Monday 28 February 2011

I know why BART is so expensive

They blew all their money on cones.  Now I totally understand why San Francisco Airport to Millbrae, which is a one-stop 4 minute ride, costs $4.00.

Quintessential San Francisco

The Haight
The Alamo Square 'Painted Ladies'
The unexpected but very cool Alamo Square shoe garden
De Young museum, Golden Gate Park

Point Lobos, Carmel, Monterey

We drove Em's dad down to his conference at Monterey, and while we were there did some sightseeing.  We grabbed a coffee and a pastry at Carmel-by-the-Sea aka Rich-people-retired-with-handbag-dogs-by-the-Sea and kept going down to Pt. Lobos for some easy hiking.

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We saw some great coastal scenery, a bunch of whale spouts out on the horizon, sea lions, heaps of ropey kelp, and a huge pod of dolphins.

All the little dots in this picture are dolphins, there must have been more than 50

After delivering Tony to his conference we walked along Cannery Row, of John Steinbeck fame. The coastal scenery around Monterey is impressive, and I seem to remember the aquarium is quite good, but I'd give Cannery Row a miss. It is a nasty tourist trap - very similar to San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf.

Friday 18 February 2011

ThinkGeek schwag

Thanks to everyone back home for my ThinkGeek voucher.  Here's what I got!

Charging grass (a bed to hide charging cords for our new android family);

a sweet T-shirt; and

a handy keyring multi-tool that slips over a key.

Angel Island: a great day out on the bay

Our second weekend in California, and already we had visitors!  We met our Baltimore peeps and hopped on the ferry from Fisherman's Wharf for an excursion to Angel Island.  When we arrived in the freezing fog we were wondering if we had made the right decision in coming - the views of the bay were nowhere to be seen.

California is doing its best to make us feel at home with all the gum trees and wattle, which is nice, and if the views weren't there at least the fog looked pretty.

Luckily the fog did lift, and Angel Island treated us to some fantastic views.  Watching a giant wall of fog roll off the ocean and hit the Golden Gate was pretty amazing.

There is a lot of history on the Island.  Amongst other things, it was the equivalent of Ellis Island for the west coast, i.e. an immigration processing centre.  There is an interesting museum on-site in the old buildings.  It chronicles the poor living conditions imposed on migrants, and the prejudiced procedures designed to keep people out that Barack Obama formally apologised for in January 2010.

You can camp on the island, and a number of people were doing that on the weekend we were there.  It would be a great place to wake up and take sunrise photos of the bay, or tell a ghost story in some of the abandoned Fort McDowell buildings.

The ferry schedule gave us 11am-3:50pm on the island, which was plenty of time to circumnavigate it on foot and wander through the buildings and museum.  Don't rely on the cafe being open - it wasn't for us and we were starving by the time we got back to Fisherman's Wharf.

Friday 11 February 2011

"Australia's Favorite Cookie?"

We were astonished to see Tim Tams in our local Californian supermarket!  Thanks Pepperidge Farm for producing "Australia's Favorite Cookie" and saving our friends from lugging packs of chocolate biscuits around airports in their suitcases. 

They are the real deal, and taste exactly the same as far as I can tell.  I'll let you know if we do a blind taste test comparison.


The breast views in San Francisco

On our first weekend in San Francisco the weather was beautiful so we took advantage of the unfogginess and checked out the 360° view from the Twin Peaks, the breast-like geographic centre of San Francisco.

And since the weather was holding, we thought we'd grab some cloudless bridge photos too.