Day 2 thru 7 - Alamo Square, Cable Cars and screaming Seals

San Francisco Travel Blog

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This is the entrance to our building, We have five flights of stairs to get up to our friend's penthouse apartment.
Day 2

This is the entrance to our building, We have five flights of stairs to get up to our friend's penthouse apartment. It's an old building, dating back to the early 1900's.

By the time I reach the top level, I'm exhausted and panting for breath.

But I'm definitely getting into shape.


Day 3

UH OH...Bad news for us

800 dollars.

That's how much the car mechanic wants to charge us to fix our little toyota Corolla.

He said the caliper has a hole where it's letting the brake fluid out, so it needs to be replaced and the router too.
Bad news. 800 dollars. That's how much the car mechanic wants to charge us to fix "Marty" our little toyota Corolla. EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS. He said the caliper has a hole where it's letting the brake fluid out, so it needs to be replaced...
He said it's "shot"

"Er...That's pretty expensive......", we told the mechanic.

He just shook his head and rubbed his hands on a dirty oil rag. "I don't know what to tell you. You need to have it fixed. You can keep using your handbrake, but that's going to give out in less than a month too.", He said "If you don't do this now, you can just write off this whole car. But with over 200,000 miles on it... You're going to encounter more and more problems after this one. you might wanna think about buying a whole new car entirely anyways"

I sighed in defeat.

"you can always sell it for parts", The mechanic suggested. "I'm really sorry"

Looks like we're going to have to sell our car.


Day 4

I woke up this morning at 8 A.M. and sharp pain shot up my legs when I stood up. I fell back down into the sheets wincing and rubbing my calves.
We put in an ad in Craigslist for "marty" our little Toyota Corolla
I'm all cramped up.

All this walking around San Francisco is building new muscles in my thighs and calves

Our friend told us that his first week in San Francisco was exactly the same and it took him two weeks to adjust, then he was fine.

Yesterday we did a lot of walking, going to the bank, doing laundry in the local laudromat, shopping, discovering more of the area we now call home...

We discovered "Japantown". This place was heaven for me.

Sushi..Sushi..Sushi! Everywhere!

We entered a sushi bar that had sushi on little boats going around in circles. You pick up the plates you like and pay for it on your way out.
We just sold "Marty"
I could just sit there for hours with wide happy eyes watching endless sushi floating by my vision!!

Day 5

Today we just sold our little toyota Corolla

We put up an FOR SALE ad on Craigs list and within one hour we had 52 responses.

In the end we sold our car to the guy with that wrote the nicest E-mail request and would appreciate it the most. He said he understood the car troubles we described and was willing to fix it up. He had cash on hand and would drive it away "as is". He was a really sweet guy.Friendly and down to earth..., around our age.

He looked at "Marty" and said "This car has a lot of life left in him. 200,000 miles is not much for a Toyota. the body damage is minimal. Just a few knicks.
Golden Gate bridge at sunset...
The brake troubles aren't a big deal for me. I know a mechanic that can have him in top shape in no time. This is a great car!"

I liked his enthusiasm.

I'm glad "Marty" will continue on to have a full rewarding car life and not immediately end up in scrap yard.

We took the key off our key chain slowly and handed it over with the title.

I watched Our little corolla disappear over the hilly San Francisco streets and I stood there for a moment afterwards feeling this tinge of sadness.

But that little car took us safetly all the way across the country and those memories will last a lifetime.

It's better without a car in San Francisco anyway. Parking is expensive. We would have had to pay 200 dollars a month for a garage parking spot, all the traffic and the parking tolls...This city has great public transportation. A car just isn't necessary.

This was for the best. The new owner was really happy.
Here's the famous picture postcard view of "The Painted Ladies" in Alamo Square. Seeing this for the first time gave me goosebumps. I had seen it so much in tour guides, magazines and books. I was surprised to discover that it actually exists

And from now on I am NOT going to name my cars. It just makes it harder to say goodbye.

Day 6

Last night I went to Alamo Square at night for the "Drawing Party" (A party specifically for San Francisco artists with live models in astonishing period costumes to draw) It was beautiful, but too dark to see more than the glittering street lights of the city landscape and the silhouettes of the victorian homes.

So today we walked to Alamo Square during the day time. We took California street to Filmore and then went straight down filmore. We turned down a side road and there we were. It's a lot further from Russian Hill than I thought...(With our friend driving last night it was fast, but walking is another story entirely.)

This is a terrible picture, You can only see the corner of me in the frame but there's a story behind this photograph.
Picture my husband took while being hit in the head by a dog catching a frisbee
I have to smile everytime I view it now.

