Monday, July 21, 2008

My Day in S.F.

I spent yesterday with my good friend from high school. She now lives 2 miles from The Westin St. Francis where I was staying. Heather and I took a cable car from the hotel to Fisherman's Wharf. I wanted Heather to take a picture of me holding a box of Rice-a-Roni and hanging off the car, but she didn't want to look like a stupid tourist. And I didn't have any Rice-a-Roni. And you can't take pictures while you're on a cable car. I really wanted to take some pictures, but I was afraid if I let go, I'd go rolling back and knock over a whole slew of people like so many bowling pins. Seriously, those streets are steep! You could totally get a workout from climbing up Nob (or Snob, as Heather calls it) Hill.

We also saw Lombard Street. I didn't get a picture of it, but click that link for a photo. Seriously, click it! Crazy, huh? People live on that street! Locals, of course, avoid it, but tourists line up to drive down the street so they can say they did it. We walked around Fisherman's Wharf and went to Ghirardelli Square. Mmmmm, chocolate. The smell of chocolate was a bit obscured by the smell of a burning building though. Seriously, a good dozen firefighters and a huge arsenal of firetrucks were rushing to the square as smoke billowed out from one of the buildings. As the firefighters marched through the square, I screamed, "Save the chocolate! Oh, for the love of God, save the chocolate!!!!!!!!!!!!!" What? You would've done the same.





Next, we had lunch at Boudin. Yummy sourdough. They have things like Caesar salad - in sourdough bread. Clam chowder - in sourdough bread. Crab cakes - in sourdough bread, a hamburger - in sourdough bread. A sourdough baguette - in sourdough bread. When you walk outside, you can watch through the windows as they bake bread. And there's an exhaust fan that blows the most delicious, fresh-baked bread aroma out onto the street.

After passing a cow and a dancing ice cream sundae, we walked on down to Pier 39. What a fun, touristy place. There were dozens and dozens of shops and restaurants there. You could book an ocean tour there, get a snack, do some shopping, people watch, and just hang out.







After doing some more walking around and shopping, we took a cab over to an Italian section of town where they have streets with really long names...



There, we sat outside, people watched, and sipped our fancy Italian coffees hot chocolate. The reason Heather ordered hot chocolate is because she didn't want too much caffeine. The reason I ordered hot chocolate is because I'm coffee-stupid. I have no clue what anything is and I'm afraid they'll look at me like I'm an idiot when I order a latte cappacino macchiato grande iced vanilla low-fat espresso chai steamed decaf.
When we were recharged and ready to do some more walking, we headed to China Town where there's shopping galore!!! We were in heaven! We decided that, had our husbands been with us, they would've ditched us and found a sports bar immediately. We had fun browsing in the stores and I spent a small fortune on souvenirs for the kiddos.


Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody...


And I got these totally cute earrings for myself! Score!


I totally rushed back to Union Square and my hotel so I could get my luggage from the bell station, repack some, freshen up a little, and catch a cab to the airport so I wouldn't miss my flight. Unfortunately my flight was delayed. I don't get this- it was supposed to be a 4 hour flight that left at 6:30 Pacific time. Because we were so delayed, the pilot said, "We're going to try to make up time. We should arrive in Chicago in 3 1/2 hours." OK, so if they can fly to Chicago in 3 1/2 hours, why don't they always go that fast? Why does it usually take 4 hours? Why???

It was actually a nice flight because I got an aisle seat and had an empty seat beside me! As the plane backed away from the gate, the plane made a loud clunking noise and I said sarcastically, jokingly, "Well, that sounds good." The guy by the window looked at me like I'd never set foot outside my house been on a plane before and said condescendingly, "It's supposed to sound like that." I decided to put on my headphones instead of trying to talk to Mr. No-Sense-Of-Humor.

As we neared Chicago, I noticed lightning out the window. We were flying above/around a storm and it was lightning like crazy. I glanced outside, then went back to my crocheting. Mr. I-Fly-All-The-Time-And-Have-No-Sense-Of-Humor looked out the window, freaked out, and plastered his face and hands up against the glass and commenced hyperventilating. I think he may have wet his pants. I laughed at him and said, "It's supposed to look like that." bit my tongue and continued crocheting. Well, maybe I smirked a little bit.

