San Francisco 1999 - Spring Break, Part 1
San Francisco Travel Blog› entry 8 of 22 › view all entries
This was my first solo trip to the West Coast, as I decided to take a spring break to California. I would visit San Francisco and Los Angeles, seeing people that I met before, and check out some graduate schools for accounting. I considered moving there, hoping to start a new life.
I arrived in San Francisco at night, on March 5, and would stay until March 9, 1999. I met up with Jim and Tim (yeah, I know, it rhymes), whose place I stayed at, during my time there. They were friends of a friend, as I ended up contacting them at the last minute. Like calling them on an airplane phone. They lived in Hayward. I would end up commuting between there and San Francisco on the BART train.
The first thing I did, was ride the cable car from the starting point at Powell. I got on and off each time, having to pay each time. I did ride it all the way to Fisherman's Wharf, and walked around that area for a little while. There, was my first look at the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.
I did get to walk around Chinatown, which is the largest Chinese community outside of China, and probably the oldest. Definitely looked more historic than the one in Philly. I also got to see the one in Oakland as well, as Jim showed me around that city. Supposedly, it was less commercialized than the one in San Francisco. I'll take his word for it, as I had no time to check out this claim. He wanted to show me that there is more to Oakland than just the Athletics.
I did visit a couple history museums that were well worth the time. One of them was the California Historical Society, which was a museum on the California Gold Rush. The gold rush was what drew people to California, but a lot of people came away empty-handed. The museum had a bunch of drawings, telling the story of the Gold Rush and the impact on the people who dug for gold, and their families. The other was the Wells Fargo Museum, with a nice overview on the 1908 earthquake. Probably one of the most devastating one in the Bay Area.
I did run into bad weather, as I had to go through one day with non-stop rain. This turned out to be my last full day, and I tried to do as much as I can. I did go up to Telegraph Hill and saw Coit Tower. Other highlights included Ina Coolbrith Park, a park on the side of the hill, and nice views of the bay and neighborhoods.
I met up with Herman, who showed me around Golden Gate University, one of the grad schools that I thought about going to. There is not much to see, but I got an idea what the school was about. Then I ate at a nearby Chinese restaurant. The sky cleared up and it was sunny.
A story to tell: I got approached by a Chinese guy who said he needed money for the BART train. As it turned out, he was a regular beggar at the station, and one of the security people had to shoo him away. So if anyone claims to be short of cash for the train, DO NOT GIVE!
I had an okay time, but some things went terribly wrong, resulting me in losing a sightseeing day.
I did not get to see the biggies of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz. But I hoped that I would return in a year or two, possibly move there for graduate college, and see it then. But it was time to move on to LA.