Friday, September 7, 2012

San Francisco by the Cookies, Day 2

I found my missing blog post! Fortunately, I recovered it from my work computer before Evernote synced to the server and lost it forever. Here it is!

On Sunday, the day of rest, my boyfriend woke me up at the ungodly hour of 5 AM (are we sensing a pattern here?) because it was "really" 8 AM. I argued that we were in California, we should be on California time, and besides, none of the attractions would be open until around 10. After a few go-rounds, he finally let me sleep, while he went for a swim in the hotel pool. He came back shortly thereafter because the pool wasn't open yet. I had not been able to go back to sleep because all the discussion had woken me up anyway, so I crawled out of bed.

Following a discussion of our plans for the day, a swim in the hotel pool (which was open by this time) and breakfast at the hotel we'd considered but hadn't stayed at, it was time for our sightseeing marathon, courtesy of CityPass! CityPass is a neat invention that contains discounted tickets for several local attractions and offers unlimited free rides on the local transit system. It ended up being a hassle-free way to see the city, and if you are going to San Francisco (or several other participating cities), I totally recommend it. You just have to find it first.

Here's how we got our CityPasses. Weeks before the trip, we discovered the existence of CityPass and debated whether it was the choice for us. Was it really worth the 69 dollars? Yes, we concluded, but was it worth it to buy it in advance? You could buy online and have it delivered by mail. You could buy online and pick it up at any CityPass attraction. You could buy at any CityPass attraction. By the time we'd decided to buy, it was too late to have it mailed, so we chose to just purchase it onsite.

Now, when we arrived at the hotel, in addition to advising us about where to have lunch, the desk clerk also told us we could buy a CityPass at the Concierge desk, or the Visitor Center, which she nicely pointed out on the map. Once we had made our winding way to the Visitor Center, we had second thoughts about buying the CityPass there, thinking maybe we could get it cheaper back at the hotel. When we got back to the hotel, we found that they were not selling the CityPass there—guess we had misunderstood something. On our way back to the Visitor Center, we passed the Museum of Modern Art, which was one of the CityPass locations. We could buy the CityPass there and see the museum at the same time! But I had second thoughts about buying it there too, since I was suddenly afraid that some of the attractions might be closed for Labor Day or have conflicting hours and we wouldn't be able to get our money's worth. I wanted to ask bunches of questions, and I figured I wouldn't get the best answers from a harried museum ticket seller with a line out to the next block! So we walked on to the Visitor Center. By now it was so late that the sales desk had no one at it except this one dude counting his cash. I made him answer all my questions, and finally—finally—I bought the two CityPasses.

And we still had time to see the SF MoMA before it closed, happily bypassing the block-long lines with our pre-paid tickets in hand! But that, in case you were confused by my wanton disregard of traditional chronology, was still Saturday.

Since I've spent too much time digressing about Saturday, I'll try to keep Sunday's tale short and sweet. After breakfast (at the other hotel, the one we'd considered but decided not to stay at) we made a morning trek, via bus, free with CityPass, to Golden Gate Park, which, contrary to what you might expect, was not near the Golden Gate Bridge. There we visited the De Young Museum (more art) and the California Academy of Sciences (science) right across the way. The De Young Museum was where I picked up Giant Cookie #2, which I shall review at a later date, since I have a backlog of Giant Cookies to gnaw through, and I have already gone on too long in this post). The two museums kept us busy until late afternoon, when we took the bus down to the shore, to explore the most arctic, foggy beach I have ever set foot on. Unsurprisingly, we didn't stay there long.

The boyfriend was having a craving for steamed buns, and we needed to check out Chinatown anyway, so that's where we headed next. I myself have a mild obsession with the Chinese pastries known as moon cakes, but I haven't been able to find any for probably two years. I had pretty much given up on ever eating a moon cake again, and thus I was delighted with surprise when we stopped in a bakery and found the mother lode of moon cakes, with every kind of filling under the sun! I limited myself to just two. I also bought the biggest Giant Cookie of the entire trip—some kind of peanut/almond thing which I haven't tasted yet. Chinatown, unfortunately, rolled up its sidewalks shortly after we arrived, so we left and completely forgot to even go looking for the big fancy gate that's supposedly around there somewhere.

By the time we got back to the room, I was so sleepy I couldn't even eat my dessert, and you know if I'm skipping dessert, I'm really sleepy!