So after I landed and gathered my luggage, I got a cab. Now I always use American Taxi. They've always been on time. They've always known where they were going. Reliable, competent. Good, right? Well, last night, instead of calling for an American Taxi, I went out and let the ground transportation guy get me a cab. Big mistake. Big. Huge.

They grabbed a Checker Cab for me. First off, the driver hadn't bathed in at least 4 years. As I gagged and stuck my head out the window like a dog (literally, I did this), he asked me how to get out of the airport. Seriously? You're a cab driver and you don't know how to leave the airport? Perhaps you should find another line of work, Bud? Maybe something that includes soap, perhaps? So I seriously directed him the whole way to my house. He was clueless and didn't have GPS. When he dropped me off, I had to get my own luggage out of the trunk, then he asked me for directions back to the airport. Then, instead of charging me a reasonable flat rate like American Taxi, he charged me at a "meter and a half" rate! It was more than twice the amount of American! And he had the nerve to ask me to do the math and add it up for him because he couldn't figure it out! So, to all you suburbanites out there, I caution you against using Checker Cab! Yes, perhaps I just got a bad driver. Yes, I'm sure they're not all completely stupid directionally impaired. However, I called the company today to check on their policy of charging a meter and a half and sure enough, that is company protocol when taking passengers to the suburbs. Maybe Checker is better in the city, but for the suburbs, I highly recommend American Taxi.

I have a million more things to tell you about BlogHer and some bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting and some cool new products. I even met a celebrity! And I'm working on making a slide show with my awesome new toy. More on all this later...

32 comments:

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I would have yelled the same thing at those firefighters. I have my priorities, you know.

And, Dawn, duh - you are a celebrity.

Anonymous said...

Welcome home, Dawn! Can't wait to hear more about your trip. Love the pictures you've posted so far -- looking forward to your slide show!

Donna in PA :)

Anonymous said...

Dawn,
I remember visiting SF with my husband and standing at the bottom of that CRAZY street while he climbed up, took a picture, and then climbed down again. Truly we were tourists. Glad you had a good time. Can't wait for the stories.
Sandy, HE, Illinois

Lucille said...

WELCOME HOME!

I'm sure the place was neat as a pin when you walked in...RIGHT?

Anxiously awaiting the slideshow and the CELEBRITY NEWS! OOOOOOOHHHH!

Traci said...

Hilarious blog!! God yes, save the chocolate!

This Mom said...

WOW you had a day. Don't you just hate when all you want to do after a long day and a long flight is finally get home. And that seems to take the longest time of all. I can not wait to here about your blogher experience.

ClistyB said...

oh the blessed Boudin bakery! I miss it so, I have lived out of CA for 5 years now. They have a kickin' Diet Coke that always went so well with the chicken caesar salad and a crusty sourdough roll SLATHERED in buttah!

Jules said...

Wow! It sounds like you had a fun-filled trip.

Good thing you are not directionally challenged, or who knows just when you would have gotten home. Christmas maybe? Just in time to give out all the goodies that you bought.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen Bill Cosby's skit on Lombard Street? It is so funny!!! Maybe it can be found on youtube?

k

Jen said...

Sounds like you had tons of fun. I've always wanted to visit San Francisco.

...and now I need to go watch Pretty Woman ;)

Brenda said...

Other than the people you met during your...transporting...your trip sounds great!

fixitnate said...

Maybe it has subsided now, but I always got a kick out of the people who, upon seeing there were no comments approved yet, posted, "I can't believe I'm the first to comment!!! FIRST, YAY!!!!", only to be immortalized as at least the 10th or 20th comment down because you screen all your comments.

When you take a trip somewhere in your car, do you always drive 90mph? You can easily cut a half-hour off your drive time over a long distance by doing so. But your mileage suffers. I'm guessing the same reason keeps the airlines from flooring it across the country all the time.

Michelle said...

Welcome home, Dawn!

Your day wandering SF sounds so lovely. I want to go now, not that I didn't before.

And bummer on your cab experience. I learned that one the hard was once myself. All the cabs from the stand are meter and a half to the burbs. There is a phone inside the lower level where you can call for a suburban cab if you don't have one preordered, but yeah... unless you're going to the city NEVER go through the cab stand. But you now that now already, don't you? Yucky end to what I'm sure was a great trip!

