Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The final day (I don't want to leave; June 26)

view from the window with morning fog
Yesterday's large quantities of food and running around had forced me to bed early and at 5:30 am I am wide awake and decide to get up. 

The hotel I'm staying in is not cheap (neither outrageous),  but during my 5 night stay I never once heard a single sound from cars or other guests in the neighbouring rooms.  Sleep is fabulous here !!

I finish a translation in the morning, and at noon check out of my room but leave my backpack in the hotel. Still time for a bike ride!  When standing in front of the hotel and looking up the hill, a persistent Ding Ding sound reminds me that I haven't taken a picture of one of San Francisco's main tourist attractions yet!

I still have never ridden on one of these in my 3 trips to SF, but at least now I have pictures ;-)

Like most bike trips, this one heads up the hills first:
2 blocks from the hotel; no idea what it is called ;-(

Some streets and views look suspiciously familiar ;-)

I'm not sure what the significance of this steam/sailing hybrid ship is, but I'm sure there is one.  And yes, that is Alcatraz in the background.
Crissy Field.  Unlike in Vancouver, the electric vehicle charging stations in California seem to be used on a very frequent basis.

Is this why the air looks cleaner down there ?
Fog does not count as dirty air

Let there be pelicans ...

Then it's time to meet Mr (or Ms) Long-beak

What did you just call me?

It seems s/he heard me and is trying to prove that I employed a mis-nomer.
No movie-type retractable beak here; he really sticks it into the sand that far !
Yes, that is one and the same beak on the same bird !!!

That's enough animal kingdom for a while!
Let's look at something harmless, like the ocean
Alcatraz in the fog
Daring to look at living things again, I am further educated !
I like to call this plant the Golf-Ball-Flower

The fog over Golden Gate Bridge still has not lifted

Who's on third ?

I particularly like those tin-solider-like people below the pier ;-)
I keep cycling closer to Golden Gate Bridge and get the impression that the fog seems to be lifting a little.

Yes, some mad captain is heading right for the bridge !

Sunshine where I just came from


Yes, the fog is slowly dissipating, but I'm not willing to wait any longer so this is maximum visibility for today
Time to head back to sunnier areas. Crissy Field is beckoning ;-)

I keep cycling over the gravel paths of Crissy Field towards Fort Mason, when a movement in the corner of my eye catches my attention. Even my very sudden breaking doesn't seem to phase him (her?).

S/He is moving. But very slowly and deliberately.  And I won't have to wait long to find the reason for this measured gait.

Not even 1 minute later I see another one (below). A different one!  I'm just getting ready to turn my camera on when I see his head bolt forward into the ground.  When he is upright again, the camera is ready and captures the mouse or rodent. Upon closer inspection of the picture I conclude that he unearthed a mole. No wonder they walk around so clandestinely ; they don't want to scare the prey away!

An IFO (Identified Furry Object)

Palace of Fine Arts with log

A few shots with a very photogenic sailhboat (reminds me of France):

More pelicans, Alcatraz, and the same sailing ship

After that I start heading into the hills. This sight stops me in my tracks.  I've stayed here before and it must have been one of the nights of the trip 13.5 years ago, when I came down here to the wedding of Alan and Glenda.


I stop at Modern Thai again, but the food today is not quite as fabulous as yesterday. The green curry is still fabulous, but the chicken in it must have been straw-fed, because it tastes a bit dry and tough.    It hasn't been 5 minutes since I left the restaurant when I have to pee and curse myself for not having dealt with this at the restaurant (Don't you HATE it when that happens).  But I recognize a familiar lavatory from the distance,  cycle there, and do the security check thing again.  

Nikko Hotel (not my picture)
While we're on the subjects of readily available lavatories in a strange city, those reverse springs of contentment are not easily accessible to a visitor because one just doesn't know where they are.  Hotels however, should always be a safe choice. I'd like to extend special Karma wishes to the receptionist of the Nikko Hotel in San Francisco.  When I walked into this extremely fancy high-priced establishment in my usual storm-hair, unshaven, bare feet in sandals, crumbly and crummy shorts look and asked her for directions 'to the nearest washroom' she at first asked whether I had my room key with me.  When I replied that I was not a guest of their establishment, she informed me that one needed a magnetic key to access the washrooms and handed me one she kept under the counter for that purpose with the single request to bring it back.  Classy !

Price for the cheapest room checked just now, 2 hours before check-in time (last minute discount?) is US$339 + taxes.  Just a tad steep for the cheapest room ;-)

Someone's joke or are they that daft?

I pick up my backpack in the hotel at 3:30,  and have a break in a cafe before returning the bike.  The crepes is absolutely wonderful, even though IMHO a crepe should never be filled with scrambled egg and cheese !

I bring the bike back at 3:50, and the people at Blazing Saddles are happy to see me again. Most likely because I am going to pay my outrageous bill now.  It's not cheap renting a good electric bike in San Francisco, but it was worth it if I consider all the places the bike carried me to.  I just don't want to know my $s/mile ratio ;-)

Then it's time to take BART for the last time and the fact that I keep waking up with my head dangling at uncomfortable angles bodes well for tonight's two hour flight!

Checking in at SFO is straight forward, even though the self-check-in machines naturally don't like my Non-US & Non-Canadian passport.  Security is a breeze, even though I still don't understand why I can leave my silver jewelry and my watch on but have to take the sandals off my naked feet.

Good Bye San Francisco

Once at my gate, I start uploading the pictures from my camera and writing this post.

United Airlines personnel's behaviour borders on rude, but the passengers are well trained and is herded through the procedure easily.

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