Hello to everybody reading my post. I’m sorry to tell you that I’m going to stop writing my blog any further. I returned from San Francisco two weeks ago without any other problems;). I spent my last two weeks about which I didn’t write partly with my sister before she left, got to know Julia, said goodbye to the chinese guys and spent my last days with my friends I got to know in this gorgeous city. Thank you again for reading and here it all ends.
On Tuesday the 24th I spent my whole afternoon, which was about three hours, exploring the SFMOMA. But what’s really funny is the fact that I saw only one floor of the museum because I stopped for every painting. As I told Sandra and Martin how much time I had spent there they couldn’t really believe it and burst out laughing:(. But it doesn’t matter for me because I had a great time. Afterwards I left to pick up my sister Nina at the airport. I arrived there one hour too late due to some misunderstandings and not enough preparation. But finally we both arrived back at home talking to each other in Swiss-German, exchanging memories of the past weeks. The next day Nina stood up with us and we went to school all together. The morning she spent in XXI forever, whereas I was sitting in school. At one o’clock we met in front of NOMA and ate lunch in Yerba Buena Park. The first thing after the Park I wanted to show to my sister was the Haight-Ashbury. We went to Amoeba music store and several other shops but because Nina was still jet-lagged we returned home earlier this day. On Thursday I had the intention to go to the SFMOMA again. We bought the entry with an audio guide, which I highly recommend as they support you with much extra information and they are also a help for those who are too lazy to read the comments;)
Honestly, I forgot what I did on Monday. I’m not sure if I planned my week. What I’m sure about is that I went to Chinatown but maybe it was on Friday 20th where I knowingly made a gap in my blog because of unknown things. And in this moment I have become so clever to look it up. Due to the cleverness of my camera it dates every picture. So here’s the thing; I went to Chinatown on Friday the 20th and planned my week on Monday the 23rd, now I got everything right and can finally write about the experiences I made in Chinatown, after this unnecessary blabla I make…
I started my normal Friday with school in the morning and after lunch in Yerba Buena Park I sallied out for Chinatown. Although my guide-book didn’t recommend me to take Grant Ave. where the gate to China Town is, I went this way because I absolutely wanted to see this gate. Behind the gate you don’t step into the real China Town but in a thing which represents what Tourists want to see. The third most of tourist shops polluted area beside #1 Pier 39 and #2 Fishermen’s Wharf. But as you get the first crossroad the touristic stores begin slowly to disappear, like scattering from the center right behind the gate. I walked untill I reached a bakery in which they sell Bubble Tea, here called Pearl Tea. I took one with Green Tea and Pearl. The malicious pearls, which I know from Switzerland should pop in your mouth, didn’t and rather sticked my teeth together with the texture of a gummy bear in some water. All in all the Tea had a sweet-milky taste of nothing. After I had bought and tasted the tea I remembered an old homeless woman who had taken such a drink out of the rubbish again, took some gulps and spat some black beads on the street. So like the person who had bought the “tea” before me I threw it in the next bin. I also took a short walk over Portsmouth Square, where I saw a big part of the elder chinese community either playing bridge, meditating, sitting around or shuffling through the park. Afterward I went to the main shopping street, Stockton St., where the markets with all the curious things are. Sometimes I saw things looking like cucumbers but lying in a bowl filled with water. Sandra later told me that these are sea cucumbers which Chinese use to eat. In one of these little markets I also bought a fresh mango for only 69 cents! and some litchis.
As I am scrolling through the piles of photographs I see that I also went to the cable car museum this day. How fast I can forget such events! Here are some pictures and explanations:
After the earthquake in 1906 which had smashed major parts of the ancient city, also the cable cars got hit by the shaking. All the cars up to one got destroyed and only a last line was still working. The government made the decision to rebuilt only few cable car lines and just to reconstruct the streets. Some years after this decision had been made the government wanted to ban the cable car as such and replace them by bus transport lines. But a woman stepped into the discussion and her name was Friedel Klussmann. She managed to persuade the government that the cable cars could stay in San Francisco. Nowadays there’s a turntable in honor of Friedel Klussmann.
