The Houses of San Francisco

September 20, 2015 § 7 Comments

The most striking thing to me about San Francisco, apart from the hills, is how uniformly cute and old the buildings are. For example, this bewitching beauty looks like it’s straight out of a picture book:

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I wondered, though, what these houses looked like on the inside.

During my visit, I stayed with Kaiti, who lives in an unassuming apartment building with bay windows. Bay windows are ubiquitous in this town!

She told me her building dated back to the 1920s; the floors and doors creaked so loudly it was like screeching. When I was home by myself on Monday, I could hear someone above me walking around, opening and shutting drawers, and thought to myself it could very well be a ghost in a building with this much history. (I might’ve been delirious.)

Anyway, I was enamored with some of the colorful Victorian rowhouses we came across, but I feel like it must be a lot of work to upkeep, plus I don’t like living in old buildings, so I just appreciated them from the outside.

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So cute!

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Such intricate details!

They certainly make the buildings in NYC look bland.

This pink house has seen better days, but just the thought of living in a pink house (THE DREAM!) made me smile.

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We also saw some very large and ornate gates (the one on the right was like 12 feet tall; you can see the tiny shape of the actual door in the bottom half).

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Kaiti decided to pose on a few stoops, like we were just friendly neighbors.

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Scalloped and baby blue — SO PRETTY

Vibrant and McDonald's colored

Vibrant and McDonald’s colored

This house has wings?!

This house has wings?!

SF Day 1: The Agony & the Ecstasy
SF Day 2: Staying Alive
SF Day 3.1: A New Morning

SF Day 3.2: Walk, Eat Until You Die
SF Day 4: At Last, the Bridge

San Francisco Day 4: At Last, the Bridge

September 17, 2015 § 5 Comments

I saved the Golden Gate Bridge for my last full day because I figured it would involve a lot of walking, which I was finally up for doing by Wednesday.

Kaiti and I started our day at Turtle Tower, a well-known Vietnamese restaurant in the Tenderloin area. She recommended I get their chicken noodle soup, which was good, but came with so many noodles that they sucked up all the soup before I had finished even half the bowl!

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While planning for my trip, I had read that Tenderloin was to be avoided, but I couldn’t be sure how sketchy it really was. Kaiti seemed to be fine walking through it by herself.

After our brunch, we walked around the area trying to buy a box of tissues for our drippy noses (I had forgotten to bring my usual cache), and I decided that those cautioning against traveling through Tenderloin had the right idea. Everything was run-down and far less cute or well-maintained compared to the rest of the city. There were also a surprising number of Vietnamese restaurants — interesting that these businesses coexist peacefully alongside the sketchy Tenderloin population?

Random passport cover on the street

Random passport cover on the street

We finally found some tissues at a Walgreens. The ramshackle bodegas we tried were no help.

Then, onward to the bridge! For some reason the address that Kaiti put into her Lyft app directed us to the other side of the bridge, so we drove back and forth across it for no reason (including paying the extra tolls?!). At least it saved us the effort of walking across it I guess.

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I saw quite a few of these GoCars around the city. Three wheels with hardly any visible protection from the elements/other cars — doesn’t look very safe to me?!

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San Francisco Day 3.2: Walk, Eat Until You Die

September 14, 2015 § 5 Comments

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I didn’t have definite plans for the afternoon, which is why I somehow agreed to the grueling hike over and up to Coit Tower from the Ferry Building (I think Kaiti was trying to kill me). It’s only a mile from the Ferry Building, but the last bit consists of 400 stairs, and I really thought I was going to die. I would’ve been fine if I weren’t sick, but alas, my body barely managed the climb.

Fresh-faced at the beginning of our journey

Fresh-faced at the beginning of our journey

So far away T__T

Halfway to the tower, but still so far away T__T

I took a lot of breaks LOL

I took a lot of breaks LOL

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UGHHH KILL MEEEE

Blackberries on the way up?

Blackberries on the way up

The views at the top of Telegraph Hill were a small consolation. The bottom level of Coit Tower had a cool wraparound mural and small gift shop. We didn’t go up the tower elevator because we didn’t want to wait in line, and sadly, we did not see or hear any parrots.

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Looooong Bay Bridge

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San Francisco Day 3.1: A New Morning

September 11, 2015 § 6 Comments

By Tuesday, I felt a bit better — still congested, achy and now coughing, but able to move around more and finally bring my camera (Olympus OM-D E-M5) out in the afternoon for some better quality photos.

Kaiti and I started our day early, heading out at 7 a.m. for a double whammy breakfast at Craftsman and Wolves and Tartine.

C&W is known for their Rebel Within, a poached egg inside a muffin speckled with green onions, which was reminiscent of Chinese scallion rolls (hua juan). I also couldn’t resist picking up a fig tart because they were so pretty!

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We got to Tartine before 8 a.m. and there was already a line forming outside. I was full, but we ordered a cup of bread pudding, a mini lemon tart and a pain au jambon (ham croissant).

I’m always drawn to bread pudding on dessert menus because I love bread and pudding. Yet somehow I’m never completely satisfied, I guess because I always expect it to be breadier? More like French toast maybe? Tartine’s bread pudding had the texture of watery scrambled eggs. I’m not saying it was bad, but I probably shouldn’t order bread pudding anymore.

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San Francisco Day 2: Staying Alive

September 8, 2015 § 5 Comments

I spent most of my second day convalescing in Kaiti’s bed while she was at work. #Mondayblues

In the morning, I managed to walk around the corner for some breakfast (and to buy three more boxes of tissues at CVS).

Flour & Co was a cute little bakery where I ordered a bowl of oatmeal, which I figured was good sick-person food. It was humongous. I also grabbed a lemon olive oil biscuit to nibble on throughout the day.

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For dinner, Kaiti and I went to Palm House in the Marina neighborhood. At 5:30 p.m., the place was practically empty. The decor was super cute, with colorful birdcages hanging from the windowed ceiling. If I had a house with a sunroom, I’d totally decorate it like this!

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Smiling through the sickness

Smiling through the sickness

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San Francisco Day 1: The Agony & the Ecstasy

September 5, 2015 § 5 Comments

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I was SO excited for my trip to San Francisco last week…until I started feeling sick the night before. By the morning of my departure, my sore/scratchy throat had developed into a full-blown cold, complete with aches and congestion. Great.

At least I had Departures to keep me company. (The website is lame but the print magazine is superb.)

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Normally when I fly, I prefer to sit by the window because I don’t use the bathroom often, but I had booked my flight on Expedia and they didn’t allow me to choose my own seat. At the airport, the guy at the counter said the only available window seat was all the way in the back, so I decided not to move.

Luckily for me, by the time everyone was on the plane, the two seats next to me were miraculously empty despite the rest of the flight being full!

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YAAAAAAAAAAAS

One straggler came aboard at the last minute, stopped by my row, checked his ticket and kept on walking. I cheered silently and envisioned lying down to sleep peacefully…until the flight attendants decided to move the guy back to my row for whatever reason!

So much for my idyllic plans. Without a window to lean my head against, I barely slept at all. It was my first time flying Virgin economy, and I was astonished to discover that they weren’t going to feed us at all on the six-hour flight. Not even peanuts! Food was for purchase only. That just seems inhumane?? And certainly makes first class look extra enviable…

After a sleepless flight of endless shifting and nose-blowing — I wasn’t sure if my sore butt was from being sick or being old — I took a taxi to Kaiti’s place downtown. I noticed that the door of the car had a little mirror, which I assumed was to prevent passengers from hitting cyclists on the way out? Pretty cool. Never seen it in NYC before. We just get a sticker that says “Look before you exit.”

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