San Francisco

Returning to San Francisco

The first time I was in San Francisco was 16 years ago–new arrivals (FOB, if you will) from faraway islands. I took the 21-hour plane trip with my father, older siblings, and maternal grandparents. My maternal aunt and uncle would greet us and take us back to Los Angeles where we would stay for several months. I hated the car ride. While I was used to ferries, boats, and planes, there was something about a car’s motion that messed with my inner ear.

I look forward to exploring the city, now that I’m older with a greater sense of awareness. We get on the Alameda/Oakland Ferry at 9:15 am. One good thing about the shitty hotel we booked is its proximity to the train station and the ferries.

We get to pier 41 and purchase a CityPASS. We decide to do the Bay Cruise and the Aquarium of the Bay first. We are freezing because it’s 12 degrees colder than usual, per the ticket attendant. I purchase a scarf and a fleece jacket.

We take the street cars and head to Powell’s Square. We’re confused about the lack of efficiency of their transportation. So many lines and variations, all heading to the same place. We head to the SF Museum of Modern Art and spend some time there.

We head further south and go to Castro. We discover the same trends we’d already recognized in Chicago, NYC, Los Angeles: there are no predominantly lesbian hubs. A sex store on Castro, for instance, did not carry much besides male toys or hetero-geared female toys. Do we not travel or have much impact economically, that we’re essentially invisible in these historic LGBT places? We did see two girls making out in the middle of an intersection, but that’s about it.

We drink Spanish wine and enjoy the dusk at Pier 1, before the ferry comes. We grab some diner food near the hotel. I wish I can remember the name of the place because they have amazing, fluffy cheesecake that we ate for breakfast the next day.


Day 2 of sightseeing includes the California Academy of Sciences, which is my favorite, and the de Young Museum and Legion of Honor. We take the bus system to arrive at these places, but the city is not difficult to navigate with a map.

We head back to the Fisherman’s Wharf to grab the famous clam chowder in a bread bowl from Guardino’s, but before we get there, a drunk, homeless white man throws a fork at my girlfriend.

We also miss a ferry and have to walk from Pier 39 to Pier 1. We head back to Oakland to board our train to Portland, Oregon around 8 pm.


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