Saturday, August 7, 2010
San Francisco Day One: Fisherman's Wharf, a Crappy Hotel, and CRAB!!
My trip to San Francisco ended a couple of weeks ago, but given my rate of posting (slower than a snail) I thought I should finally upload pictures and chat about it... especially as I am back to California in 3 weeks (this time San Diego :D). Normally I don't end up doing a lot of sight-seeing on the first day, but as we got to San Francisco quite early (around 2PM) and our temporary hotel ended up being crap, my parents and I decided to squeeze some sight-seeing in right away... and grab dinner while we were at it. First stop: Fisherman's Wharf.
Well, actually, first we dropped off all our luggage at Citigarden Hotel, in South San Francisco. We were supposed to be staying at a Marriott Residence Inn in the same area but for some reason they didn't have a room for us the first night, so they put us at a nearby hotel for free - but ugh, the hotel was awful.
The actual hotel was more like a drive-in motel, with all the rooms opening to an outdoor courtyard. And the whole place was kind of dirty :S The stairwells were all in back corners, and not that well lit. At least it had a free shuttle to the airport and BART station? I didn't take a picture of the room because it was so ugly (and dirty, blech) - I had to move the side-table to get to the wall plug-in and there were dead bugs and used cotton pads, etc behind the table. D: D: Needless to say we spent as little time here as possible, which necessitated going sight-seeing RIGHT AWAY instead of napping first, haha.
It was a 10-minute shuttle from the hotel to the SFO airport, and then I think about a 30-40 minute BART train ride - my parents were super impressed at how 'fast' it was but I fell asleep. Haha, underground = nothing to look at. Also, the trains in Tokyo were cleaner. And brighter. Although it was hurray for air conditioning!
We took the trolley on the way down, which wasn't super interesting since I was sitting and they cram them so full all you can see is the person's legs in front of you... I learned my lesson and stood on the way back to the station from the Wharf, haha.
So... there were lots of boats. And water. And tourist shops, haha. We stopped in one to buy souvenir t-shirts for my dad's co-workers but he didn't like anything that much. We spied Alcatraz island on a return trip later in the week, but didn't end up going on a tour since neither of my parents were keen on touring an old jail, unfortunately!
My mom ate at Alioto's when she first came to North America in the 1970s... pretty amazing it is still operating! However we didn't end up eating here because I was feeling sick (my ears hadn't popped on the plane, and I couldn't hear ANYTHING) so we stopped at Joe's Crab Shack which was closer to where we got off of the trolley... so much seafood here (obviously)! There is a little boardwalk close-by where you can get crab, shrimp, or lobster sandwiches much cheaper than eating in a restaurant (but of course you don't have anywhere to sit to eat them without wandering for a bit).
Joe's Crab Shack was pretty tourist-y, but the food was good, which is really all that matters. I do feel bad that I might have unintentionally shouted at our waitress as I couldn't hear anything though :S. Oh, and this is the restaurant that reminded my mom to ask for "Sweet Tea" vs. "Iced Tea" haha.
Appetizer platter: calamari, crab+cheese+jalapeno poppers, crab and shrimp dip (the dip was my favourite part).
My dad's crab cake platter.
I got a seafood sampler platter which had a crab cake, crab-stuffed shrimp, and fried halibut... also ordered cheese potatoes which were amazing but not very attractive to look at, and were so hot we waited until we were almost done before we could eat them! My dad ate the onion strings.
My mom's snow crab steamer. This looks deceptively small, but there were 3 'sets' of legs, 2 corn-on-the-cobs, 3 large potatoes, shrimp, AND sausage. She also had to wear a paper bib to eat, much to her consternation. My mom was a little disappointed that they don't give you the crab's head to eat - we eat it over rice when we steam them at home - but she had enough crab legs that she was satisfied, I think (and kept trying to pass them on to me or my dad when she was done eating).
We did a bit more shopping and then headed back to the hotel as I was tired and cranky from my un-popped ears (thankfully they resolved after a night's sleep) and both my parents were tired. This time my dad and I stood on the street trolley and I was wishing for a seatbelt the entire time, haha! You could definitely tell when we were going up the steep inclines of San Francisco! The quick view of the streets was pretty nice though :)
Sunset from the BART train.
And that was Day 1 :)