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Reflections on America - San Francisco
Duration: 5 Days
Expenditure $ 4000

We all know America, or Americans. Hollywood, take a bow: you’ve managed to express an emotion of a 300+ -million strong group. You have conveyed to us what it means to be American, placed us in the daily lives of an average person, allowed us to be a part of your cultures and customs. I feel a distant but definite sense of pride in the 4th of July as also on Thanksgiving. I have no idea what they signify but I surely know what they represent.

San Francisco is a different beast altogether. A much milder beast. A beast that will stop you on the road, either to say hello, or ask you for money, or offer you weed, or often, the last two together. But almost always, mostly harmless. The accent takes on a drawl, even in Chinatown, and the pace takes a backseat. But hey, the city was originally called Yerba Buena (the good herb, hmm I wonder what that means) so, well…

…no I don’t think it was basil but, pun intended,  dope is it could have been a relative of mint (I’m serious here; one doesn’t jokes about with weed.)

The Cable car, you will do it once and never regret not doing it again. It is borderline touristy in the sense that you know you can indulge in it and not feel like hiding your face in rotting shame as these metallic screechy cars from the last century proudly pull you through the city like a prized ignorant ignoramus, visiting ignorant ignoramus that is.
Photos of Cable Car Corner, Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 1/1 by Magandeep Singh
2. The food here is awesome and Chinatown is a treat unto itself. Some of the best dim-sums are to be found here. Some of the best French and Italian restaurants are here too and in that sense, the place does have a European touch somewhat. Waterbar affords great views on the Bay Bridge and the light show in the evening which is a good way to see public tax money going up (and down) an LED light tube. RN74 is a Burgundy inspired wine bar with food alongside. The Mission district is grotty and grungy but ever gritty and geared so expect a lot of BoBo places here. I made it to Trick-dog and La Lolinda and commend them both. Napa has Morimoto and of course, the little town of Yountville, the San Sebastian of California, with more fine restaurants than tourists in the county. You will find here, and if you reserve months in advance, yourself there too at, The French Laundry, which is a good way to put black money to sumptuous use. Maybe that’s why they call it laundered…? No.
Photos of Chinatown, San Francisco, CA 1/1 by Magandeep Singh
Like the Statue of Liberty, the best pictures of it are from away. Sure you can get on it and one way is toll-free too but then you end up on the other side and with still a hollow sense of achievement. The curious fog in the city has a lovely effect of cleaning up the air as also creating some stunning visual effects. The downside, you will barely see the Golden Gate Bridge unless it is an exceptionally clear day or you are driving on it. Please don’t jump off it, there is enough bad publicity as it is surrounding this landmark. Did you know, by the way, that a replica exists in Lisbon, Portugal? Yep, right next to the Sacro Christi replica (the original being in Brazil in Rio). Kid you not I don’t, oh no sir.
Photos of Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA 1/1 by Magandeep Singh
Alcatraz... Should you do it? Of course. History is always fun when it involves deceit and crime and the perpetrators of such. Did I visit? No. Next time.
Photos of Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, CA 1/1 by Magandeep Singh
They have a marine base, they have a lovely view of the city skyline, and they even have a winery with free tastings!
Photos of Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA 1/2 by Magandeep Singh
Photos of Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA 2/2 by Magandeep Singh
It looks like gun barrel, or a fire hose nozzle, or whatever other euphemistic yet phallic suggestions you wish to imply but it commands lovely views over the city.
Photos of Coit Tower, San Francisco, CA 1/1 by Magandeep Singh
‘The most crooked street in the world!’ goes the moniker. I bet some crafty settler decided to throw this, probably because he knew it would become a historic quirk a few decades down and just get incorporated into the cityscape façade, earning itself the unique and generally meaningless distinction of being a tourist hotspot that signifies nothing and yet stands for something. At least, plenty of tourists stand and pose for pictures.
Photos of Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA 1/1 by Magandeep Singh
Ferry Building, Pier 39... These are old edifices converted into lovely centres for indulging in some good grub. The Slanted Door is highly raved but I found it just about average. It wasn’t bad but it is nothing to rave about; unless you are a stranger to great food. But there were other places but I doubt if they are aiming any higher. Mama’s (a bit away) is a good brekkie place.
Photos of PIER 39, San Francisco, CA 1/2 by Magandeep Singh
Photos of PIER 39, San Francisco, CA 2/2 by Magandeep Singh
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