Saturday, January 14, 2012

San Francisco

     While camping around the United States back in 1997, I decided that I had to spend a day visiting San Francisco.  What an adventure that turned out to be!  I drove into the city in the early morning searching for a good parking spot.  I finally found a parking lot that was in an out of the way area with a bus stop in the immediate area.  I had a tight schedule that day having spent more time in Yosemite than I had planned.  When I saw a bus pulling up to the bus stop, I made a mad dash from the car to get the bus and  never thought to check where I was.   I took the bus to Fisherman's Wharf where I spent some time moseying around enjoying the sights. From there one could see, looming in the distance, the forbidding walls of infamous Alcatraz.  From Fisherman's Wharf, I took a street car to Chinatown where I had lunch, then returned to Fisherman's Wharf where I got a shuttle tour of the city.  Viewing the Golden Gate Bridge even from a distance was a highlight.  I enjoyed visiting Union Square, the Ferry Building and North Beach.
     However, upon our return to Fisherman's Wharf, I  suddenly realized that I had a serious problem.  In my haste to catch the bus that morning, I had neglected to ascertain the exact area where I boarded the bus.  Now I had to get back to my car pretty much by guess.  I took a bus to Union Square where I stopped at one of the coffee shops for a quick cup of coffee as the afternoon breeze had become suddenly chilly.  Then I headed out in the direction I thought my car would be located.  I walked for quite some time, leaving the shops and hotels of Union Square far behind me.  I eventually passed through a rather grungy neighborhood with what looked to be a number of warehouses.  As I was walking down a deserted street, two men exited a building ahead of me and sauntered my way.  As they neared me, one of the men studied me closely and then remarked to me as I passed, "You can't fool me.  I know an undercover cop when I see one."  I stuffed one fist in the sweatshirt I was wearing, hoping he would think I might have a weapon and passed by without comment.  Another ten minute walk brought me to a landmark I thought I had seen driving in to the parking lot.  Picking up my pace to a near jog and praying desperately that my car was near, I finally saw my parking lot in the distance.  An hour and a half after I left Union Square, I gratefully climbed into my little Nissan Sentra and made my way out of the city of San Francisco.  I would love to return someday and spend more time there, but the next time I will be better prepared and have my trip mapped out.

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