. Our dinner for 2 could have probably fed 4 . The plates just kept coming with more and more yummy goodness. Check out the parade of mouth-watering food photos:
We were hoping for some post-dinner coffee to perk us up before the epic evening we had planned. We needed to be on Broadway at 8:30pm so we charted a course in that direction while keeping an eye out for a coffee shop. We found a Starbucks a couple of blocks from our final destination, but after setting up our spot we were informed they were set to close in 5 minutes. What? It wasn’t even 6 yet! A search of my Starbucks app told us that out of the 5 Starbucks in our general area only 1 was open past 6pm…and it was only open until 7:30. Naturally we headed to that one and again set up shop. It wasn’t open as late as we would have liked but it would get us close to party time 😉 This time we actually ordered and got to work on blog posts, trip research and post card writing. But an hour prior to close they threw us out! Ok that’s a little dramatic, we were asked nicely to leave. The only Starbucks to be open “late” and it was closing early? A Yelp search told us we could find one other coffee shop that was open “late” (aka 8pm). The Brioche Bakery & Cafe was an adorable little place with delicious chai lattes…and an inexplicable 7:30pm closing time this one time only. Despite our break time being a coffee shop tour we managed to get some blogging done & posted.
As a weird side note, while sitting in the last coffee shop a group of cyclists went by. I know you’re picturing 10 to 15 people, but I mean like a hundred…and some of them naked. There were many just normal folks, but also some in costume, a multitude of topless people and couple naked as the day they were born…it was very odd.
Because we were out on the street with an hour to spare we decided to take part in one of my favorite pastimes: sitting on stairs in public places. The stairs in question were actually the side walk of a street running up a hill so steep that people couldn’t be trusted to walk on it simply as an incline. It was a lovely perch for killing time before The Beer Olympics! Such an epic thing to be doing with our evening! My Olympic dreams would finally be realized! Basically it was the best possible way to spend our night and we had an amazing time. If you want to know what shenanigans ensued KG is covering it over on her blog…Please right now go check out The Beer Olympics because it is chalked full of hilarious, ridiculous and random stories 🙂
Love & Luck,