This year, I’ve had some life-changing trips. I went to Las Vegas for the first time to attend my first EDC ever. While all my friends I went with went back to Toronto, I flew to Indonesia to see my family. This homecoming trip was quite special as I don’t know when I’ll be coming home next. About two months after I came back to Canada, I went on another trip, this time with Kyle.
I’ve wanted to do a road trip for a long time, but since we only had five days to spend, we looked for destinations where neither of us has been to, that is not too far, but still outside of Canada. Long story short, we decided on Los Angeles and San Francisco.
We spent about two days in SF. After skimming through forums and travel sites, we got the impression that driving is not the best option. I’m also against uber-ing, lyft-ing or cabbing everywhere. So we decided to get a hotel room at a great location and do a hop on hop off bus tour to get around the city. Thankfully, we got a great deal at the Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf and the tourist bus stop was a 2-minute walk away!
This is the view from our Lyft as we approached our hotel:
We paid around USD $96 for two 24-hour tickets and hurried up to the top to find good seats. My first impression of the city was that it must be brimming with tourists… because it’s so pretty and picturesque. It has that effortless old-world charm that’s not in a rush to “grow up” and be modern or turn into glass-clad skyscrapers. The iconic trams are still transporting people up and down the hilly roads, while the Victorian houses are well preserved.
Our bus route also included Haight and Ashbury, a neighbourhood in San Francisco known to be the birthplace of the hippie culture. It was named after Henry Haight, an exchange banker, and Munroe Ashbury, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in the 1800s. Both were involved in the early planning of the area and the Golden Gate Park.
When it was time for us to refuel, we jumped off the bus at Union Square and walked a few blocks south west to an Asian restaurant that my friend recommended to me. During the 15-minute walk to this restaurant, the air smelled foul. It was that kind of part of town. This better be worth it, I thought.
We arrived at Hai Ky Mi Gia and I was consoled by the fact that the restaurant was bursting at its seams with patrons. We lined up for another 15 minutes and got a seat near the door.
Thank heavens that the food delivered! 10/10 would recommend! I’ve been looking for this specific kind of dry noodle in Toronto, but I haven’t been able to. It’s one of the many things from home that I can’t find or cook.
Once we were done eating, we avoided the road we passed and decided to explore the adjoining area a little bit. Before jumping on another bus, I snapped some shots for the gram.
The highlight of the entire bus tour was – of course – the Golden Gate Bridge! It’s a majestic bridge that did not disappoint. Nor did the weather. I was worried about the fog because it was increasingly reducing visibility our entire way there. The San Franciscan wind prevailed and blew the fog away and revealed the Golden Gate Bridge!
As you can see below, the sky was clear and blue. While there were a lot of other tourists taking picture of the bridge, it is fairly easy to get a shot of yourself without anyone in it – there are a lot of elevated spots to stand.
Another highlight of the trip was visiting the largest Chinatown outside Asia and the oldest in North America. Below is the iconic Dragon’s Gate that marks the official entrance of the district.
Aside from the usual souvenir shops, dim sum places, and other Asian restaurants, there were temples inside as well as dungy bars and lounges.
Now that I was more full and less hangry, we went back to Union Square and joined the huge crowd. There were artists selling their paintings, a group of couples dancing (Foxtrot?) to a panel of judges, tourists lining up to take a picture in front of the ‘hearts’, exhibit A:
For dinner, we went back to our hotel’s area and decided to get seafood cocktails and some fried bites from a nearby pier. We went back to our room and packed our bags in preparation for our check out in the morning. We had a red-eye flight the next day and we would spend the day at the infamous Alcatraz Prison … but that is another post just because of how much exciting history the state penitentiary has!
Our first day in San Francisco was packed with activities and places to see. We had a good taste of the city, but did we leave our hearts in San Francisco? As for me, I think it still belongs to Toronto <3