More Explorations!

I can’t believe how busy I’ve been with work lately!  They’ve been having me on full hours every week.  With that and my benefits, it seems that I’ve finally got an adult job.  As adult as peddling makeup can be anyways.  Weird.  It seems that this move may have been a good one careerwise. . .

Never one to settle for just one job, I may have picked up another as well.  The guys at Cinefile Video in LA, my previous workplace, got me in touch with Adam, the owner of Lost Weekend Video in the Mission.  I went over there and did some training with him last week.  He seemed to like me and needs someone on the board to be on call, which is perfect for me.  I’m  not sure how many shifts I can do right now if Sephora keeps on like this, but if they scale me back down to the 32 hours they hired me for, it’ll be nice to have something in my back pocket.  Plus, I was hurting without my free movie rentals!

I wanted to keep going about various parts of San Francisco I’ve been exploring.  Coming from LA to here, it’s hard to believe that such a small city has so much to offer!  Then again, Israel is a tiny country, and though I spent a month there I felt it had much more to offer as well.

Golden Gate Park

A week ago we spent an afternoon rambling in Golden Gate Park.  We live two blocks south of the park, so it’s literally in our back yard.  We crossed the street and scrambled through the brush and we were in!  For those that don’t know, Golden Gate Park is to San Francisco what Central Park is to New York City.  GGP is a man-made park built in the late 1800s and is over 1,000 acres of public grounds.  We certainly came upon many interesting things in our wanderings.  First we saw not one, but two windmills that reside in the park.  Windmills, you may ask?  Originally the windmills pumped water throughout the park, now they are just odd landmarks.  One has a tulip garden that was a gift from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

The first windmill with a cypress tree, the most beautiful tree in existence
The flower garden from Queen Wilhelmina
The mysterious hole in the side of the windmill

My favorite curiosity that we saw in the park was the bison paddock.  Even stranger than the windmills, a herd of bison live in the park!  Apparently the bison were brought to the park in 1891 when they were almost extinct, and the park along with the zoo started a successful breeding program.  For those of you that don’t know, I’m a huge animal lover, so I had a great time just hanging out and watching the buffalo do buffalo things.  The little ones kept chasing each other, being all cute and shaggy.  Other highlights of our afternoon in the park included the horse stables, archery range, and several lakes and ponds.  We walked around Stow Lake, which encircles Strawberry Hill, an island with an electrically pumped waterfall.  Golden Gate Park has everything, even an island!  By this point, dusk was starting to fall, so we didn’t explore the island, but plan to go back soon.  In warmer weather you can rent paddle boats and row boats too.

A sepia shot of Stow Lake at dusk

Irving Street

I have to say, Irving Street is one of my favorite places in the city.  No, you won’t find it gushed over in any travel books, and it lacks fine dining and attractions, but it is a great locals place to go.  In the Sunset, it feels like it is at least 50% Chinese, if not more.  Sunset is not that close to Chinatown though, so Irving Street between 26th and 19th feels like its own little Chinatown.  There are blocks upon blocks of housewares shops, markets, restaurants, and even a bar or two.  Win Long Hardware and Irving Housewares and Gifts are the best places to get random stuff for the apartment.  Once you move, you always find various things that you need (we needed a towel rod for the bathroom, a cutting board, etc), and we’ve definitely given those two establishments good business since moving into the neighborhood.  There’s a varied restaurant scene on Irving as well.  We’ve already visited Shangri La (vegetarian Chinese food) and Noori (Indian and Pakistani food) and both had good food at good prices.  The bar that our friends whiled away a rainy afternoon in, Underdogs, is also on Irving.  But one of my favorite places in this beloved street is Quickly.  According to their website, Quickly is a “New Generation Asian Fusion Cafe”, also known as bubble milk tea heaven.  Back in high school, I remember boba drinks being a fad with the Korean kids, and in my neighborhood, they are back in full swing!  Boba is the large tapioca balls floating at the bottom of a plastic cup filled with a milky tea drink.  It is drunk with an extra large straw so one can consume the tapioca balls while swilling tea.  When I was younger, I thought they looked and felt like eyeballs, but I’ve come around.

Portrait of a Quickly bubble milk tea

The best part about Quickly bubble milk tea drinks, besides the fact that they are way cheaper than Starbucks and have the most extensive menu I’ve ever seen, is they are completely dairy-free, made with almond milk instead.  Such a score for Zac and I, with our various nondairy diets.  The other thing I love about Quickly is how being inside makes you feel like you’ve stepped into Tokyo or Seoul, with Asian graphics, advertising, and Korean pop music videos playing.  I’m a big fan of K-pop and love sipping a boba tea while catching up on new videos from my favorite bands!

Downtown

Last week we took the light rail downtown.  I still can’t get over how easy public transportation is!  We walk a block from our apartment, hop on the N line, and in half an hour are in the middle of downtown.  I’m a city person, and I always enjoy walking the streets, feeling the pulse of the city and energy about me while surrounded by tall, majestic buildings.  We made a quick detour from the sights to Rasputin on Powell Street, one of the best stores for records, dvds, and cds.  I’d been to the one in Haight Ashbury a long time ago, but I almost like this one better as it has so much personality.  It spans a total of 5 tiny floors, and once on the second floor the only way up is in a rickety elevator.  The elevator even has its own operator, to make sure you don’t get stuck, although the surly middle-aged punker on this day was cranky that this was her occupation.

In Rasputin

We walked around Union Square Park, and I got my fashion fix from peeking at the window displays in Tiffany’s and Saks.  The streets in that part of town are interesting.  Big, name brand stores are everywhere but dotted among them are random dive bars and beautiful old hotels.  My favorite of the dive bars has to be the Gold Dust Lounge, an old West themed bar complete with plush red lounges and a sweeping mahogany bar.  I saw some drink specials advertised outside, I must remember to go back!

Union Square Park
Buildings and Saks
Clock on Facade of Tiffany's

I was originally planning on writing about Japantown as well, but this post is already quite long.  Knowing me and my love for anything Asian, I am sure to go back many times, and will write about Japantown at a later date.  Thanks for keeping with me in my ramblings!

Good Luck and Happy Travels,

Mo

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3 thoughts on “More Explorations!

  1. Oh my. I just love San Francisco! I have only been once, but I fell completely in love! I am so jealous of people who get to live there! The weather looks really nice (another reason for me to be jealous). Can’t wait to keep up with the rest of your adventures. Oh, and seeing as you love K-pop, have you heard of Simon and Martina on YouTube? You probably have, they are massively popular (and awesome), but if not, check out their videos. They do some every week on different K-pop bands and stuff (I am not into those but I love their other videos about their life living in South Korea).

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