The day started in Sunnyvale where I was staying at my Aunt’s place. I woke up probably at 5:30 A.M and quickly got ready to go to San Francisco to take my test. Around 5:40 A.M I noticed my aunt actually made breakfast. It consisted of coffee, scrambled eggs and vienna sausage. I think I ended up eating about half the eggs and sausages lol I then got my things ready and by 6:00 A.M my brother let me know that he was there. When I got ready to head out I bid farewell to my grandparents and then left. My aunt help escort me out to the front where my brother and ate Erna was. It must have been a reunion of sorts with my brother also since he did not meet Auntie Maliz for a very long time. It was also the first time ate Erna meet my aunt as well. We all promptly said our goodbyes. When we left we headed first to a gas station. I remember there was Hawaiian music playing in my brothers car. Specifically I remember hearing Drop Baby Drop by the Manoa Company lol Around this time at the gas station it was around 6:15 A.M. We then got on our way to San Francisco. Thankfully there wasn’t too much traffic on the way to Frisco and got there within an hour. Traffic really did not start until we got inside San Francisco and traffic moved fairly quickly. It must have been about 7:15-7:30 A.M when we got there. Our first destination was to try to find the testing center I was to take my job competency exam with the city of San Francisco. I actually was the one who put the address into my brother’s GPS which is interesting since I swear I put in the right address. Instead the GPS led us to the middle of the suburbs lol It was interesting in any case of the drive to this area. The exit we took going here was a bit confusing since it led to a busy intersection and instead of having to turn left or right you have to proceed straight away and through a small curve to get to where you needed. Also on the way to this residential suburb I noticed an abandoned looking bus station area with lots of graffiti. I think it was to be used as a flea market on certain days. Also, in this area I noticed that the roads are narrow and where on these hills that had very aggressive inclines (near 90 lol). You need to make sure that you have good breaks if you want to drive around here. Little did I know but these high incline hills are a characteristic to the most of San Francisco. When we got to the place that was suggested on the GPS we noticed that it does not look like where the testing place should be. So we double checked the address and noticed that the GPS had the wrong address. I swear I put it in correctly but oh well. We quickly put in the correct address and thankfully we were not too far from the testing center. I think we were around five or so miles away. It did not take too long to get to the testing area. When we got there it was about 7:40 A.M. We noticed that there wasn’t any actual parking besides this area on the side where you could park toward the wall for an hour. The registration did not start until 8:30 A.M so I did not bother to go in line since it would not be open anyways. When we parked my brother and I went to the little stores right next to the testing area and keep in mind they were all a part of this bigger building. While walking around this area we talked to a custodian to ask for a public bathroom. This is because we noticed some of the stores having “no public restroom” signs out front. The custodian pointed out this deli/cafe/diner hybrid place. To be honest it look real interesting and felt like a kind of place I would find on Fort St. Mall back in Hawaii. The owners of this place were nice and let us use the bathroom out back. They even let us walk behind their kitchen area to get to the bathroom. Before we saw the bathroom, we went out back up the stairs since we didn’t know exactly where it was. We quickly realized it was not up the stairs but just out back from the kitchen area. We used the bathroom before we headed out. I actually wanted to buy something since the people were so nice but we had to get going. Afterwards, we headed back to the car and then I got ready to subsequently go in line. When I went to the line I think my brother and ate Erna went to another store nearby, I think Walgreens. When I got to the line I was actually surprised on how much people there was. It was about 8:15 A.M at this moment but the line stretched for quite a bit. At this point there must have been fifty or so people already. When I got to the back of the line at the time I stood behind some interesting people. Kind of easy to talk to, specifically this one guy in a blue hoodie and sandals. I never did get his name but he was cool. More people quickly started to arrive and thankfully more talkative people stood behind me. One was David who I would get his name later on. He had a 49’ers beanie and a black track jacket. Another was this asian girl who was pretty as well. I never got her name but she had a pink jacket and white t-shirt I believe. I think David did well on the test and at that moment I was sure he would. David used to work as a librarian for one of the public schools so i’m sure he did well. Sure enough the exam results came out recently (05/07/2015) and he was near the top! The asian girl looked younger than she probably was. I asked her if she was going to school or anything but she says that she was just working at the time. She was very nice and she seemed well prepared in terms of what she was able to study. I’m sure she did great as well! Interestingly she told me that she took a similar test before for another job with the city. She said she didn’t do that well on the test so I hope this time she gets through. When registration started around 8:35 A.M we saw this asian girl up front giving instructions. David and myself made fun of it since we could not hear it and most likely only the first twenty people probably heard her instructions. We also figured that it was the HR director Stefanie Lim. She was actually real pretty and different from the stereotyped image of an elder HR lady with a cane and thick glasses lol Afterwards, the line started moving and it moved quick. When we got to the door is when I learned of David’s name. We then had to put our cell phones and things inside the lockers provided. Mine did not fit and thankfully they had boxes where we could store our bigger stuff. Eventually David, blue hoodie guy, the asian girl in the pink sweater, and I had to go on our own way as we got registered and went to our respective places. When inside we were all given assigned seats. It’s funny because at this point it was about 9:20 A.M when our test started. It shows that from registration to the actual test, it takes about an hour lol They gave us an hour and a half to complete the test. The actual test itself is interesting and we had to sign a form stating that we could not discuss any of the test questions…or else. So that I will not discuss. I finished the test at about 10:40 A.M so I used most of the time. As I was leaving I got to speak to Stefanie Lim and she was pleasant to talk to. I told her that I was the Colorado guy and she thanked me for flying out there to take the test. Afterwards, I subsequently left and let my brother know that I was done. When he picked me up, is when all the sightseeing of San Francisco began.
