In the past decade Janet has invariably spent her birthday in San Francisco, and she has tried to do something fun and different, for example the Fire Engine Tour and Ride the Ducks in recent years. In keeping with the touristy nature of such adventures she decided today that she wanted to ride one of the open top buses, something we had never done in our previous seven trips.
We walked to Union Square where we waited for the City Sightseeing bus which offered an “all loops” package, including Sausalito and Muir Woods as well as the obvious city sights, for $49.99 for 48 hours If that sounds expensive the ticket collector immediately, and unsolicited, said he would extend our ticket to four days at no extra cost. Whilst we weren’t planning spending the weekend sitting on a bus, listening to the same patter, we weren’t going to turn such an offer down.
We boarded the second bus (the first had no available seats upstairs) which took us first through the Tenderloin to the Civic Center, returning to Union Square before travelling through Chinatown and North Beach to Fisherman’s Wharf. Here we boarded another bus across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and back again. It was good to get a different perspective on a number of the attractions, and the weather was stunning, although there was only minimal opportunity to take the photos you might wish to take, other than from the vista point on the far side of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The tour guides, the second of which was also the driver, were knowledgable and informative, although I do wonder whether some of the anecdotes are designed more to the need to titillate the tourist than authenticity. It was not easy either to hear what the first was seeing due to the group of young Latino girls behind us who persisted in talking over him and taking photos of each other with no discernible background picture.
By the time we disembarked the second bus at Fisherman’s Wharf we were ravenous. Now I know that many people, especially locals, turn their noses up at eating there, but we have had good meals at Neptune’s Palace, The Franciscan and McCormick and Kuleto’s in the past. On this occasion, I think our hunger had overrode our judgement because we succumbed to the hard sell outside Alioto’s Waterside Cafe. The service and wine were fine but the food was bland and uninspiring. We had coffee at the Boudin Bakery and Cafe on the Wharf before wandering around for a while.
As we were keen to catch the opening game of the new baseball season between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the reigning World Champions, the San Francisco Giants, we hailed a cab to take us back to the apartment. I had asked the driver to get us back in time for the first pitch, and despite the fact that we caught every red light, he obliged. However, it was a disappointing game with the Giants playing very sloppy defense, and despite Tim Lincecum‘s competent pitching and Pat Burrell‘s ninth innings solo homer, losing 2-1 to their arch rivals. Ah well, it’s only the first game and there are 160 still to go.
After the game had finished Janet and I grappled with the seemingly complicated system for putting the garbage out, ensuring that recyclables were put in the right bins (just like being at home, except that in San Francisco there are garbage police who will enforce the policy)! The combined stress of the baseball game and the trash wars made it necessary for me to visit the Lucky supermarket to buy more wine. For the second night running we spent the last couple of hours of the day watching re-runs of the British TV show, Come Dine With Me.