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Archive for May, 2015

San Francisco Offers Lots of Attractions For All Tastes –From Cable Cars To Historic Areas Like Haight -Ashbury And City Lights Books
by Staff Writer

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Special Report

It’s been a while since I last visited San Francisco, but I must say that this visit was much more satisfying because I got a better feel for this wonderful city, San Francisco.

After a long time on the Amtrak from Vancouver, BC, we took the coach bus and headed off to the city. Finding a hotel without booking online was going to be a formidable task, but luckily the special Amtrak bus driver offered his services. When we told him we needed a budget hotel, he dropped us off near the Union street shopping area. He told us to walk up a few blocks and we would find ourselves in budget heaven. We walked a bit and thanks to another hotel housekeeper, she pointed us on our way and we landed on the door step of a budget motel. Nearby we could see a lot of panhandlers but the room was cheap and it was clean. I was surprised by the candour of the driver who happily showed us pictures of his wife and explained how it was at least several years since the city received rain.

Luckily the hotel was close by lots of attractions, like the famous Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown. Since we were only in the city for a few days before we headed to Yosemite, we took in some fabulous seafood at the Wharf and walked around the very busy Chinatown.  Hopping on the bus, we found our way to the now trendy Haight- Ashbury. It’s a place famous for his Hippy social conscious movement, and nowadays, tourists can buy some expensive souvenirs, visit record stores where you can buy T-shirts depicting famous rock bands and stars, or shop for vintage.  If you go: be on the lookout for petty thieves since the area seemed to be a popular place for that. We watched in shock as one young man boldly carted off two bikes –still attached to the bike rack and with no policemen in sight.

In the evening, we made our way around town and the city sparkled beautifully. On our way to City Lights Books, we were in an area that seemed like Paris at night.  Many restaurants offered patios and some tables were lighted artistically. Everywhere it seemed, the whole city glowed, thanks  to some historic cabarets that lit the night with glaring and bright Neon Lights. It seemed like were back in the  heydey of the sixties.

We were pleasantly surprised that City Lights Books opened late. I happily browsed through a few hard-to-find books and in a few minutes I was in my own world.  This famous independent bookstore houses a great selection of the Beat writers and poets, as well as other literature. Although a bit small, I found the bookstore quite charming and has lots of chairs for people interested in browsing or reading a book or two.

Enroute to Yosemite National Park, we made a quick stop at Cliff House, which offered a fabulous view of the raging sea, as well as being the permanent location of the Sutra Baths –once the world’s largest swimming pool for rich people. But now it is a shell of its former self –just a few cement blocks outline what was once a big dream for a businessman. Still the sight of the Sutra Bath ruins are still hauntingly beautiful, yet sad.

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Left: vintage clothing can be found at Haight-Ashbury

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May 29th

11:53
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