When we left the testing center our first stop was Lombard St. Also known as the world’s crookedest street due to how much switchbacks at uneven lengths the street is consisted of. On the way to Lombard we got to see a lot of the inner suburbs of the city. Its incredibly colorful in terms of how much character is in the city. It’s also so full of life since its so crowded and because of how much houses, buildings, and stores are close together. When we got to Lombard St. there was already a lot of people taking pictures of the street. We luckily got convenient parking up at the bottom of the street. We got to take some pictures from the bottom before we proceeded up the stairs. Its interesting because the stairs are very short in height so climbing up the stairs was not too difficult. It must be interesting for people living in the area with all the tourists always walking by taking pictures all the time. The climb up the stairs was not too difficult and it was interesting looking at the street from the view of the staircase. At the top was a lot more people taking pictures of the scenery and such. At one particular instance I remember I was standing near a post with a lady on it. When she got off the post she accidently knocked me on the side. It was fine with me but it evidently shook up the lady. It was cool and we went on our way. At some point also a trolley came in and it was interesting. I wasn’t too sure how it worked since it looked like people would just jump on and jump off. I couldn’t see a conductor on the trolley but according to my brother you still have to pay to use it. It was cool seeing the trolley in action, it was probably around for about five or so minutes before it went on its way. Some time after we headed down the stairs. On the down side from the right facing outwards there exists a sign that has information about the street. From what I get out of it, it was built before the early 1900s earthquake and went through renovations since. I guess that’s what accounts for the crookedness. The sign says that there are signs of animals around the buildings and it shows the favorite animals of the house owners. When we got down we subsequently left.
Our next stop was to the San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf. We got parking in a parking garage near an In-N-Out. The garage itself seemed pretty nice but I was surprised that you pay about $3 per fifteen minutes! At least according to the sign, it probably had some other stipulations involved. I think at this moment it was probably 11:40 A.M-12:00 P.M. When we used the elevator of the parking garage it was noisy in terms of odd scratching sounds from the top of the elevator. I remember saying “that doesn’t sound good” and the other guy on the elevator said it was due to construction. Afterwards, we got to use the bathroom of the plaza. The bathrooms needed codes typed into the door knob to enter. Luckily people nearby knew the code. I didn’t really need to use it so I waited outside for my brother and Ate Erna. I also remember next to the bathroom was this rent-a-bike place. In the rent-a-bike place they were training a new worker. The bikes themselves had this pouch in front of them that look like little fanny packs. I’m guessing there’s a timer or pedometer in them which is used to charge renters. Afterwards, we headed down the mainstreet. The fisherman’s wharf area here in San Francisco actually really reminded me of Myrtle Beach, SC! The look and feel of the beach house style stores and the smell in the air all reminded me of Myrtle Beach. The main difference is that it was freezing cold here while it was warm in Myrtle Beach. The first place we stopped by was this California memorabilia store, in other words a tourist trap, but a good one at that. What caught my eye was their on sale sign that advertised three shirts for $12! Crazy huh? Thankfully they had those iconic “I Love SF” shirts! I also got some other souvenirs like those cheap key chains. Overall, this store was pretty cool with its oddball awesome deals. Afterwards we then went on our way to the wharf area. I remember being able to get a picture with my brother and ate near the wharf. We then headed over to this area with a bunch of food carts selling fried calamari and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls. My brother got three of the bread bowls, two waters, and two fried calamari bowls. The calamari bowl things were loaded with fried calamari. In the end I couldn’t eat all of the calamari but I did eat the bread bowl! I’m getting a head of myself lol After we got our food we looked for a place to eat and thankfully Musee Mecanique was right there and there were benches out front. We ate on one of these benches. While we were eating I noticed a bunch of those seagulls in the area and they were quite aggressive in flying close to people and looking for scattered food. At one point these two Asian girls walked on by looking for a place to eat. They had the same things as we did, fried calamari and bread bowls. It was sad because when a seagull flew close to the girl holding the calamari she got scared and threw her bowl of calamari in the air. In a split second a whole flock of the seagulls came by to clean up the thrown calamari. Some of the seagulls were so fast that while they were swooping in they ate some of the calamari in the air! All of the calamari was gone in less than five seconds I swear lol Afterwards, I got to finish up my food and it was awesome. The place we got food from was this food cart owned by Asian people and the menu was also written in Chinese. Since I still had a bit of calamari left I threw some of it at the seagulls. I’m pretty sure the seagulls in the area are the unhealthiest seagulls in the world with high cholesterol lol!