Saturday the 21st I had planned since the Monday before: Getting up early to go to the Farmer’s Market on Ferry Building Plaza and afterwards walking to the Musée Mecanique along the many piers. After I arrived to the Ferrybuilding I had another market in mind which I had seen before but on which I hadn’t had a closer look, so I gazed at the many market stands until I recognized another market surrounding the Ferry Building, much bigger than the one I had been walking through. So I crossed the street and dipped into the atmosphere of the real Farmer’s Market. The most numerous fruit I think I’ve seen there was the peach. Everywhere where there were some you could try them because there are like hundreds of different kinds of them. But peaches were not the only thing you could taste. My guide-book told me that you could eat yourself through the market because you can have a sample of nearly everything. I finished my walk through the Farmer’s Market with an unpleasant smoothie, which had only a taste like something indefinably sour. So I began my promenade down the Embarcadero passing several piers. From far away I could already see the many flags waving in the wind. As I came closer I could finally discern the lettering on them: “Pier 39”. In this moment I decided to turn right and get to know the biggest tourist trap of San Francisco. The spaces between the shops were stuffed with people and I’m sure none of them were from SF. All these shops there sell only souvenirs same as in Fisherman’s Wharf, the only difference is the package, the appearance of the store. It seems to be for an upper class and like that gathers richer tourists. At the other end of the Pier I could see the seals which centred themselves on one float and a single one on another float presenting itself to the pack of which I was part of. Escaping the crowd I saw many people drawing, singing or making balloon animals along the further way. Once again I came to Fishermen’s Wharf in order to get to the Musée Mecanique. There were so many machines in the amusement arcade I could nearly not see the end of them. For all of the machines you have to pay with quarters and luckily I didn’t spend too much of my money there. It was really interesting to see all of these games. The eldest one was not a game but a zoetrope showing a little girl skipping rope. Next day I went to church in the morning, the Glide Memorial Church famous for its gospel music where also parts of the Sister Act had been filmed. It was great as far as music is concerned. It’s not that the rest was bad but I can’t rate it because I didn’t understand everything they had talked about. At the end of the church service I went on to meet Leandra in front of our school. Together we took the bus to get to the Exploratorium, but because we got out of the bus too late, reached Golden Gate Bridge. But that wasn’t such a problem because I wanted to walk along the beach anyway. We had to hurry up a bit because as we arrived, it was already like 5 o’clock and the Exploratorium closes at 7. The exhibition in there was pretty interesting because it was like a lot of different experiments you could try. In the evening some new students arrived, two chinese guys, Stanley and Daniel. They are 16 and 15 and sometimes it’s really difficult to understand what they want to tell you and it was appalling to get to know how many things they don’t know or can’t have because they are living in China.
I just wanted to tell you all that I haven’t forgotten to write my blog, it’s only the lack of time I have and in this moment I’m selecting all the pictures I made for the blog. Thanks to my sister who came last Tuesday and left this morning I’ve now a cable to reload my net book so their gonna be online until tomorrow.
And that I don’t forget three songs you absolutely have to listen to:
- Sail by Awolnation, very famous
- Home by Phillip Phillips (both from the Olympics in London)
- Psychic Chasms(Anoraak Remix) by Neon Indian
First of all I have to thank all the people who read my blog and especially those who wrote these great comments, Thank y’all ;). Last weekend I strolled through SF beginning at Powell St. going to the Piers, across ferry building market plaza, to Coit tower, where I wanted to meet Martin but it didn’t work out so I went on through Haight-Ashbury to GG Park to have a look at the Conservatory of Flowers which is really worth to have a look at from the outside but the inside isn’t very impressive. I don’t recommend you to go to Coit tower on a weekend because of the crowd pushing into and up the tower. Although I didn’t went up the tower I could get a peek over the roofs of SF from the edge of the hill. On the next day I went to GG Park again to have a closer look at the Japanese Tea Garden which I do recommend, but it’s a pity that it isn’t so big. Afterwards me and Martin could finally manage to meet each other at the Academy of Sciences of California with a girl of his class, Leandra. The new earthquake exhibition is quiet interesting but the best was probably the Planetarium in which we could watch a short film also about the earthquakes from 1906 and 1989. The screen of the Planetarium is the biggest in the world and you can really just sit down and you won’t see the edge of the screen neither right nor left so it’s as if you were sitting in the movie! Great experience!!! After we had finished the movie we wet into the earthquake-house in which you could experience the two earthquakes on your own, also very cool! As we came out of the earthquake simulator they had already begun to close the museum. So we went on to Haight-Ashbury and took a walk down Haight St. where I bought some new pins for my bag:). I’ve planned to go to Haight-Ashbury again because I wanted to do a shopping trip through the second-hand stores. I skip Monday because then I planned my further week. On Tuesday I ate lunch with Sebastiano, Paolo and Anais in Yerba Buena Park, where I could snatch some views on the SFMOMA. Then we went to Fisherman’s Wharf where we discovered the Jungle Cafe, a cool Cafe which is decorated as if you were in the Amazon, with some electrically animated animals and sounds of thunder and pouring rain. Sure it’s a tourist trap but I think it might be a quite exciting experience. Haight-Ashbury is a neighborhood of which you can’t get enough so we went there again and into Amoeba Music Store, one of the music stores with the biggest music selection and the cheapest CDs I have ever seen. On this day I bought three CDs: Skeletons from the Closet by The Grateful Dead, ipu 96 by The Gossip(one of their earliest one’s) and At all Ends by Yellow Swans(experimental music in the clearing section why it cost only $3, but too experimental for me). Yesterday I went there again to buy even more music of Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and the Talking Heads and spent the rest of the day entering and exiting weird to commercial shops on Haight St.. Today I ate lunch with some of my class and some of Martin’s class together in Yerba Buena Park. It was beautiful because the sky was clear the sun shone and sometimes a light breeze blew through the park making it extremely comfortable to lie there in the grass listening to some bands which were playing in the Park over Lunchtime. Afterwards I went back to skype with my charming sister and planing again my weekend. This evening I wanted to go to the SFMOMA because on Thursday evenings they have 50% off after 6pm but I didn’t go because I was so tired of having school and because I’m short of sleep. So have a nice morning\afternoon\evening no matter in which time zone you are in this moment!
