Friday, September 2, 2016

Three Nights in the Bay Area.

So. I drove up the coast of California (Insert wistful sigh here.) and all the way up to Santa Clara. One of my friends from my study abroad trip to India, Kelly, lives there. Funny thing, I sorta thought when we left India that Kelly would be someone I didn't see all that much; I'm from Maine and went to college in Massachusetts, she's from the Bay Area and went to college in Oregon. It seemed unlikely that we'd cross paths soon. To my surprise, I have actually seen her more than almost anyone else. This was the third consecutive summer that we've managed to meet up. Crazy!

On Monday morning Kelly went to work and sent me into San Francisco on the Caltrain, which is a DOUBLE DECKER TRAIN. So cool. I was kind of surprised by the city-ness of San Francisco. When I got off the train I was right in the skyscrapers of downtown and everything was metal and glass and gray, which I simply didn't expect. It's kind of funny that Santa Barbara was less city-like than I expected and San Francisco was more so. I guess I expected both of them to be a little more in the middle? I dunno. Anyway, I got off the train and just started wandering around the city a little aimlessly. I ended up in the area of SFMOMA and sat on a rooftop(ish) garden there as I waited for a store that I wanted to go into to open. 

After that, I headed toward the Ferry Building, which is kind of like an indoor market with all sorts of local products for sale. From breads, meats, and cheese, to mushrooms and pottery, the Ferry Building pretty much had it all. Even a bookstore. Be still my heart. I spent probably a couple hours there between sitting on the pier, getting lunch, and browsing books. It was a lovely sunny day after the fog finally burned off in the late morning. After the ferry building I continued along the piers and sat on a few more, enjoying the sunshine and the views. I’m pretty sure I could see Alcatraz, although I’m not completely sure about that.

When I felt satisfied with my pier experience, I went up about 90 million steps to get to the top of Telegraph Hill. Of course, once I got up there the line up Coit Tower was stupidly long and I didn’t feel like waiting in it. I took a couple pictures from the top of the hill, where I got my first look at the Golden Gate Bridge (realllly far away, a tiny little line that I could barely identify at that point). Then I found a shady bench halfway down the hill to sit and read my book and rest my body. It sounds like I hadn’t done anything, but I was really very tired at that point. I walked a lot that day. Like over 30,000 steps total, according to my phone (although I don’t know how many I had at this point in the day. But I was tired). 

At that point I headed out and ended up hopping on a cable car. Cause like, San Francisco, ya know? It was kinda wild, and even though I was waaaay on the back of it and had an awful view I’m still really glad that I decided to do it. I walked around the touristy areas, then made my way over to City Hall which was beautiful. Although I inadvertently walked right along the edge of the Tenderloin as I did that. Whoops… I kinda noticed as I walked and then vaguely recalled that I thought it might be San Francisco that has the scary neighborhood right smack between a bunch of the nicer ones and I thought to myself “I bet I’m walking through the tenderloin right now.” When I looked up that neighborhood later I confirmed that I had. But hey, everything was fine and all’s well that ends well. 

Finally, I made my way back to the Caltrain and rode that home which was practically a miracle because my phone was dying and I didn't really know the way back but it managed to stay alive with 1% battery during the entire walk to the station and the whole ride back to Santa Clara. It was basically Chanukah! 

That night, I joined Kelly’s bible study group where no actual studying of the bible happened, and then turned in for the night and slept hard. I was so exhausted!

Kelly took the following morning off work and we went to hang out in Santa Cruz. It’s a cutesy little beach town with lots of awesome shops, and we started off the trip there with coffee and an outrageously delicious cookie. Next we spent probably over an hour in a really great book shop, then hit up a vintage shop and walked to the beach. Santa Cruz has rides and a game area and a pier, so it’s pretty much Old Orchard Beach except it was honestly less busy than I’ve ever seen OOB. Maybe that’s cause it was a little overcast. I dunno. Anyway, we took a picture pretending to be tall people while we were walking through the arcade area. After grabbing lunch on the pier, we headed back to the car and got ice cream on the way out of town. Then I dropped Kelly off directly at work and made my way to Berkeley to spend the night with my friend from high school, Hayley. 

Hayley moved to Berkeley about a year and a half ago and I hadn’t seen her since. It was SO fantastic to catch up. We sat with her roommate and drank wine and eventually got some mediocre takeout (I should have just taken her advice and gone to the cajun place right across the street. Live and learn.) and really just talked nonstop for hours and hours. I kept her up entirely too late, I’m sure. Especially considering that she works at a preschool and had to get up and deal with small children all the next day. But I’m pretty sure she didn’t mind. Unfortunately, since all we did was sit around and talk, I never got a single picture of my time there. Dangit. 

In the morning I left at the same time as Hayley and made my way across the Bay Bridge into and through the city, to the other side of San Fransisco. I parked along Ocean Beach (so original, guys) and walked along the coast and up to a little breakfast place with a view of the baths, which are ruins? I didn’t actually go to them, so I don't really know what they were. Looked cool from afar though! 

Then I went back to my car and went over to get some cheesy pictures of myself at the Golden Gate Bridge and finally drive across it. It was pretty cool, especially when the bridge was actually disappearing into the fog in front of me. 

And with that, I left San Fransisco behind forever. 

Nah, I’m just kidding, hopefully I’ll make it over there again some day. It was more like I left it behind for the near future.