Along the streets of San Francisco
According to the tour itinerary, this should be day 2. However, I consider it day 1 because it was when the tour really started. The supposedly day 1 was just the tourists' arrival, picked up from the airport and brought to the hotel. That is not a tour, I would say.
Anyway, here we go. Come ride and walk with me on day 1 of a West Coast tour.
The previous night, our tour guide knocked on each of our hotel rooms, gave reminders and instructions for the following day - this day - "family number" assigned for every tourist or their group as the case maybe, no breakfast will be served, everyone must be at the lobby at six in the morning. First on the itinerary was cable car ride early in the morning.
I was expecting a cable car ride suspended in the air from one top to another. I did not notice mountains nearby during my arrival so I wondered if the ride is between buildings. I kept my curiosity to see for myself the dollowing day. And that almost made me burst into laughter when I realized the cable car ride our tour guide was referring to. Cable car ride on the ground!
We arrived at the cable car terminal shortly after six. It was still dark and I was chilling big time. It was about 10°C. There was no cable car on sight so we waited for a while.
When a cable car arrived, all cameras stuck out. Mine included of course. As the car moves forward nearer my spot, I thought a small version of the train to Hogwartz is approaching.
We boarded and the car eased on. It has two seating area. One is enclosed while the other is open. About half of us tourists opted to be in the open area I think because of wanting to have a clear view of the streets for photoshoots. I gave that thought up. It was so cold so I went inside the enclosed area. The view was still clear through the glass window anyway.
Our tour guide started to explain the roles of two staff manning the car - one in front and one at the back. I was not paying much attention. I wondered who did. I was busy looking around and trying to spot a camera subject.
I tried to memorize the streets and turns but I eventually gave up. I wanna see the views instead of getting busy writing street names.
The car stopped here and there to load or unload passengers. Once when we were about move on, a woman shouted from the other side of the road. The car slowed down. It did not come to a full stop and the woman was already hanging by a pole in the open seating area. There was still available space so I thought she would fix herself up but no. She continued hanging like that until her drop-off point. And she seemed to be enjoying it. I waited if one of the crew would call her attention to sit down but no. It seems normal to hang by a running car!
My jaw dropped. So it is not only in the Philippines where people do this. I understand when people can be desperate chasing time and chase a running car. But to continue hanging by outside the car even if there is space for you? That is another story.
The streets were still very quiet. I wonder how busy these are during business hours. I won't be around to see that anymore because we will be in different spots for the rest of the day.
I wondered what is so touristy about riding a cable car. Of course, tourists got to experiencd the locals! I reminded myself. I realized later that I would have missed one of San Francisco's icon if we hadn't had the ride.
The San Francisco cable car system is the world's last manually operated cable car system. An icon of San Francisco, the cable car system forms part of the intermodal urban transport network operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway.
More turns on street corners and our tour guide announced that we get down the car. We did. I asked what is the place and he answered "Lombard Street." I checked the street signs. We were in the corner of Hyde and Lombard streets. Again, I wondered what is in a street. Then I reminded myself. You have to experience the locals.
We were in the middle stretch of Lombard Street. To the other end is going up, the other down. We were on a hill? The downward portion of the road has winding flower beds in the middle. Imagine a center island designed with curves instead of straight stretch parallel to the road.
The flower bed you see on the next photo is curving in the middle of the road. I guess I am just too small that I was not able to take photo at a higher angle to show the curve.
Our tour guide pointed the way down and instructed that we take the sidewalk. Why, should people walk in the middle of the road? I thought.
Well, I broke the instruction like some of my fellow tourists. I ran to the middle of the road to take photos.
I was literally in the middle of the road when I took this next photo. I was trying to capture the background behind the flower. I guess I need more practice with this kind of shot.
We reached a corner where some of my fellow tourists were already waiting. I looked up and found ourselves in the corner of Leavenworth and Lombard streets. This is where the winding center island of Lombard Street ends though Lombard street still stretches farther down to I do not know where.
I looked back to where we came from and tried so hard to get a good shot of the winding flower bed but to no avail. I can see and capture only parts of first two curves below. For my readers' appreciation, I borrowed the next photo from Pixabay. This is how that part of Lombard Street, between Hyde and Leavenworth streets, looks like.
Lombard Street is an east–west street in San Francisco, California that is famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns. Stretching from The Presidio east to The Embarcadero (with a gap on Telegraph Hill), most of the street's western segment is a major thoroughfare designated as part of U.S. Route 101. The famous one-block section, claimed to be "the crookedest street in the world", is located along the eastern segment in the Russian Hill neighborhood. It is a major tourist attraction, receiving around two million visitors per year and up to 17,000 per day on busy summer weekends, as of 2015.
We walked farther down and I spotted this saying on a wall to the left. I haven't heard or read the saying elsewhere so I smiled of discovering new food for thought. I looked up to the structure owning the wall where this was hung. I was expecting a school or a commercial space but it looked like residential. I was not sure.
About a couple more minutes of walking down and we came to the crossing with Columbus Avenue. Our tour guide said we stop and wait for our bus here. We will head on to our next destination. And where was that? I was not paying much attention so I just followed the flow. Stay tuned for my next stop...