San Francisco

March 23, 2009

Finally, I found a little time to post some of my San Francisco photographs. Having been there for only a few days, I don’t know if they do justice to the city’s incredible character and diversity, but I like some of them quite a lot.

I reached San Francisco on the night of Wednesday, March 4, 2009. Before my arrival, I booked a night in the Hostel in Fort Mason. It turned out to be one of the most amazing places. The next morning, I had a few hours to spare before the Fulbright Enrichment Seminar started, so I strolled down the beach along Marina Boulevard to the Golden Gate Bridge. John, a guy that I met in the hostel, joined me, and we had a hell of a time.

The old footbridge is just a few hundred yards away from the Bridge and there are dozens of starfish on its pillars. I’ve never seen so many at a time.

On the bridge head is an observation deck with telescopes, and it’s amazing how many people feed them with their hard-earned money when they could just walk on the bridge and see it “live”.

Just below the Bridge, at Fort Point, dozens of surfers wait for their wave in the ice cold water.

We later saw that woman riding her bike back down the hill to Marine Drive. Her skirt was ballooning in the fair wind like a brake parachute…

That fence just next to Redwood Highway secures the steep flank that drops from the bike path down to the sea.

The seminar was amazing. I met a lot of incredible people from all over the world, and we had a ton of fun. There was a lot of sitting around and listening to presentations, but it was pretty interesting. The guy in the picture is Damiano from Italy. He studies Journalism in New York. After the seminar was finished, we hung around in San Francisco for another day and explored China Town together with some other really amazing people.

Khurshid is a Fulbrighter from Bangladesh. Meeting him and the other Bangladeshis at the seminar kind of made me feel home sick… Shoshur bari zindabad!!!

I had a lot of fun with the hills in San Francisco…

Really. A lot of fun.

I didn’t get to ride the famous cable cars, but I rode the F Line. I just love the cars. They remind me of the Tram in Munich. Talking about home sickness…

The Hornblower Yacht in front of the Bay Bridge at Pier 3. On the last night of the seminar, Fulbright sponsored a boat cruise with dinner on the Bay. What an experience…

The skyline at night from the Bay. I know, it really is a cheesy shot, but I just couldn’t resist…

And yes, we DID have a party…

It was really a magical moment when the yacht turned around under the Bridge. Somehow, I felt like in a movie from the 1930s.

Friendships were made, birthdays were celebrated, plans were concocted, and then we had to get off the beautiful Hornblower Yacht and out into the San Francisco night…

The next day, Ali from Turkey, Evisa from Latvia, Damiano, John (the guy I met in the hostel) and I strolled through China Town had lunch outside on the deck of a nice little restaurant. We paid $15.95 each for a five-course menu and got more food than we could have ever dreamed of. The taste was ok, but not really different from the standard Chinese food in the standard Chinese restaurant. Maybe we should have invested a little more and gone for authentic Chinese, but we were hungry and broke…

Photograph by John Bowman

And no, Damiano is not flashing his middle finger in the photo above. But he sure plays his beer bottle like a trumpet…

In some ways, China Town reminded me of Italy. The laundry hanging from the balconies, that is something you might as well see in some back alley in Florence or Verona.

And here it is: the world famous Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company in Ross Alley!!! Here’s an excerpt from their web site:

“A tiny old-world factory situated in Chinatown has produced thousands of Chinese Fortune Cookies a day since 1962. In the dim light, watching three women deftly turn dough into fortune cookies you could be forgiven for thinking you had traveled back in time.”

Who wouldn’t agree?

Some snap shots…

This one’s on Broadway and Columbus. I don’t think it needs any explanation. I just love that cutline at the bottom…

After lunch, Evisa’s friend Magda, another Fulbrighter from Slovakia, joined us and while Damiano stayed back in China Town, we went up to Twin Peaks to enjoy the view over the city. That is, those of us with short hair enjoyed the view…

Finally Magda and Evisa found a way to enjoy it, too…

The moon lit our way back down from Twin Peaks…

…to the parking lot, where a group of Buddhist monks also fell for the beauty of the scenery.

Before having our last supper (in San Francisco) in an awesome Thai restaurant, we went to Dolores Park to have a last look at the skyline by night…

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