Wednesday, March 24, 2010

San Francisco

Last month I went back to the US during the Chinese New Year holiday. I took about two weeks off and spent most of that time back at home in Utah. Somewhat luckily, my flight had a 10 hour layover in San Francisco, before connecting back to Salt Lake City. Normally such a long layoff would be something to dread, but fortunately a few of my old college friends from Northwestern are living in San Francisco, turning a 10 hour layover into enough time to catch up with old friends and a quick tour of the city.

Flying the Blue Skies of the Pacific

After arriving in San Francisco, I went through customs as quickly as possible, then exited the terminal to go meet my friends. They picked me up and took me to a German restaurant for brunch. While we were waiting on the corner near the restaurant, I couldn't help but feel a bit of culture shock because of the diversity of the city. There were all different kinds of people, whereas in China it's so homogeneous. In the past I wouldn't think twice about something like that, but having spent over one year in mainland China without leaving the country, things seemed to have changed for me. Regardless, the brunch was amazing and some German sausages and potatoes were just what the doctor ordered after spending over 12 hours on a plane.

Ross, Dara, Chris, and Wes

After eating, they took me around the city a bit and showed me some of the local sites. Since Ross had just come to town for the weekend, he had to leave to go catch his flight, but Dara and Chris were able to keep showing me around, since they both live there. 

City Hall

Asian Art Museum Proves I Can't Get Away from China

We went for a hike near the bay where we could get a view of the ocean and also the Golden Gate Bridge. After being in China for so long, I couldn't help but enjoy the blue skies and breathe in deeply the fresh smelling air. Dara and Chris laughed at such behavior, but I figured I might as well embrace it.

Trail Near the Ocean

Golden Gate Bridge with Fog Rolling In

Wes Feeling Short with Chris and Dara

Light Through the Trees

Kids Playing in Foam from Crashing Waves

After the hike, Chris took us to the area where he lives called the Mission. We walked around the streets and sampled some of the local wares. There was an ice cream shop that is supposed to be one of the best around.  It had some unusual flavors and most seemed to be really tasty. The huge line out front of the shop proved that it's quite popular with the locals as well. The shop was right next to a big park, so we stopped there to relax for awhile. I was feeling the jetlag in full effect at that point and was struggling to keep it together at times.

View of San Francisco from the Park

Mission Park

Unfortunately, the day was getting close to an end. We did have enough time to grab a quick dinner before I left. We ate at a Mexican restaurant where I was able to partake of a glorious burrito, the likes of which I hadn't eaten for quite some time. After that, I had to go back to the airport and continue onward to Salt Lake City. While the time was pretty short, I really enjoyed catching up with those guys after not having seen some of them for almost two years. It was cool to get a quick glimpse of San Francisco as well and it seems like a great place to live. Thanks again to Chris and Dara for making it happen!