[2023/01/06] Aloha SF

Aloha! I’m Writing this post from San Francisco!

The flight from Philly to SF was extremely long. However, I’m glad that there wasn’t any delay because a huge storm just passed yesterday and another one is coming tomorrow. San Francisco airport was nice and clean. It’s also connected to the BART system, which was perfect because I could take it and go straight to Powell Station nearby my hotel for $10. When I got there, my friend MN was already waiting for me!!

The Map of SF’s BART system, SF International Airport, and street view from the airport.

I haven’t seen MN for more than 4 years, since our high school graduation to be exact! MN is still the same, personality-wise – quiet and “bing chilling.” He just looked a little chubbier than I remember.

Our hotel is The Chancellor, located right on Powell Street, where the street cable car runs along. The front desk staffs were nice that they let us check in early as our room was ready by the time we arrived. The room was tiny yet clean and well put together with 2 twin beds and a bathroom, just enough for MN and I to stay in the city for a night.

After putting our luggage away, we were ready to explore the city. The first destination was Pier 39 – home to the San Francisco’s sea lions. Not many of them showed up today, probably due to the gloomy weather. Nevertheless, I was excited to see 2 groups cuddling on the right side of the floating dock area. I told MN and KF that I could watch them for hours. They were all so adorable Just check out the video below, you will understand what I mean!

Then, we checked out the shops around this area. Most of them were gift shops; some were more unique than others, like the one that sold goodies for left-handed people or the chocolate world, and the sock world. I bought some gifts to bring back for KF, hopefully, he will like them!

Lefty’s Store. Love how they featured famous people who are left-handed!

Socks, knives, and chocolate stores – all along the Broadwalk!

After that, we headed to a thrift shop, called VACATION. The place was very brightly and oddly decorated. I was particularly impressed with their curved wall! I didn’t get anything as they were not my style and were quite expensive.

Then, we continued walking to Chinatown. On the way, we saw a bunch of cool shops and we stopped at all of them. My favorite was the record store. When I was there, I thought the shop ower had one of the best jobs in the world because all he had to do was get new music, create playlists every day, and see the awe on customers’ faces.

Also, I would never forget how hilly San Francisco (and the rest of California) is! MN and I walked for 15 minutes but it felt like we burnt double the amount of calories that we would on a flat road. In exchange, I noticed how the wheels of all the parked cars were turned and motorcycles are parked 90 degrees with the sidewalk. This is to minimize the risks of vehicles sliding down hills and accidents. I secretly wondered how the city would be if there was an earthquake. Turned out, they actually had one in 1908 and 80% of the city was destroyed.

When we got to Chinatown, we checked out a family-owned Fortune cookie factory and ate egg tarts from one of the famous Chinese Bakeries. I thought both places were overrated. The factory was too tiny and its workers were mean to us. Neither the egg tarts nor the pineapple bun from the Chinese bakery was special!

The owner was grumpy, so I didn’t get to take many pictures and didn’t want to buy any of their special cookies. Also, I noticed one corner of the factory with a ton of police badges

By the time we finished visiting all these places, it was only 5PM, which was too early for dinner. So, we decided to take the bus back to the pier area to visit Musee Mechanique, a family-owned museum, full of coin-operated machines since the 1800s. The owner of the museum, Ed Zelinsky, passed away in 2004 due to pancreatic cancer, but his legacy is still living. I found a website that wrote about how he started this collection. Feel free to check it out here. MN and I spent about an hour here, playing many games that looked interesting. I especially remember the palm reading, the scary/funny clown, the piano machine, the car driving, and the 3D box machine. I have never seen any of these kinds of coin-operated machines before. I have only seen them in the form of electric games, like those in modern arcades.

For dinner, MN and I are at Pho 2000. I had Pho Ga, while MN had Pho Dac Biet. I thought the phos were excellent because of the clear broth and excellent seasoning. I wish we had some fried dough to eat with – would be super perfect! Then, we walked back to the hotel together, which was a decision full of anger from me because we missed 3 buses and the wind was quite brutal at night.

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