My husband crouched down and supported his weight on one knee to take this shot. He likes adjusting all the settings to get the right shot with good framing so it always takes him forever and a day. I just stood there tapping my foot thinking "any day now..."

there was a group of twenty somethings in the distance playing frisbee with their golden retriever.

The frisbee came flying towards My husband's head.

I was certain it would hit him, but I was frozen in surprise and I couldn't seem to open my mouth fast enough to scream "WATCH OUT!"

At that moment, the golden retriever lept in the air over my husband's head and caught the frisbee in his mouth. His entire body crashed into hubby's back, causing him to take an off center photo and collapse over forward. The dog was as startled as we were!.

He looked so shocked to have a dog seemingly fall out of the sky and crash down on him, I had to start laughing.
After a week of living in San Francisco, I decided it was time to ride on a cable car.
The owners ran up and started apologizing. But they had to laugh too.

A surreal and strange moment.

I shouldn't have laughed so hard though because...

10 minutes later I was sitting on the park bench in front of "the painted ladies" taking a photograph and a frisbee hit me smack in the back of the head and bounced off into the distance. Ouch!

A word to the wise: If you're going to visit Alamo Square... Beware of the frisbees. They are everywhere.



Day 7

After a week of living in San Francisco, I decided it was time to ride on a cable car.

My friend, Celine and I walked down Powell street to Union Square and bought a five dollar ticket to ride all the way up the hills to Fisherman's wharf.
Cable Cars meeting

It was exciting to step on this rickity contraption for the first time. It rocked back and forth with the weight of passengers climbing on. There was a man in the center and he controlled two large levers connected to the bottom of the cable car. It seemed to be what moved it forward and also the brakes.

I was tempted to hang off the side of the cable car like the Tanner family in the opening credits of "Full house", but I opted against it because of all my shopping bags.

I was surprised at how unstable this mode of transportation seemed. We banged and clunked along the road. Going up the hills was a little scary because he would pull on the brakes while te cable car slid backwards slightly at the same time. I imagined the brakes giving out and all of us flying down the steep hill at full speed into the oncoming traffic.

It felt like an old fashioned rollercoaster ride from the 1800's.
The Seals at Pier 39 They were adorable and there were so many of them. As we walked down Fisherman's wharf and approached Pier 39, we could hear the loud squeaks, squeals, splashing and honk-like sounds.

And it's the fastest way to get up some of the steepest hills leading towards our home.

We jumped off at Fisherman's wharf, and walked through the all the tourist traps. Ghiradelli square, bought fresh crab sandwiches at the fisherman stands, and gazed at the seals at Pier 39.

It's what EVERYONE does when they visit San Francisco, but somehow the idea of living here without at least once seeing all the tourist sights feels wrong.

I still haven't seen The Mission District, Castro, Golden Gate Park or Haight-Ashbury. .

Or even tried out the BART system yet.

Baby steps...

Now what you've all been waiting for.

I posted some pics of The seals at fisherman's wharf. Pier 39. there were HUNDREDS of them..

So Yes, those seals REALLY exist in San Francisco. It's not an urban legend! Next I'm going to try to find those PARROTS at Coit Tower!.

Tomorrow I fly back to New York for a week to visit my family and pick up my two cats, Michael and Fiona. I can't wait!
dfoo says:
engaging story and photos...can't wait to read through all of them...
Posted on: Mar 24, 2010
dansgirl1978 says:
What a wonderful blog entry!!! I'm so glad that "Marty" went to a good home. I know exactly how you felt! When I sold my ever trusty Volvo "Siouxsie" for almost the same reasons I cried and cried! And wonderful, wonderful pictures!!!! Do you have plans to go to Alcatraz? As strange as it sounds touring Alcatraz is acutally really fascinating!
Posted on: Oct 15, 2007
Sunflower300 says:
Great blog, you're making me want to move there.
Posted on: Oct 15, 2007
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This is the entrance to our buildi…
This is the entrance to our build…
Bad news.

800 dollars.

Bad news. 800 dollars. That…
We put in an ad in Craigslist for …
We put in an ad in Craigslist for…
We just sold Marty
We just sold "Marty"
Golden Gate bridge at sunset...
Golden Gate bridge at sunset...
Heres the famous picture postcard…
Here's the famous picture postcar…
Picture my husband took while bein…
Picture my husband took while bei…
After a week of living in San Fran…
After a week of living in San Fra…
Cable Cars meeting
Cable Cars meeting
The Seals at Pier 39

They were …
The Seals at Pier 39 They were…
This seal was the loner of the gro…
This seal was the loner of the gr…
Seals at Fishermans wharf
Seals at Fishermans wharf