San Francisco, Day 1

[Link to Pics: here]

This year I decided to take the Daughter to San Francisco. In past years I’ve taken my kids on a few trips for Spring Break and I figure it’s not going to be very much longer before she is making her own plans for Spring Break, so I thought I’d make the most of the opportunity.

We travelled down San Francisco on a Saturday on a flight scheduled to leave around 11:20. When we got there we checked our luggage and picked up our boarding passes. While I had a seat, the Daughter’s pass said “See Gate Agent”. We got there with more than 90 minutes to spare. I tried to ask a Gate Agent for help but was told that not any Gate Agent could help us, only “our” gate agent and that person would be there an hour before we left.

Well, an hour before came and went and no one was there to help. At a half hour before, they started boarding and we still didn’t have seats for both of us. Fifteen minutes before, they were asking for volunteers to give up seats for a later flight. It looked at first like it’d be the next day, so I didn’t want to go home and try again the next day, even for a pair of tickets to wherever. Flight time arrives and they’re busy upping the offer, throwing in first class tickets to San Fran leaving at 8pm that evening plus free tickets. I probably should have considered that, but I wanted to get there and start the vacation, so I let someone else pony up their seat. We were the last people on the flight.

The weather in San Francisco is beautiful. Blue skies, good weather, temperature around 60 degrees, light wind.

When I tried to rent our car, I was told that Priceline had rented us a car (and charged us) for one more day than we would be there. And if we wanted to get the over-charge back, we’d have to address that with Priceline. Whee.

We left the airport in Oakland and headed for San Francisco. I had the family GPS unit, so it was nice to have that as a backup and resource.

We came across the bridge from Oakland to San Francisco to find the traffic coming together for a toll road. Whoops. I had no cash. Crap!

I hit the Daughter up for whatever she had, which consisted of $2 in change. How much was the toll? We couldn’t tell. We inched forward with me wondering what I was going to do if it was more.

Sure enough, the toll was $4. Double Crap! We pulled up and I explained the situation to the toll taker. Nice lady. I explained that I had a debit card or $2 and she told me neither of those would do the job. Then she threw me a bone and said that I could pass through now and they’d bill me. Yeah! Let’s do that. But she pointed out they’d charge me more. I can afford a couple bucks. How much more? $27 total. What the heck! Yup, $27 to get through the toll booth if you don’t have cash. Dejected I told her that I guess I didn’t have a choice. She asked me if it was the first time across this bridge and I told her we had just arrived in town. Being a wonderful person, she waved me on. Yay!

The GPS took us right to the hotel via the Embarcadero. Slow, but a nice view as we looked at things along the waterfront.

When we got to the hotel, located conveniently near Fisherman’s Wharf, we went in to register and discovered the second surprise from Priceline: apparently when you book via Priceline, you get a room with a single Queen bed. Yeah, not going to work. How much to get a different room? Oh, they’re happy to help me. They’ve got a suite for just $90 a night more. What the hell, again! Yeah, I don’t think Priceline is gonna happen again. After a bit of complaining and negotiating, the lady at the front desk was nice enough to drop it to $50 a night. *Sigh*

After dropping our stuff off in the room (nice, but not spectacular for a suite), we decided to head out. First stop Pier 39! Must do touristy things!

Nothing spectacular, but it was fun to see the Sea Lions, look at touristy stuff and all the entertainment along the waterfront.

After that, we headed out to the North Bedach area and a nice Pizza place on the corner of Union Street and Grant. A nice walk from Pier 39. Great pizza.

The Daughter is a vegetarian and so we did a half and half pizza. Simple pepperoni for me, she chose olives and *shudder* pineapple.

Time for the pineapple (and coconut) aside.

Pineapples and coconuts are not meant to be eaten by man. I have proof of this, at least if you believe in God. Follow my logic: God put pineapples and coconuts on islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. About as bloody far out in the middle of nowhere as he could put them and still invent them. Clear signs of someone trying to fill an ecosystem or possibly just tired saying: Oh, well, no one will eat *this*. In the case of pineapples, he surrounded them in an impervious shell like a pine cone. The things has armor! In the case of coconuts, he placed them up in trees that shouldn’t be climbed, clearly, because they have no limbs and have to be shimmied up by people in great physical shape. Then, once they come down, they’re a nut! A hard, nasty shell covers the coconut. You have to bust it open with tools. What more indication, short of the having the international symbol for “not food” emblazoned on the outside do you need!? And, if you don’t believe in God, then you’ll have to take my word for it: Pineapple and coconut are nasty.

Back from aside.

So she ate olives and pineapple on her pizza. She said it was good, but she’s a teenager, so her word can’t be trusted because her forebrain hasn’t fully developed.

After that, we walked to Chinatown to look around for a while. Chinatown is always fun.

From there we walked up to California and Powell to catch the cable car back to the hotel (or nearby). I hung on the outside, because that’s just fun, while the Daughter sat on a seat and said perhaps she’d hang on the outside next time.

Lots of walking, lots of interesting things seen. That’s why I didn’t want to give up the day for a free ticket.

We got back to our room around 9pm and I crashed (hard) by 10pm. A full day, but a good day!



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