Monday, August 4, 2008

Ocean's calling, I need salty air !

SF downtown panaroma from Pier 39
The first time I saw the number one tourist spot of San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf was on a blind date. Of Cos, my attention was very much divided between the date, the beauty of the place and the dull feeling of homesickness. . The market place reminded me of Delhi's Jan path, the sun till 8pm reminded me of Bombay, the Gaylord's restaurant at Ghirardelli Square, reminded me of everything wonderful there is to be born an Indian. Since then I have been back to Fisherman's Wharf countless times now. These trips are made, at the spur of the moment and without a camera in hand. So, although I have infinite beautiful memories of this much loved and appreciated tourist place, there are not many pictures. Quite a few times we have escorted friends and relatives to these places and pictures are taken by them on their cameras, with a promise and sincere intension to share the pictures as soon as they upload them on their computers but those times are blue moon.

The Ghirardelli Square from the back, on the way to Fisherman's Wharf. This was the old chocolate factory now an elegant shopping center. The Gaylord's Indian Resturant is here (note the red light).
One of the reasons San Francisco is called a romantic metropolitan and much loved by each and all is because of its floral decorated streets. Actually all the Bay Area city downtowns have beautiful, clean and proudly decorated streets.
The very steep Lombard street. Note the cue of the cars waiting to zig zag on the road with the most curves; Lombard Street. I took it from the moving car (will share the curveous street pic soon).
So I took this very seriously fun job in my hands. The mammoth task of buying “imported” gifts for all the relatives and treasured friends is happening with vigor. I have been buying gifts for a long time and storing them in one of my suitcases. But, can shopping for just anything ever be done with till we decide it is? SH was happy when I told him that I would like to buy some specific SF souvenirs from Fisherman’s Wharf. SH jumped at the chance, proposed a lunch date of crab sandwich and clam chowder. I love the popular, crab sandwiches that SH was introduced to by me and counts in his favorite food list and clam chowder that I had for the first time on my Monterey trip with SH. I remembered to take my camera and captured every stop, almost every curve and a “world famous” San Francisco steep. We reached around lunch time and went straight for the restaurant. We decided to go to a different restaurant instead of my favorite joint. The d├ęcor was beautiful but the food was a disappointment. Not like my favorite place, hear you. Unlike the lunch the day was super fun and an absolute smash. The temperature predicted was 55F. It’s almost the end of the summer and beginning of fall, which means end of the fog, in true Bay Area language. But, that was not what the weather man forecast read for today. Anyways, I prayed and hoped the best. When we reached downtown it looked fog filled. But by the time we parked, the sky was blue, the sun shined bright and while it was breezy enough to blow us off shore, it was not very cold. Or maybe we did not feel the coolness in the breeze coz we were sprinting from one shop to another only stopping momentarily to exclaim at the street performers, musicians, the wax museum displays, and the funny Ripley's museum where they have more crowds of people standing outside the building than inside. We jogged and shopped, ate and shopped, took in all the beauty and shopped; Pier 39 was robust and bustling with eager tourists. I sure looked like a tourist myself with the camera in hand and going in and out of every souvenir shop in sight going and adding one more shopping bag with a San Francisco Logo on it.

A prisoner escaping from Alcatraz is depicted here. It is automated.

Wax and Brangelina

The wild seals who have adopted Pier 39 as home.

The Golden Gate Bridge through the haze and the ferry.

The Pelicans against Alcatraz Prison. Each time I look at it, it reminds me of "The Great Escape" and school days.
In the end we stood and gazed at the hazy Alcatraz, the Golden Gate at the distance and the hilltop downtown against the setting sun. It was a beautiful sight to take in. We asked a tourist to click "A couple" picture for us, spent some cozy minutes gazing at the beautiful bay, watching the hazy gold sunset, the lazy seals and the busy pelicans- delightfully content we trotted back home.
This is Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the beautiful reasons that made Tony Bennett croon “I left my heart in San Francisco” and for which he won two Grammy Awards.
NOTES: Title: Taken by a song written and sung by Peggy Lee (1962).. All the photos have been shot by the author.


Goofy Mumma said...

What amazing photos and a beautiful description. Reading this post, I feel like sprouting wings and flying off to see the fisherman's wharf with my own eyes!

Anonymous said...

I too am a resident of SF bay area. I have been to these places many times before. But now I am looking at these familiar places with completely different eyes. The pictures are amazing.

Spontaneous Mini said...

@ Goofy Mumma,

FW is a much loved place. Come over I will be your Guide ;-))

@ anon,

Thanx for the appreciation.

Goofy Mumma said...

Thanks a lot for the amazing offer, will definitely tell when I plan a trip!

Manidipa said...

wow...u saved me money! your story definitely "took" me there and i feel I was the one with you :) good pics too...I loved the one of golden gate and pelicans...good work!

divyesh said...

It is very informative blog. I love to read such blogs in my holiday time.