Monday, July 21, 2014

California Here We Are

Our flight touched down at 11:15 am local time, which provided more than enough time to be crammed into the tiniest airplane seat I have ever experienced, but the weather here in San Francisco, 68 and sunny, promised to make up for the inconvenience.

At our hotel, that attitude of friendly accommodation continued, and they allowed us to check in hours ahead of the regular time. After dropping off our bags, we were off, meeting up with a friend from school who is here for the same conference that Heidi will attend. We ate lunch at a local place and then used our handy hotel-provided map to find the Cable Car Museum, which was a steep little hike up and over Nob Hill.

Watching the ginormous gears that actually spin the cables that drag those famous cars around this town was fascinating, and on a whim, I bought a book at the gift shop called Historic Walks in San Francisco: 18 Trails Through the City's Past. With that in hand, we walked down Washington Street to Chinatown and picked up the tour at stop 11. Yikes! If our guide was even half accurate, we learned that the history of that neighborhood is tightly woven together by opium, prostitution, gambling, prostitution, government corruption, prostitution, gang riots over a prostitute, prostitution, slave markets where girls were sold into prostitution, prostitution, squalid places where sick and old prostitutes were dumped to die, and of course prostitution. Even Rube Goldberg owned a brothel! (Wouldn't you like to see that cartoon?)

After all that sordid history, we climbed four flights of stairs to visit the oldest Chinese temple in the US. Despite French doors flung open to a wide balcony overlooking Waverly Place, the air was thick with incense. Oranges were stacked on every flat surface and hundreds of slips of red paper hung from the lanterns covering the ceiling, each representing an offering and a prayer.

Back on the street, we made our way back along Grant Avenue to St. Mary's, and at the bottom of California Street we hopped a cable car and rode back up and over Nob Hill, and then walked on down Hyde Street to our hotel.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like fun...except for the tiny plane seat. I'm just a little jealous.