USA: City by the Bay

31st July to 3rd August, 2016

After saying goodbye to my Uncle and slipping into a depressive state, crunch time at work and a business trip to USA was perhaps just the thing that I need to ease the pain. Perhaps I’m on an escape but I really need it.IMG_1832The United flight from Shanghai to San Francisco was long and tiresome. I was not at all impressed with the 3-4-3 seating arrangement and old Boeing model of the United flight!  Along with my 3 other colleagues, we tried our best to nap along the way but landing in SF early was tough as jet lag slowly sinked in. A trip to the local supermarket in Sunnyvale gave me an interesting insight into the food industry and packaging in the States. Yep- things are bulkier and bigger even than the ones in Australia and NZ.

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Drive after our XXXth hill

San Francisco with about 7100 people per km2 is the most dense city in California and the second-most densely populated city after NY. San Francisco is the city and the area across the Golden Gate Bridge is known as the SF Bay area.  I felt like saying “Hola” to the city after all, it was the colonists from Spain who first established the city in 1776 hence the name San Francisco.  The Chinese translation of the city is “旧金山“ translated into the “old golden hill.” Personally, this is a great translation as it embodies two meanings. The first is the city’s historical link to the Gold Rush and the second are the golden hills around this very hilly city ( more than 50).In 1849, the California Gold Rush brought on rapid growth and helped the city to become a major financial center in the West Coast. Such changes made the city into the largest city on the West Coast. The city was rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake and the city built up a reputation for being very liberal and full of activism. The reason would stem from the aftermaths of WW2 where massive immigration, hippie-ism , sexual revolution, peace and gay moments transformed SF into one of the least conservative states in America.

After our busy meetings, we headed out to see a bit of the city. Our first stop was to Lombard Street also known as the “most crooked street in the world.” Steep with 8 sharp turns and located in the one-block section, we drove slowly down the slope. What a great feeling! The tower in the background is a great place to have a bird’s eye view of this crooked street. There are several other crooked street but I guess this one is most iconic.

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A great view from the top of Lombard Street

We headed West to see the Golden Gate Bridge and her surrounding area. Thanks to our GPS map, we successfully got off the bridge to avoid the long traffic jam. We only wanted to find a nice spot with a great view of the iconic bridge. The best free spot – Torpedo Wharf.

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There she is, the vermilion beauty – watching over the Bay in complete complementary harmony with her surroundings. Not even the fog could hide her confidence.  She started her watch in 1937 and it seems that she will stay for a long time. Already a part of the city, SF does not feel complete without her. I enjoyed lingering at the wharf and just stare into emptiness. I couldn’t help but think about the recent passing of my uncle and for a brief moment, question life and existence. I thought about throwing myself into the bay and forcing the US authorities to re-open Alcatraz ( a former federal prison from 1933 to 1963). Lock me up for a while. I need it.

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We ended the day at Fisherman’s Wharf.

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