Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Regina the Tourist

I'm spending this week being a tourist in the area where I grew up. Two of my aunts and I are spending a few days visiting my dad who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area (California, USA). We're staying with him in Walnut Creek, but have spent a whirlwind two days sightseeing in SFO (not "Frisco" and not "San Fran"). We covered Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, the Mission District and Coit Tower. And we rode BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit train), a San Francisco streetcar and a cable car.

I grew up in the Bay Area and had done most of this before, but it was at least 35 years ago. I really enjoyed rediscovering the nearest tourist attractions to my hometown. I was struck this time by how cramped and claustrophobic the City is. It's hemmed in on three sides by water, so they had to build upwards. This makes for some very tall buildings in earthquake country, which looks crazier to me than it ever did before. And all those streets to walk/drive up and down! In 1988 I was happy to leave this hilly state, so today I stared at women and men in business clothes in bewilderment. Why would you want to hike and descend these sharply angled sidewalks every day -- in heels??

It's a city of sky scrapers on steep inclines, where housing costs are so high that soon only rich people will live there, in an area that regularly suffers droughts, on a major earthquake fault line. It's so traffic-choked that during rush hour the entire city feels like Manhattan or downtown Chicago. What the @#$% people? Whose idea was this?

But it's fun and beautiful and I've had a great time here with my family. And you cannot beat the soughdough bread or the seafood. You just can't. I look forward to returning, especially for some fresh crab and fried prawns!


Mick said...

Love the photo Reg, you look like a real tourist.
Brings back memories remember hiring a bike and cycling over the bridge and to Sausalito for lunch before getting a ferry back to Fishermans wharf.

When are you visiting England ? lol.

Regina Rodríguez-Martin said...

Yes, I totally did the tourist act. It was fun.

Mick said...

You may get the travel bug and become a regular tourist.