My Life as a Dog

Thursday, July 10, 2008

San Francisco - Day 3: July 4, 2008

This day was the first day where we didn't have some kind of tour or specific activity scheduled. And it was the day where we got to do something that was high on Ben's wish list. He's a fan of the ethnic food and wanted to check out Chinatown. Since we were without a car we decided to take one of the historic cable cars to Chinatown. Conveniently located next to our hotel is the first stop on the San Francisco Cable Car Powell-Hyde route. The trolley was an experience all by itself. They fill them up as tight as they can. We slid over so that a Dutch father and sons could squeeze on the same car. As we went up and down the hills I tried hard not to squish the little guys.

Chinatown was filled with shops largely selling the same stuff and I do mean stuff. People on the street would try and get us to come into their restaurant by repeating "dim sum" over and over. I assumed that dim sum was a specific dish but now that I Google it, I find out otherwise. Apparently it's like saying brunch. I guess it makes more sense now. Ben & My Sister Who Shall Not Be Named did buy some kind of bun with a meat mixture in it. I had some. It wasn't too bad but nothing to get excited about.

We were also approached by guys going up and down the streets saying "Fireworks?" I don't know but it felt like maybe they were trying to sell some illegal fireworks or something. Otherwise why not just have a store or a stand or something?

As we were walking down the main street it was interesting to observe a wedding party down the street that was having their wedding photos taken on the main street in Chinatown. Not my idea of a great setting for wedding photos but then again, I'm not Chinese. (Surprise!)
ChinatownOur Own China Man, NickBride & Groom Having Wedding Photos Taken in Chinatown
After checking out Chinatown, we decided to start heading in the direction of Union Street because we had lunch reservations at a place called Betelnut. We thought it was a great idea because we were in Chinatown in Grant Street and Betelnut was on Union Street. So we just started walking north. Then we realized that the restaurant was also a lot further to the west. And then we realized that we were going to have a steep climb and then another drop. Just a few blocks from the top of the hill half of the group hailed a taxi. The rest of us made it to the top of the hill and were very ready when the first taxi returned to take us several more blocks. Apparently things are further apart than they look on a map!
The Long Walk Uphill (and Then Downhill) to Betelnut
Betelnut is an Asian restaurant that was recommended to us by my sister's friend who lives in the Bay Area. We ordered a variety of dishes and shared them family style. My favorites were the szechchuan green beans, Indonesian Mee goreng noodles, and the shui jiao pork dumplings.
Betelnut RestaurantBrian on Pier 39
After working our way back to the hotel some of us wandered down to Pier 39 for some more shopping/walking. On the way back we stopped at Boudins for some of their famous sourdough bread. The previous day some of us got their clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl. Yum!
Buying Sourdough Bread at Boudins
That evening we just had to step outside our hotel to celebrate Independence Day. They had live music in the park just to the west of the hotel and just north of Ghirardelli Square. It was also there that they lit off fireworks in the bay. Since it was a foggy, the tall fireworks would just make the sky glow in the various colors.
Brooke and Ben in Front of Ghirardelli'sFoggy FireworksBrooke & Nick with Fireworks