Last Thursday I went to Fisherman’s Wharf with Martin. Although it was a hot day for once the wind near the bay blew so strong that I closed the zipper of my sweater and put my jacket on. There are many tourist shops bordering the streets on both sides especially those which sell cheap souvenirs produced in Asia. The most beautiful buildings there are the huge brick houses which I think were earlier used to store things but today a few restaurants and bars are filling them. The most famous chocolate here in SF is the Ghiradelli chocolate which has it’s origin in the chocolate factory at the bay. We could see it already from far away because of the giant letters forming Ghiradelli are placed on the roof of the building. But the building doesn’t contain just the factory but also other stores and a plaza where we could the sunshine and good music. As I was sitting there enjoying the warmth of the sun and the beautiful voice of the singer teenager of my age began to stand up and to dance. After a while they animated also other members of their group to participate them and also me and Martin. So we had a great time this day with dancing and meeting new people. The next day I’ll skip up to the evening because of the lack of interesting events. After dinner Gordon, my host father, called Courtney, his daughter, to pick him up near the high way because his car had broken down. Courtney asked me if I could join her because she didn’t really knew where she had to drive to but neither did I. After several loop ways amongst others dark roads leading to the middle of nowhere. But finally we found him and he was freaking out because his phone had died and he thought that we wouldn’t find him anymore. With a calmed down Gordon we the n drove to the airport to pick up Sandra and Courtney’s brother Everett.
On Wednesday I didn’t do anything special after school I had spent most of the time updating my blog. So after that I went back home but I forgot at which station I would have to get out. I got out like two stations too early but this I should find out after two hours. Here’s the thing, I was standing somewhere in a neighborhood I didn’t knew and I still don’t know now and the fog was coming so it was getting darker and colder every minute. I had the idea to ask somebody if they would know where Oakridge Dr. is. Nobody knew: neither the bus driver, nor the man I asked hiding behind the curtains of his entrance door, nor did the Mexican man I asked who was washing his parking lane. But he lend me his phone to call 311 the information hotline of the BART. There a women responded at the other end of the the phone. I asked her for the next bus station to Oakridge Dr.. She just answered:”No, there is no bus station near Oakridge Dr.” Then I said:”Sure there is because that’s the one I went to, coming down the hillside this morning!”,and then”Oh, hold on a second” After this I was standing there waiting her to respond, listening to some rustling music and apologizing to the Mexican man that my call took so long. After like 10min of listening to this annoying music I hung up the phone and thanked the man for his patience. He answered that it would have been no problem for him and advised me with some words to go to the next shop so I could call a taxi. So I said goodbye, apologized and thanked him again and begun to walk down the hillside. Shuffling down the hill I met another men with grey hair and glasses who was walking his dog. I asked him if he knew where the next taxi station was and he answered me that there are no taxi stations but I could call one with his cell phone. He typed in the number and handed me the phone so I could tell them what I wanted. After I had made the call he asked me from where I am. I said from Switzerland and then he said:”Oh really? And where exactly?”, “From Bern, the capital.”, “That’s wonderful! I’ve got some friends in Bern…” and then he asked me some names but I didn’t knew them.”That’s a pity!”, “Do you know where they’re living in Bern?”, “No, I don’t know and we didn’t see each other for years.” After our talk I said to him maybe he should just walk his dog because I didn’t want to bother him anymore. He said that it’s okay and that he would come back if he found a map and if he wouldn’t back after 20min and the yellow cab’s not here I should go to the bus station. So there I was standing again alone in the fog surrounded by suspense. After 15min I went up to the bus station again and already saw the bus coming as the man came back again, waving with a piece of paper in his right hand. I ran down to him again so happy to have a map of this maze now. He said that he would come with me up to South Hill and then go back again. Finally we made it to the right street and I recognized the two palm trees at the bus station. I was so glad that he has been there for me so I hugged him, thanked him and said:”There should be more people like you on this world! Thank you and Goodbye!” He responded:”Thank you too, Auf wiedersehen!” Then I ran up the hill to the neighbor’s stairs and exhausted opended the door. Martin and the Italians were at home so I asked Martin if he wouldn’t have missed me because it was already 8.30pm. He just answered “no” because he didn’t expect me to be home at any time. Due to Sandra’s trip to Hawaii they didn’t have diner then and so they also haven’t been waiting for me.
