Golden Hour, Golden City

I’ve seen a lot – two layovers in particular – of San Francisco in the last three weeks, the first time being an unexpected upgrade, while the second one was a planned exchange with the boyfriend. I did nothing other than sleep and watch Netflix (Before We Go was wonderful, if you’d like a reco!) on the first trip, of course. Getting upgraded meant I really only had one set of clothes in my suitcase, hence I would not be prepared to go out and face The Golden City’s cool weather. I’d even forgotten to bring along decent sleepwear – luckily, I didn’t really have a roommate for most of the stay and my baggy shirt and boxers were only a sight for my own eyes…

The drive downtown. Very similar to LA with the freeways being surrounded by beautiful mountains.

The trip with the boyfriend was a different story, though. That day was not to be wasted. We planned a full day around the city, from biking around parks to seeing the Golden Gate bridge from a new perspective. We had a packed, exciting itinerary… that we regrettably didn’t end up following, forgetting to account for the ghost of traveling transpacific: jet lag. We woke up as early as seven in the morning and managed to get breakfast, but ended up falling right back to sleep and waking up at two in the afternoon. Yikes. We had to adjust our itinerary and re-plan, had to get ready, charge our stuff (my bad… forgot to charge our pocket wifi which was our lifeline if we wanted to commute and save some bucks), and we were ready to leave by … five. Five! At that point, we had debated whether to leave at all, but we thankfully beat our laziness this time and dragged ourselves out the door.

We took an Uber (Uber is alive!!! in the States. /sigh) to the Ferry Building to catch the Farmer’s Market and grab a bite to eat. Packs of people were walking around clad in navy and orange, and we realized upon passing the AT&T park that there was a scheduled Giants game. People actually watch baseball, apparently. Anyway, I don’t know why I was expecting there to be loads of food in the farmer’s market, because there was not (I know we arrived ten minutes to closing time, but still…). Not ones we could already eat, anyway. We were starving, man. We walked around and ended up eating at The Slanted Door, a Vietnamese restaurant, one of the few Yelp recommended around the area. Enjoyed the food here (but not the price tag, I’m not even gonna lie, lol. Food is so expensive here in the US, WHY.) Pictured below: Caramelized king prawns (I don’t care if Dwight says I’m eating them with their feces on their backs – I love my dose of prawn!) with onions and bok choy. Not pictured: some sort of chicken dish which tasted like a less salty adobo. Also – rice!!! Ah, the triumph of finding rice on a menu!

We were then off to a park called Alamo Square. We opted for a bus ride this time to save some money (a bus ride costs $2.75). On the walk to the stop, we encountered a homeless man shouting angrily at … the air. He was walking the same direction as us for some time and I was honestly terrified (even though I knew this was to be expected in the city, encountering my fair share on our vacation here back in ’14). I don’t think San Fo’s one of those cities you can wander around alone. People around us didn’t really mind, or I guess they pretended they didn’t – maybe that was so as not to catch his attention. Anyway, escaped him and found our bus eventually, and I finally got to use the coins I’ve accumulated from all the way back to our first trip to the US in 2014. The bus driver was kind enough to let me stand there for a bit and drop all my dimes and pennies (which, truthfully I still can’t tell from each other).

Walking to the park was a challenge as it was uphill and very cold + windy, a.k.a. San Francisco in a nutshell. But we got there just in time to watch the sunset bask the Painted Ladies, a row of Victorian pastel-colored houses, in golden sunlight.

I may or may not be wearing mom jeans because I no longer fit in my usual skinnies… RIP, 26-inch waist. Also, I will never understand how people walk in anything other than sneakers when traveling! No matter how much I want to pull out a pair of booties, I remember how much walking I’ll have to do and back out… How, fashion bloggers, how? I am genuinely bewildered, but at the same time inspired to not dress lazily when traveling. I failed on this occasion as I dressed for comfort, but boy do I wanna try.

After taking a bunch of photos and hanging around the park, watching couples publicly display their affection (I used to be so against this… but me being in a relationship has made me realize a lot of things, including the fact that our happiness should precede anything and everything else, and expression of love is nothing to hold back!), freezing our asses off as the sun slowly went down, we headed to a nearby bar (yes, I did just say a bar! Is this still me talking? Haha). We generally don’t drink, save for special occasions, but this one had an old-school arcade with games from our childhood – Metal Slug, Marvel vs Capcom, Pacman, Super Mario, anyone? (Yes, we went to a bar for the arcade. Yes, we are actual children.) I knew the boyfriend would enjoy playing a few nostalgic games, and that I would love posing with him in their photo booth for a cheesy vintage strip (yes, I am a hopeless romantic…).

Since we’ve already touched on the topic of PDA – shamelessly attaching some of my fave photos of us being all lovey dovey and making use of the Gorillapod I ordered via Amazon (I know I joked about buying it for the sole purpose of taking shots like these haha but I’m hoping it, along with a camera upgrade slash investment, will push me to shoot films again). I realize it’s an incredible privilege to constantly be able to travel the world with your beau, and I will sure as heck enjoy every second of it and make as much of our memories last.

In a nutshell, how we spent half a day in San Francisco:

  1. Caught (barely) the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building
  2. Had lunch at a Yelp-recommended restaurant called The Slanted Door (3.5 stars / $$$)
  3. Hung out at Alamo Square for a view of the infamous Painted Ladies
  4. Had a drink and relived our elementary days playing in arcade bar Emporium SF
  5. Took a Lyft back and had Denny’s for late dinner

It wasn’t the most exciting of itineraries, but when you’ve got your favorite person strapped around your arm, even the most mundane of days can get quite extraordinary. x

PS.  I highly recommend using Lyft for traveling around the US. We’ve used it twice and have gotten 5 stars from our drivers both times, and we’ve in turn been rewarded with 25% off on our next 10 rides! So it’s not only more often cheaper than Uber – it apparently instantly rewards you for being good passengers too, which I find awesome. Sign up here to get $5 off your first ride.

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