The second day, I woke up in a room with a view, still feeling that I was living a dream. Was I really in San Francisco, a few thousand miles away from home? It seemed too good to be true!
The remnants of last night were still fresh in my mind. After descending from Glacier Point, Yosemite, we stopped by a shopping mall with a J.C. Penney's to have dinner. It was our first time eating Panda Express, and we over-ordered. So we packed up the remaining food, then I fell into a half-sleep-half-wake state in what seemed like the longest journey in the car till we crossed the Bay Bridge to San Francisco.
The first time seeing the city of San Francisco, even at night, was fascinating. We passed through the Financial District. The feeling was out of this world, like I was suddenly picked up by a giant hand and placed right in the center of a very modern world, where bright lights filtered through glass-windowed offices and lit up the entire business district. Though KLCC is almost certainly compatible, the place gave out an entirely different vibe: it was very clean, very organized, very Wall Street, very American-movie-ish. I suddenly thought about all the movies featuring business offices, like Paycheck.
The ride to Sutter & Powell, where our hotel was located, was by no means easy, even with the help of the trusty GPS. The streets of San Francisco are up the steepest hills I've ever seen! Not to mention the streets are narrow and difficult to maneuver, with roadsigns filled with words to test your reading skills, and you might not notice a cable car coming from behind! Thank God for auto-gears!
Since we could not stop for long in front of the hotel, Leo and Dad went to check-in first with most of the luggage, while the rest of us drove to O'Farrell & Powell garage, which was like a few blocks away, to park the car. Parking in San Francisco is damn expensive, cos the land is limited and expensive, somewhat like Penang. The 'Evening Special' at the garage cost us $15.90, and we had to leave by 9a.m. the next day, which was a Sunday. Luckily parking is free on Sundays! Meeting up at Macy's after that, we ate the rest of our Panda Express for supper and drifted off to sleep in the rosyness of the San Francisco night.
Steep streets of San Francisco
Back to this fine morning, it was a Golden Gate Day! Our itinerary for the day was to take a stroll in the Golden Gate Park, visit the Palace of Fine Arts in Marina Green area, take many photos of the famed Golden Gate Bridge at various scenic viewpoints, head off to Sausalito for lunch then go wine-tasting in the vineyards at Napa Valley.
Neighborhood Architecture on the way to Golden Gate Park - I saw this photo too in the Chinese book titled "50 Ways to Hug San Francisco" 《50个拥抱旧金山的方式》
Who would have expected a city as small as San Francisco to contain the largest man-made park in the world? I only learnt about it much later... To think we were only wandering around a small part of the park! We were at the right-most end of the Park, near the Conservatory of Flowers.
Conservatory of Flowers
Taking a lovely stroll in the park
Nevertheless, it was a wonderful morning for us to 'paktoh', holding hands and walking side-by-side down the lush greenery of the area, breathing in the clear morning breeze and only stopping now and then to capture those precious moments with our camera. There was a small university marathon event going on and found ourselves walking into a multitude of joggers coming from the opposite direction. I guess every city needs a green lung for its dwellers to de-stress and do some exercise during the weekends; San Franciscans are truly lucky to have such a huge beautiful Park to their usage; as are we with our Penang Botanical Gardens and Ipoh Polo Grounds, though small.
Gigantic reeds make a lovely wallpaper
Other spots of interest in the vast Golden Gate Park are the Dutch windmills, the beautiful lake with a small island called Strawberry Hill in the middle where lovers can row boats, the bison paddock and the Japanese tea house. I wish I'll be able to visit these places one day.
Elegant houses in the Marina neighborhood - note the jutting window structures that bring in more sunlight in a city which is often shrouded in fog
We took a stroll in the lovely grounds of the Palace of Fine Arts. Unfortunately we couldn't go in, because it was closed for repair. It was a beautiful, beautiful memory because of the romantic landscape - the lush greenery, the pond where we saw swans, mandarin ducks and various types of water fowl, and of course, the Roman-Grecian inspired Palace itself. How nice if I could take my wedding photo here?
However, the top of the structures feels a bit creepy because there are "men" trying to peer into the interior!
We saw someone being interviewed... a famous author, perhaps?
Feeding pigeons, geese, seagulls, etc...
Oooh... romance is in the air
I love em' Mandarin ducks