Yesterday was my first real day in San Francisco. I got up on 7am but as I recognized that I was the only person who got up this early I went back to sleep for another 15 minutes. After I had had my daily twenty minutes in the bathroom( because I always have like 10 minutes to put my lenses in) I shuffled to the kitchen to eat some breakfast. First I searched the shelves to get a mug for some tea because Sandra already told me that there is a pot of all-the-time-hot-water. I opened like every shelf once if not twice before Martin, another student from France got up and showed me were they are. Waiting for the tea I opened the fridge and found some Philadelphia cheese(Yeah something I know!) and toasted some potato bread. Enjoying my very inexpensive breakfast;) I talked with Martin about our trip to school. At 8pm we left the house and crossed the neighboring garden to walk down a steep staircase. Martin told me that this was an exclusive shortcut offered to us by the neighbors. When we reached the bus stop the bus was just arriving at the station and we got in. For the first trip I had to pay two dollars because I didn’t have a clipper card for all the public transport. The buses are very different to Switzerland here because they shake so strongly that you really want to sit down if there’s a free place in the bus. We got out at Glen Park where we got directly on the BART. We sat next to the door and crossing the tunnel you heard very loud, squeaking noise of the wheels sliding over rails. Exiting at Powell street we came out of the underground surrounded by tall houses, less people than I had expected and just in front of our school. After we got on the fourth floor we Martin brought me to a receptionist and she let me fill in a test to rate my English skills. As I had finished the test I also had to make an interview with a women, what reminded me strongly of our interviews we have in English class at school. She rated me as an upper-intermediate student what was enough to satisfy my wishes. Afterwards she told me that I would have to go to the other building, the NOMA for my class. So i left the SOMA and crossed the street to find the school after a short search. I entered the class room and the teacher said that I could borrow a book of another student because they don’t have enough books for every student. They had read a story about a boy who wishes a robot as little brother for Christmas and then gets a futuristic toy which talks and acts like a real child. After the robot had broken the boy’s other Toys, the boy shuts down the robot and puts him away. But then the mother finds out how he treats his Christmas toy and gets really angry, lifts him up and..TURNS HIM OFF!!! So he had been a robot child too O.o Strange story! But I only really got like the ending with the angry mother and the boy who gets turned off. And then we spoke about crimes and punishment, the favorite topic of our teacher he said. After school I met Martin again and we went to McDonald’s for lunch, but this won’t happen again. They have got no meal without meat, even the salad is served with chicken. When we were finished with our “happy” meal we went to Powell station again to buy my clipper card and then to the cable cars. It’s such a cool to stand on the ledge outside the car feeling your hair blown back by the air flow. We crossed several cross-roads going up the hillside and eventually got off at the top of the hill next to Grace Cathedral. In front of it there’s a beautiful little park and the Cathedral itself looks like the Notre Dame. Entering the church and picking up a information brochure a guide came up to us and identified Martin as a french-speaking tourist. He was so glad that he could refresh his French skills. He even gave us a private tour through the Cathedral changing between French and English in nearly every sentence, but it was funny to listen to him. After our tour he even showed us the Fairmont Hotel where an important meeting of the UN had been some years ago. In the hotel you could watch at some pictures of San Francisco after the earthquake in 1906 and on the top of the building there was a garden with some palms and a fountain and a smaller one with bees and “des herbes”. Down again we had to go home because it was already half past five but I had had a really good time.
PS: Pictures follow after I’ve found a cable for my laptop =)