Saturday 1 September 2012

California Part 1: San Francisco

So my family decided to go to California for a family trip. I haven't gone on any major vacation since 3-5 years ago? It's about time. We drove to Buffalo and boarded the plane from there. It took about 1.5 hours to go to Chicago for a stopover and then 4.5 hours from Chicago to San Francisco. The trip was 10 days long and it was fantastic. The plan was to start off at San Francisco and head south to San Diego, making stops along the way.

I brought most of my photo gear with me. I didn't bring my camera bag because of luggage restrictions though--I stuffed everything into my backpack. I brought my tripod, 40D, Sigma 10-20 and Canon 50mm 1.8. I also brought my manual 28mm 2.8 lens, but I never ended up using it. I brought my filters and 580EX II flash, and that's pretty much everything. 

 Elderly man polishing shoes. I didn't know that this occupation existed in North America...
 On board American Eagle to Chicago. I get all excited when I'm in a plane (dork), but that's because it means I'm going somewhere new. 
 Obligatory window seat shot. 
 Chicago O'Hare airport
 En route to SF. I'm guessing that these are the Sierra Nevada mountains, but I'm totally not sure at all. Photocred to my big brother for these ones
 The minivan we rented for the trip. It was quite comfy actually. I'm not used to having that much space during road trips. We're usually scrunched like sardines in the back seat of the CR-V (since I have 2 brothers).
South SF area. There are a lot of VW Beetles around these parts.
The pointy building. Here you can kind of see how steep the roads are in SF. Crazy.
 Entering Chinatown.
 Selling all kinds of jewelry and other knick-knacks.
 A streetcar? The ones in Toronto are on rails, so I'm not sure if this is a replica or something..
 Man looking at books. I really like this shot actually. I'm not much of a street shooter.
 Twice-cooked pork at a Hunan resto in Chunatown. Pretty good.
All hail the pointy building. Almost got run over by a tour bus while taking this shot. It's clearly not my fault that I stood in the bus lane, of course not... 
We had to park here in order to walk over to the famous Lombard St. I am not exaggerating when I say that the road was at a 45 degree incline. It was insanity. The pedestrians that live here must be in good shape.
 Houses on Lombard Street. Pretty luxurious. Beautiful homes on one hell of a crazy street. The cars in SF must not live for very long...
 View from the bottom. My dad didn't want to drive down the street b/c the lineup was so long.

 Did I really read that sign properly?
 Three 45-degree incline roads consecutively. You can't see the steepness from this photo, but trust me. It was crazy.
 Ghirardelli chocolate store in SF. I'm pretty sure that they make the chocolates in SF. Heaven on Earth for chocolate lovers.
I think my favourite is the Sea Salt Soiree.

A huge church in the middle of the city.
Fishermans Wharf. 
A floating restaurant and Alcatraz in the background. My brothers and I wanted to go but my parents aren't interested in that stuff. 
 Boudin Sourdough store by the wharf. Bread everywhere! They make them fresh on site.
 Cutie turtles made from sourdough.
 These were super expensive, but super good. Crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. Nom.

 This is how the transport bread from the bakery to the bistro beside it.

 The seagulls here are pretty big, just saying.
 They sold all sorts of seafood here. Didn't personally find them appetizing though.
Don't you agree?

 Foggy, cloudy, blah day in SF. It's pretty much like that everyday. It's also friggin COLD there. It's pretty cold for California standards.
 From the other end.
Golden hour at the Golden Gate! I wish the people weren't in this photo though, oh well. It was freezing and I didn't want to wait for them to leave. 
Goodbye San Francisco. You were truly something else!

I thought that SF would be a lot more glamourous to tell you the truth. To be honest, the way the buildings were arranged were so crowded and  unstructured. I definitely did not expect it. It reminded me of the Favela, but way nicer obviously. The roads were also insane. I guess there's a certain charm to this city that I haven't felt anywhere else. I can see why some people love living here. It definitely has an atmosphere unlike anywhere else in the world. Given an opportunity, would I live here? Probably. Just give me a free lifetime supply of brakes and stronger leg muscles to walk up those hills.

Next stop: Yosemite National Park.



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