This summer, I’m back in the Bay Area again for work. Last year, I was in the area for about a month, yet didn’t spend much time in San Francisco. This year, my sister was visiting over the weekend, and I played tourist with her. San Francisco is a small and manageable city; we were able to see most things within one single day.
Coming from Shanghai, everything about SF is clean and orderly. There is so much blueness between the sky and the bay, and the air is so clean that my lung is constantly happy. In some ways, it’s simply too perfect. I am constantly waiting for something to go wrong – yet throughout the day, no car nearly hits me, instead, I always have the right of way. How incredible! It’s the little things.
Outside of the obligatory touristy stops of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Piers, highlights of the day included a visit to the original Phils Coffee in the Missions District. That Iced Gingersnap Coffee was worth every minute of the wait. So delightful – clean, crisp, and not a hint of bitterness. Nom.
The Missions was a lot of fun to wander. We saw a ton of interesting graffitis, and even caught a guy working away at one. So much character. Shanghai is a great city full of its own uniqueness, but I do really miss expressions of individuality in public spaces.
Aside from the art, the other thing I love about the city is the existence of book shops. In most places, book stores are like record stores, they disappear faster than you can blink eyes. Yet in San Francisco, they still seem to be everywhere. Cafés and bookstores – two of my favorite things that this city has plenty of – my kind of city, for sure!
Bernal Heights to Columbus Street
Another pleasant surprise was the incredible view of the city from Bernal Heights Summit. I could’ve hung out on that hilltop all day. The Bay Area breeze is a nice change from the currently humid and hot weather of Shanghai, and the clean air and incredible view make one want to linger for a long while. It’s one of those moments where I couldn’t do much other than smile, and be incredibly happy at the ability to step out of my everyday life, to see the world and its beauty. Among all of that, I was inspired to dedicate a backbend to the universe.
The day ended with a pleasant stroll down Columbus Street and all the way to Lombard Street to check out the crooked road. The crooked road itself wasn’t much to see, but the view from that part of the city at sunset was worth the climb up the giant hill. Columbus Street was vibrant and lined with darling Italian bistros, a great contrast to the Missions’ heavy Latino influence.
I love the diversity crammed into a tiny city full of life. The city’s uniqueness has piqued my interest. I am now very curious to peel away layers of this city and can understand how one can easily leave their heart in San Francisco.
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