Because of the room availability in the first hostel I stayed at, I had to start my day by moving to new hostel a few blocks away. I had read on Yelp that this second hostel was in a sort of dodgy part of town. I couldn’t imagine how much of a difference a few blocks could make and simply dismissed it. However, upon seeing it in person it was instantly apparent that this area was not as nice. I never felt unsafe in the Tenderloin (where my hostel was located) but it was very dirty and littered (pun intended?) with homeless people. In fact I noticed that homelessness seems to be a HUGE problem in San Francisco. The homeless people I encountered were never rude or mean to me; they all seemed to be in their own world and basically kept to themselves. I had just never been to a city where homelessness was so ever-present and in your face.
Moving on, I dropped my bags off at the hostel and then began my day. I made my way down to the Civic Center and along the way passed the Asian Art Museum, the public library, and City Hall. When I got down to Market street I began to just walk aimlessly Eastward. I sort of made a nonsensical loop around the area before taking my time to figure out where I wanted to go.
Before leaving the first hostel I grabbed a physical map. I consulted it and saw that I was close to Chinatown, so I made my way there. Quick sidebar: I really got to like using the “analog” map as opposed to my (digital) iPhone. It made me feel smart and proud that I was able to navigate the city without using technology.
Eventually I made my way over to Chinatown. I figured the best place to start was the gateway. I really didn’t take much time to look at things or go into shops, I was more so just interested in seeing what it was like and being able to check it off the list.
When I got to the intersection of Grant and California I heard a car beep at the car in front of them. The car in front was a BMW Z3 that apparently didn’t go the second the light turned green. However, now that they were pressured into having to go right away, they accidentally stalled. The truck behind him beeped again and the Z3 turned on the engine, dumped the clutch and sped off. Afterwards there were skid marks at the top of the hill. You really need to have good clutch control to drive in San Fran.
After seeing most of Chinatown I headed West to the Cable Car Museum. The museum was small and old but it was free which was nice. The museum is basically just the garage where they bring the cable cars in for maintance. However, there are some artifacts, like old cable cars on display, photos from back in the day, and even a video from the early 80s explaining the history of the cable car and how it works. I basically just watched the video before leaving.
After leaving the museum I took the cable car back downtown. While riding I got a call from Shaun saying that we should meet up in a couple of hours. (I forgot to mention that the day before I had gotten a text from Shaun asking if I wanted to go to the San Jose Sharks Game with him). Once I was back downtown I took the streetcar a couple stops to the Westbound towards the Civic Center where I got off and walked back to the hostel. There I put my backpack away and to told them that I was going to be back late and that I’d check in then.
Next I made my way over to the Jack In The Box I had seen near my first hostel for lunch. I grabbed a quick bite before walking down to the Powell station. I told Shaun I would get on the first car so that he would know which train to get on. I took the BART to 24th and Mission where we were able to meet up. I was amazed at how smoothly it worked.
As we chatted we continued Southbound to the Millbrae station where we transferred to the CAL train. There we took the CAL train even further South to San Jose. Upon disembarking we made our way into the downtown area. We hadn’t been in the city more than 10 minutes when we were suddenly passed by a forrest green McLaren 12-C. I was surprised by this because a) I’ve never seen one that color before and b) because I didn’t realize San Jose was the type of area where that sort of car might not be unordinary.
After a short jaunt into the city (we really only dipped our toes in to San Jose) so Shaun could grab a water, we made our way back to the SAP center. Since he had paid for the tickets, I paid for his food and beer. Obviously I had never been to a Sharks game in California before (I specify CA because I have seen them play the Bruins in Boston) so it was cool to see the different idiosyncrasies that happen at that arena. For example, when the Sharks come out from the locker room, they skate out through a big, fake shark mouth. Also, before the game begins, the shark mascot comes out onto the ice on an ATV. Another thing that happens is when the other team gets a penalty, they play the JAWS theme and everyone in the audience clasps their arms up and down like a sharks’ mouth chomping on something. Lastly, the Zamboni’s have shark fins on them.
The game was really good and the Sharks won against the Ducks 3-1. When we got back to the train we were once again faced with a double deck car. I had wanted to ride on the top on the way down, but didn’t speak up. So, this time, like a little boy talking to his Dad I asked, “Can we ride on the top this time?” To my pleasant surprise, he wanted to do the same. It was a stupid but fun way to end the day. We transferred back to the BART at Millbrae and went our separate ways at 24th and Mission. After Shaun left I took the train to the Civic Center station and walked back to the hostel where I checked in and went straight to bed.
No joke, these were my “doorm-mates”…