Sunday, June 7, 2015

Welcome to San Francisco! - 5/22/15

For quite a few years now, Ruston, Jacob, Theresa and I have wanted to take a trip up to San Francisco. Finally in May, everything was able to come together and we finally made it. And with Ian in tow we've got a +1.

The day started early Friday morning as Jacob showed up at our house and we all drove to the airport together.

Another trip hmm?

Jacob had a surprise for us before the trip.

Some of his delicious Rice Krispy treats! Yum!

Ian's Gram was out visiting us for the week. She's going to be taking off today too, so right before we boarded, he gave her a big hug goodbye.

The plane was completely full so Ian was a lap baby. It wasn't too bad though since the three of us sat together.

And even Jacob took a turn with Ian. I think Ian was the most behaved when he was sitting with Jacob too.

We're spending a long weekend going all over San Fran, and we were trying to decide between public transportation and renting a car. In the end, we decided the extra expense of a car would more than outweigh the additional waiting time and hassle of figuring out the bus and train schedule.
In the end, it really worked out. The full size car T booked actually ended up being a brand new Honda CX-9 with 3 rows of seating and only 38 miles on it!

Instead of flying into San Francisco it actually worked out cheaper for us to fly into Oakland. That was the excuse I used to say that the Pixar campus was "on the way" to San Fran. Pixar doesn't have any campus tours, and sadly I don't know anyone who works at Pixar, so the front gate was the closest we got. Ian had fallen asleep shortly after us getting into the car, so I parked and we took turns staying with him and going up to get pictures.

It was right around lunchtime, so there were lots of employees coming and going. No one stopped to give us an impromptu tour though...

The gates surrounding the campus have pretty flowers on them, which were in bloom and smelled wonderful.


One of the "Mine Mine Mine" seagulls from Finding Nemo was perched on the roof of one of the buildings.

Like I said, it's lunchtime. One of T's favorite places is Noodles & Company, but there aren't any in Los Angeles. Searching San Francisco though, there happened to be one in the area we're hanging out. I parked the car in an expensive hourly lot and we were off to explore the city.

We've got some time to kill, so harkening back to our time in Tokyo, we decided to walk the 0.5 miles to the Dragon's Gate entrance to Chinatown.

Lookout! It's a dragon!

I see you monkey.

Not Theresa's favorite part of San Fran. The hills!

Walking with Ian through the streets of Chinatown.

He was excited to point out "Balloon!" as we passed under each strand of lanterns.

The street lights here are similarly cool. Two dragons curled around a pole, supporting a Chinese style lantern.

Seeing all these interesting shops, we've got to go into at least one of them.

Jacob thought this place looked interesting, so we stopped to take a look around. Look at all those breakable things! There were signs everywhere saying if you break it, you buy it. Ian stayed in my arms with his arms held close the whole time!

Just off the main streets were these alleys with who knows what down them. Let's explore!

A fortune cookie shop!
It wasn't exactly an accident finding this shop. We had plans to go to another fortune cookie shop somewhere else, but when we called, they said their machines were down. This was our backup.

Inside the owner handed out free cookies.

Yum!

Enjoy these photos. They cost 50 cents to take.
There were three different stations where batter was loaded and then deposited on a rotating track. Gas burners in the back of the machine cooked them and then they made their way back out to the front. Here a worker picked them off, inserted a fortune, and used a metal rod to form them into shape.

For $5 we left with a large bag of fortune cookies, plus a handful of flat cookies.

Ian eyeballing one of those cookies.

But he was happy to share when I asked him for a bite.

The crew continued through Chinatown, making our way into various shops. Here we found a few treats we enjoyed while we were in Japan together.

I'm not sure what this is, but a bunch of stores here in Chinatown have huge barrels of it for sale. I think it's ginseng, but I'm not sure. It certainly commands a bit of money per pound.

Being just a little bit chilly, we decided a pastry and coffee would be fantastic.

We found a Chinese bakery and each got a tasty treat.

Now to find coffee!

We wandered back through the city, enjoying the sights and people. Ian saw a homeless person sleeping on a bench, he was quick to point and say "Nighty night!".

Eventually we found ourselves in Mechanics Monument's Plaza, sipping coffee and eating pastries. Ian liked my coconut bun.

And anywhere you'll find lots of people eating food, you'll find pigeons. Ian was certain happy to have them around, and we were happy to let him burn off some energy.

This whole time we've been missing someone. Ruston sent us a photo letting us know he was on his way.

Ruston will be flying into Oakland and taking the BART into town, so we all walked toward to Ferry building while we waited for him to arrive. The Hyatt Regency Hotel was a nice pit stop and the lobby looks amazing.

Making our way down the street, we stopped by a few street vendors. This guy had wire puzzles in all sorts of shapes, and was happy to show us how they worked. No one was at his table before us, but once we stopped and showed interest he started getting quite the crowd.

Ruston's here!

We weren't going anywhere, but couldn't pass up such a good photo opportunity.

Ready to go for a ride. Maybe next time buddy.

Now that we're together, it's time to head back to the car. Ian getting a brief chance to walk without holding anyone's hand.

And that's the reason he doesn't get the opportunity too often yet.

We're staying a little outside the city at the Homewood Suites. A suite hotel works out so much better for us since Ian can have his own room and can go to bed in the living room at 7:30pm, while T and I have the room to ourselves.

Catching a ride back downstairs.

All that walking around Chinatown put me in the mood for Chinese food.

Na Na's Kitchen in Brisbane had decent Yelp reviews and was nearby. For the price, they offered huge plates of food that was tasty and filling. Their cream cheese wontons and sweet and sour chicken hit the spot.

Fortune cookies all the way from NY?

We had a fun first day here in San Francisco. With 2.5 more days here, who knows what kind of adventures we'll have!

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