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Friday, June 9, 2000

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Walking in San Francisco

I was woken up in the wee hours by some idiot screamng obscenities because he had been locked out of his room due to lack of pay or something. I heard this morning that they had to call the police. They have a simple system here, you pay in advance, in cash, or they lock you out of your room. I also had to pay about $30.00 in deposits for a key and linens. They have too many strange people coming through to make exceptions. I had trouble getting to sleep since this is a very active night life area and it was a bit noisy outside.

After the hostel's free bagel breakfast I went downtown to get some grease at McDonalds. They didn't even have a bathroom. I am just amazed at the lack of bathrooms in so many large cities. What exactly do they expect all the tourists to do when they finish drinking all that coffee? The Egg McMuffin was the same which is the nice thing about Mds while traveling. Sometimes you just need something familiar.

I wanted to go to the arboreteum at Golden Gate Park and I ended up on a Bart train that took me to the Forest Hills station. Outside it says the Laguna Honda Station, Twin Peaks. Then I took the 44 bus to Golden Gate Park only I was turned around and got on the bus going the wrong direction. I was enjoying the ride through a hilly area and along a park and got quite far before I realized that I goofed. I got off and got on one going the right direction and finally ended up at the Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

I spent a couple hours walking around the gardens and even getting lost a couple times. This is one of the nicest botanical gardens I've been in. I especially liked the redwood forest. Even though you know it's just a tiny garden you feel like you are in a real redwood forest. The paths wind and turn until I didn't know which direction I was going. I even got out my compass to orient to the map. Well, I could have oriented eventually but this was faster, and more fun.

After the gardens I walked up to the north side of the Golden Gate Park, through the rose gardens, and caught a bus to Ocean Beach. I couldn't believe there were no restaurants here but I got a sandwich at a Safeway. There was this jerk there who was yelling at a lady working at the deli because he said she charged him wrong and saying that he expected someone who understood english to listen to his complaints. What an asshole. All he had to do is explain calmly and she would have understood what he wanted. Self centered people like that are so hateful.

I walked north along the esplanade and climbed the hill to Cliff House. There were a couple buses full of foreign tourists looking at tshirts and taking pictures. Well I guess that's what I do to so I can't be too critical, it's just that they do it in such large groups. I walked along the hiking path past Point Lobos, Lands End and ended at Seacliff. Again it was a beautiful walk. They've done a lot of work on the trail since I walked it several years ago. Some areas have been closed off since people have been falling and killing themselves, and other areas are closed to repair the damage to the areas. This trail must get an enormous amount of traffic. Even on a Friday it had quite a few people walking along it.

At Seacliff I caught the bus to the Golden Gate Bridge parking lot. The driver picked us up at Seacliff and then had us get off at Baker Beach while he took a rest stop of fifteen minutes. Then he came back by and picked us up. It seemed like a strange place to take a rest stop. From the parking lot I walked the trail to the historic Fort Point and then along the promenade to yacht harbor.

They are restoring the beach area on the promenade and planting dune plants and bringing back a wetlands. It's quite an ambitious project but already is looking good. A little further on several people were windsurfing, including one guy who kept falling over. Most of the sails were transparent and the surfers looked like bugs skimming across the water with their translucent wings.

I walked into the Marina area to catch a bus and stood by some very expensive cars while waiting for the bus to come. This is a very expensive area. I felt a little out of place with my backpack and wrinkled jeans. It was quite a relief to sit down on the bus and rest my feet. I got off at Columbus and Stockton and picked up a few things to eat at a grocery store. Next door was a used book store and I bought a few mysteries which I spent the night reading as I waited for my turn at the computer.

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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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