Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fisherman's Wharf 

Picked up my passport this morning, then took the cable car down to the wharf. The cable cars have gotten expensive. When I was here back in 2002, it cost just 2 dollars to hop on and ride. I guess they have decided to use the cable cars single-handedly to pull California out of its economic slump. They are not designed for that kind of a load. But they can carry a lot of people. The cable cars are a very unique mode of transportation. Don't know of anything like it in the world. They were invented by Andrew Hallidie in 1873. The cable cars have no engines. They are pulled along by cables under the street, which allows them to climb very steep hills--much steeper than what could be navigated by a horse and carriage. It just doesn't do to go to San Francisco without riding them. At the beginning of every cable car line is a long line of people waiting to get on. But since I was alone, I just walked up the street a few blocks and hopped on when it came by. One of the benefits of being single, I guess.

Fisherman's Wharf is a popular tourist area, but it is also a docking area for cruise boats, and the final resting place of an old World War II submarine called the Pampanito. Lots of good food down there, but it isn't exactly cheap. Last time I was in San Francisco, I took the cruise out on the bay under the Golden Gate bridge. I have still never been to Alcatraz--I mean actually on the island. But I am going to save that one for next time, I guess. One thing you see more of in the area of Fisherman's Wharf is coffee bars. Found a nice coffee bar in the Borders bookstore at the end of the cable car run. Found a good book, too.

I guess the wharf is interesting to me, because my first trip to San Francisco, I came in on a ship. Just another port of call. So my earliest memory of San Francisco always starts from the water. But it's also a pretty place. San Francisco Bay tends to be a bit breezy, so the air is clear. Blue sky and crisp clear air. Like the fall in Beijing (and not at all like the summer in Beijing). Or like the Tibetan Plateau in the summer time.

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