Amanda said...

I am cracking up at the plane story with Mr. Know it all. That is so funny. People like that annoy me too. And ugh to the cab. Great pictures. So glad you had a nice time and got home safely. :-)

Becky said...

LOVE this post! Thanks for making me laugh, as usual! I loved the Wang Chung sign.

Carolyn said...

I have to say, I came across your blog through another one just by chance. What a perfect first post to read! I can imagine myself yelling the same thing you did!

Angel said...

Sounds like you had an awesome trip - welcome back - us mommas need such breaks, productive breaks mind you!

Anonymous said...

The next time you travel, book a limo in advance of your trip - it's cheaper than a taxi and generally much nicer.

Rana said...

I'm waiting on pins and needles for the 'rest of the story'! I love your cabstand story! If I were doing what you were doing, it definitely would have happened to me. And WHO is the celeb? Waiting anxiously in MI.

Anonymous said...

The pilot must have caught a tail wind. This could knock off 1/2 an hour from your flight time.

Pat

MoziEsmé said...

Sounds like an awesome time except for the cab ride!

melech said...

Hi Dawn: do you have time to read another COMPLIMENT?
There is just something wonderful and magical in the way you put your words together...always fun! always a great read!
Have you ever considered having a full-time TRAVEL BLOG? Companies would pay you a retainer..to go out and visit far flung resorts and tourist traps..Then, you would just do a Dawn Report. The companies would profit..many new people would become travelers..It would be a very wise investment...plus, you would have a wonderful time as well.
So..WHO is the celebrity you ran into?

Jenn from Hurricane said...

Ok.. I have to know. My daughter flys to and from her father's 4-5times a year. We've never dared send her with her crochet project as she didn't want her favorite hook taken away. How were you able to get your hook and/or scissors on the plane?

Sharon said...

The funny thing is I don't think that block of Lombard is any steeper than the block leading up to it, which is not twisty-turny. Every time we take an exchange student to San Francisco, we have to walk up Lombard. And we are always grateful we don't live on that street and have to deal with NONSTOP tourists.

Colleen said...

Great photos! Glad you had a good time.

Planes sometimes fly slower to save fuel.

Veggiemomof2 said...

I am anxiously awaiting 5 Minutes for Mom to post their interview with you! You wouldn't happen to know when that will be?

SarahDragon said...

Ah! I am not alone! A couple weeks ago I visited my best friend up in Omaha where I went to college years & years ago, and we pulled up to the starbucks drive-thru before church. I was staring dumbfounded at the menu as she rattled off grande-something-coconut-whatever-latte-skim-milk-macchiato or something similar... I coughed like I knew what I wanted but needed a moment to clear my airway, then asked for a tall cinnamon latte with 2% milk... It was pretty good, too : ) I hope I can remember that the next time I have to order from a coffee shop...

rthling said...

Nice Pretty Woman shout out.

DeeAnne said...

never ever once had a problem with American Taxi and I used to travel five days a week...the driver used to even humor the neighborhood kids who were convinced I was a rock star because the limo picked me up every week and let them play in the limo once in a while...

Liz's Random Thoughts said...

Awesome!
I got to go to Pier 39 a couple of years ago. ITs a very cool place, I would love to go back and take more pictures and spend a lil bit more time there. Did you enjoy the Sea Lions??

Mystii said...

Dawn, American Taxi is absolutely the only way to go! We have used them for years and they're not only cheaper but the vehicles they use are clean! I love that they do a flat rate. Sorry you had to learn about Checker cab the hard way.

I adore San Francisco. I've visited there several times and had loads of fun. Last time hubby and I were there, we were one of the silly tourists driving down Lombard St. It was scary (he was driving and I thought he was going entirely too fast) but it was an absolute blast. Your pictures reminded me of many of the things I loved about my visits there.

Thanks for sharing :)

ShakespearesLady said...

Hi, this comment is super late! I haven't been up on my blogs during the summer like I usually am.

Beach Blanket Babylon is actually a really funny show. It's a singing dancing comedy type show that's been a San Francisco staple for ages :)

Also, I don't know how to reply to other people's comments, but for the person who was wondering about crochet on planes - you can bring crochet hooks AND knitting needles on planes with no problem. It's all on the TSA's webpage.

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