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The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.

It is not the Golden Gate Bridge from movies, the legendary 125-year-old cable car or the notorious prison on Alcatraz Island that charm me.

For me, it has always been San Francisco’s steep slopes.

The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.

I have never been pleased with traffic jams, but being stuck in San Francisco, sometimes, is an interesting experience. The surroundings are so amazing that I want to spend more time attending to the simple things on roadside which we always miss when in a rush.

The most memorable drama is getting stuck on a 30% slope. Your car can roll back at anytime. The endless roads soar up to sky while cars roll slowly in a line like little ants going to their nest.

A new world appears 30 minutes from downtown which is known for its soaring buildings, west coast banking and financial centers, colorful classic The Painted Ladies - Victorian houses in San FranciscoThe painted ladiesVictorian houses , and Hippie streets.

In front of my eyes are the blue sky and waters of the bay sharing the name of the city. Unlike other visitors who enjoy fresh seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf or visiting the Vessels at Pier Hyde street San FranciscoVessels at Pier Hyde StreetMarine Museum among the fleets mooring at Hyde Street Harbor, I am drawn to the clear sky and yellow sunlight and decide to go in the opposite direction. The quiet bay is magnificent!

As a large and significant bay, San Francisco Bay is home to cruise ships, cargo ships, freighters, sailboats, yachts, military vessels. Sightseeing tours and cruises are provided by many businesses with inviting itineraries. Enjoy sunrise or sunset on the bay, savor good wine, and try scrumptious dishes prepared by talented chefs while indulging in gentle classical music.

The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.

After exploring the bay, I boarded a bus to continue my journey. I like the public transportation there very much. It is not only fast and cheap, but allows me to meet people from all walks of life. I have become familiar with this city after an extended stay there. There is one thing that I can’t take my mind off while travelling by bus. San Francisco has had its share of Black discrimination and Chinese discrimination, but nowadays, after buying their tickets, that young African Americans who like to “own” their territory often walk to the back of the bus reminds me of Martin Luther King and racial discrimination in 1950’s.

A colorful city

I visit The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.A small part of Sutro BathsSutro Baths which used to be the world’s largest indoor salt water pool. The pool is now in ruins after a fire in the summer of 1966. Its fantastic panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean makes Sutro Baths an attractive destination, but it is never crowded. Sutro Baths is beautiful in the sunshine, highlighting the tiny dots of people on the majestic uneven ground. At night, you can spread a mat on the ground and contemplate the stars.

San Francisco is home to many communities; therefore, cultural and racial diversity is one of its core values. According to a 2010 survey, 50% of the city’s population comes from another continent. This is perhaps why festivals are held frequently to honor heritage, connect communities, and promote intercultural exchange.

It is also well-known for its Folsom Street Fair, a September sex festival alongside many festivals throughout the year which attract visitors from around the world.

The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.
The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.

As a multiracial city, San Francisco boasts an abundant range of cuisine. The largest culinary festival was once held at Pier 70. I was really surprised seeing how old factories are turned into unique festive venues. The area around Pier 70 used to be a shipyard during the Gold Rush. The pier is restored to ensure safety while retaining its classic style. The factory is quite large and can accommodate about 100 food stalls. Each food stall represents a distinctive culinary region, be it Italy, France, Mexico, Japan, India, and more. The fleeting scent of Korean kimchi hotpot or crispy Mexican tacos teases visitors waiting in line for their food.

Take the breeze

Before the Golden Gate Bridge was built, the entrance to the Bay had been called the Golden Gate Strait. The Strait was the narrow entrance between the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay. It then was named by explorer and US Army Officer John C Fremont in 1846 before the discovery of gold. The bridge frequently appears in movies and must be the most photographed place in San Francisco.

I happily call  my experience on the bridge “take the breeze”. It’s pretty windy and foggy in San Francisco, esp. in the summertime. Strolling on the bridge 67m above the strait is not interesting enough for me. “the Golden Gate BridgeBiking on the Golden Gate BridgeRide a bike , and stop anytime you want,” a local recommended. The separate lanes for pedestrians and cyclists ensure safety. If you want to walk, the bus will drop you off at the foot of the bridge and you can travel the 1,970m across and back. Of course, riding a bike allows you to go further and be more flexible.

The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.

To fully explore and enjoy the beauty of every corner in this city, a few days are not enough. I stayed with the city by the Bay as long stayed as I could to experience the dynamic local culture. I saw myself among the throngs of people rushing through downtown with my bag and a cup of coffee. I felt my face getting hot when I saw people naked for the first time in Castro theater in Castro district San FranciscoCastro theatreCastro district . My feelings sank upon noticing homeless people lying on the pavement when I walked to school. If someone ever creates a list of San Francisco’s fans qualities, I would be the most loyal and enthusiastic one.

The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.

Useful information

The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.
Year round temperature ranges from 6 to 23 Celsius degree. Summer, from June to September, is the best time to travel = dry + airy. Summer months: the daylight hours are longer.

A normal summer day: foggy then the sky gets clear and warm. From 4 to 5 pm: windy.

Tip: Please dress in layers and don’t forget to bring a coat in case the weather changes.

The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.
Bart: provides easy access to downtown locations and transportation transfer centers depending upon where you need to go. Strongly recommend to stop at Powell station if you’re from SFO since it’s located in the center. Ticket: US$8.95/way/SF Airport-Powell Station.

The cable car: operates on 3 lines. Hyde-Power is the best line as it goes through many hills making you feel like riding a roller coaster. Please stand/sit outside for best feelings and scenes. Consider buying daily/weekly pass because it saves more money. Ticket price: US$7/turn.

The Muni Metro: allows you to travel through different districts. Ticket: US$2.5/turn.

The Muni buses: run around the city. Don’t be afraid of getting lost. Tell the driver and he will drop you at the nearest station. Ticket: US$2.5/turn.

The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.
You name it and SF will serve it. Chinatown with Chinese cuisine, Little Italy North Beach with an array of Mediterranean dishes, and restaurants on the Bay with fresh seafood awaiting you. You can find restaurants specializing in authentic food from Korea, Japan, India, etc. everywhere in the city.

Tips: use YELP to figure out reviews and recommendations of top restaurants, shopping, nightlife, entertainment, services and more.

The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.
There has been no direct route from Vietnam to San Francisco, so you have to transit through some countries. From Hanoi or HCMC, you can fly with Eva Airways or China Air (transit in Taipei), Korean Air or Asiana Air transit in Seoul), as well as Japan Air (transit in Tokyo).
The foggy slopes of San Francisco – Eng ver.
Admire the sunset in San Francisco: Stand on the Twin Peaks and enjoy the panoramic beautiful view of the city at 282m.

It does not matter which time of the year, but it is pretty windy most afternoon and bloody cold in the winter time, so please bring jacket.

You can get there by car or bus. By car, it will be easier since you do not need to walk. If using bus, it is about 10 mins walking from the nearest station.

AnhThy(Tea) started to travel at a very young age, but things get serious during her years living abroad where she was exposed to majestic nature and wonderful people from all walks of life. Apart from photography, writing becomes part of her life in which she relives all of the memories built up along the way, and in which she can become as many different characters as she always wants to be. Following her journey to discover more of the personality that comes across in her work.

1 Comment

  1. Jobs says:

    Keep on writing, great job!

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