Tag Archives: travel

A Golden (Gate) Afternoon

I read somewhere that the Golden Gate Bridge ranks as one of the top suicide spots in the world. It’s terribly sad that some people look at that suspension bridge and think, “That’s where/how I’ll end my life.” And then there are people who’d lost loved ones from suicides off that bridge and that’s all they remember when they see it. I mean, it really is a breathtakingly beautiful bridge — like a work of art that spans almost 9000 feet– so it’s tragic in that aspect.

Well, you know what they say about tragedy and beauty. Or is it the beauty of tragedy? Or the tragedy of beauty?

Okay, now that I’ve started this entry in a morbid note (it’s just one of those days; I forgot to take my happy pills.), let me just say that there was nothing sad or melancholy about on the day I got my first good view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a really clear day, perfect for sight-seeing.

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One for the Gods: Palace of Fine Arts

There are times that I get so immersed in a book that I’m reading, I sometimes confuse it with reality.

Right, that makes me sound all kinds of crazy. I prefer to think of it as I have a really active imagination. Or have escapist tendencies.

During my trip to California, I was reading the Percy Jackson series and its spin-off, Heroes of Olympus. If you’re not familiar with either the books or the lame movie adaptation, it centers on Greek and Roman mythology. Not only were some scenes based in the Bay Area, but my cousin just happened to take me to the Palace of Fine Arts on our tour of San Francisco. That didn’t exactly help with my mix-up between what I’m reading and reality. Is that a centaur?

The Palace of Fine Arts is probably my favorite place in all of San Francisco. Well, except for those places that were related to food. I know it’s not an actual Greek or Roman ruin– I think it’s part of an exhibition– but I love the arches and the Corinthian columns and the general ancient world feel of the place.

Camp Half-blood! Haha.

If I lived anywhere near this place, I’d always hang out here, maybe reading on one of the benches. Or secretly downing vodka in a mineral water bottle, which we might or might not have done already.

My Zeus, this place is beautiful.

There were a lot of birds that made their home in the lagoon. Because I am a graduate of one of the best science programs in the country, I’ve identified them expertly as: ducks, swans, seagulls, and some gray birds.

This mama swan was protective of its cygnets. It chased away another bird that was getting a bit too close.

The Palace seemed like a popular place for pictorials, especially for weddings. I don’t blame them, the place is really photogenic. It felt like the gods will descend from Olympus and give me a quest or something. Scratch that — it felt like Olympus.

This place came the closest to how I felt when I was hanging out at the John Madejski Garden in V&A. I wish I could have seen it at night.

Hanging Out at Union Square

Drinking coffee and eating takeaway cake  in Union Square park was a good way to spend an afternoon. A better way would have been to shop in all the stores there, but I didn’t want to weep at my credit card bill when it came. Not that that hasn’t happened before.

Excuse us, Korean tourists, but it’s our turn to take a picture with the large heart.

We were supposed to eat at Cheesecake Factory but since it was gay pride weekend, there were a zillion more people than usual (so I’ve been told) and there was going to be at least an hour wait. So we just ordered a slice each and ate outside. There were so many cake choices and didn’t know which one to try! So I ordered what I usually do: red velvet cake. (What? Red velvet is the best!)

We went up to Macy’s to get a view of the park from up high. I tried not to look at the stuff because once I started browsing, I’d be unstoppable.

Since I’m pretty sure I’ll be back next year someday, I don’t feel too bad about not getting to shop. Also, I might be more of Haight Street material, hehe.

Twin Peaks & The Crooked Street

Prior to my trip to San Francisco, I confess that I have derived all my knowledge about if from popular culture– ok fine, mostly from watching Charmed. There were no witches saving the city from demonic and supernatural infestation, but San Francisco was a city that had a lot going on. It was one of those places that I felt had everything.

The city was pretty interesting up close, but my cousin thought that the first thing I should do is see it all from way up at Twin Peaks.

The picture above does not give justice to how breathtaking the view was. It’s one of those times I regret my lack of talent in photography because I take in a view and it’s as stunning as hell, so I click away and my pictures turn out disappointing. It’s really frustrating! [/endrant]

It was the clearest of days and you can even see the Golden Gate Bridge on the horizon (click the photo to see it better).

It might have been one of those “Thank God I’m alive” moments for me. It was also one of those “What’s that building over there? What’s that? And that?” moments, hehe.

If there’s a next time for me, and I hope there is, I should walk up or bike to the peak to take in the entire area. And to bring a camera with a panoramic setting.

Next, we headed to Lombard Street a.k.a. “Crooked Street”. It’s crazy! Not only does it go in a zigzag, but it’s also a steep incline and the spaces between the zigs and the zags is pretty small. According to Wikipedia, it has eight sharp turns and it’s the most winding street in the world. Now that’s a pretty sexy road.

One-way road!

Houses line the side of the street and the owners must be pretty annoyed at all the tourists there everyday. The property values must be way high though, even if the owners do have to maneuver their cars through that crazy street everyday. And park. They have to do some pretty advanced-level parking.

Speaking of houses, this is my favorite house on Lombard Street:

Look at the bougainvillea covering up half that house!

The house also had some flushed peach roses planted on the ground.

We walked up and down the street– the sidewalk, mind you. Safety first!– for photo-taking purposes. There was nothing else to do here besides just that. My plans of having an action movie-type car chase was thwarted because we only had one car. Also, it was against the law. I did experience driving through Lombard at night, but on a different day (Well, not me, my cousin drove. I was just a passenger). Sadly, this is the best photo I have of that:

Next up: Union Square.

California* here we come, right back where we started from!

*Well, just the Bay Area

**Plus I also went to Reno, which is in Nevada

The opportunity to travel to the US was too good to miss, even though I only spent a mere two weeks there. But two weeks is still equal to thousands of vacation photos so it’s going to take a while to sort them all out and blog properly about it. So this entry is a kind of a “Please hold while I procrastinate work on it”. I’m not promising you the entries are going to be epic– though the trip is epic– but it’s going to be hell of a lot better than if I throw a bunch of pics on one entry, add a bit of pretentious text, and pretend that’s what I meant to do all along.