Afterwards we went inside the Musee Mecanique and it was real interesting inside. Before I got to play anything I first looked for someone to get change from. Thankfully, there’s a door with a ringer where you can get change from a worker inside. When I got some change I looked around. The main thing I was looking for was the arm wrestling machine. I remember that about ten years ago I tried it and could not even beat it at the lowest setting. This time I could beat it at the first two levels! The third level was just a bit too difficult for me. My brother also tried it and he could beat the third level. Afterwards, we tried this other strength machine that consisted of two pulleys where you push them close together and then pull them apart. It sounds simple but in actuality it was real difficult. At most I think me and my brother did two sets of pushing and pulling them together before it became near impossible to do more sets. When you’re done doing these sets you push a button to drop a hammer. My brother and I barely moved the thing that shows how much points you scored relative to the sets you make with the machine. After this we went out back of the Musee. In the back area is a small alley and there are two World War II boats on the wharf. The first was a submarine and the second was a merchant marine boat. If you think about it, it must have been horrid to be on the merchant marine boat during World War II. You’d be defenseless and be prey to the enemy submarines. Once a torpedo struck you would be out of luck! Anyways, the interesting thing about the merchant marine boat was that the interior boiler room was the room used in the movie Titanic for the boiler room scene near the time of the Titanic hitting the glacier. When we were done looking at the boats I believe we were on our way out. When we got back to the area with shopping places we made a stop at another tourist trap. This time I was looking for postcards. Thankfully this tourist trap had a cool deal with five post cards for a buck! Sweet! I got my postcards and we were on our way. When we got back to the parking garage we looked for a bathroom since the original one from earlier was closed for cleaning. We went around the parking garage and found one on the back end of In-N-Out near the entrance near the cannery. The code for the bathroom was different so we asked around. I remember going to another rent-a-bike place and the guy gave us the code. The funny thing about this story was that when we were looking for the code we grouped up with these dudes who looked like they came from East Germany or something due to their accent and dated looking clothes. When we got the code we all subsequently used the bathroom and went on our way. When we got inside the parking garage we paid for the parking and it was about $14 for the time we stayed there. When we got in the elevator we got in with two other girls. I forgot what we all talked about but when we left the elevator one of the girls said “take care” and I almost didn’t notice it because I just wasn’t expecting it and I quickly replied as well. We then subsequently left the wharf area headed towards Japan Town!
In Japan Town we were lucky to get street side parking since I heard the garage parking was fairly expensive. It was interesting to be back in Japan Town since I have not been here for ten or so years. I remember specifically being here back during my freshmen year in High School! We used to go here for Japan Club trips back when I went to Salinas High School. For the most part it still looks exactly the same how it did from before. It felt as if I stepped back in time, seriously! The first place we went to was this interesting stationary store full of kawaii things like kawaii tote bags, stationary, etc. It was an interesting store with lots of eye candy. Afterwards, I remember checking out this big model of a castle from Japan. When we were done checking out the model castle we went into this manga store. It looked like I walked inside some Otaku’s room. If I was younger back in High School I would have freaked out seeing this store. We then headed out and went to the upstairs area. Upstairs, some of the stores were closed and one of them was a crepe store, which was unfortunate. I remembered from before that there was a crepe store that we went to back in High School. At that point I thought that was it. But I looked at a map and saw that there was one more crepe store still open. Thankfully, this crepe store was still open! I am pretty sure that this was the crepe store we went to back in High School. It was crazy to see it again after such a long time. The girls working the store were all cute and had the most kawaii beanies in the world with little cat ears on them. I remember ordering a crepe with strawberry ice cream, corn flakes, and strawberries I believe. I forgot the kind of crepe my ate and brother got. But I remember that I ordered green tea crepes for both of them. While waiting for the crepes I noticed the big ol’ Pikachu statue in the store right across the crepe store. Its funny because I remember this Pikachu statue from before. The funny part about it is that it means that no one bought the statue since then lol! It didn’t take too long before our crepes were ready. The way they presented the crepes was super kawaii, they made faces on the tops of the ice cream scoops. I remember since I had strawberry ice cream the girl made it into a pig face lol We then ate our crepes and my brother and ate really enjoyed it as well. We then headed out the building. When we got outside the building we saw the peace plaza pagoda. It looks exactly the same and I almost expected my friends to be playing with their kendo sticks out in front of the pagoda. After looking at the pagoda we headed into the next building. In the next building we checked out Daiso Japan, which is a $1.50 unless marked otherwise. Inside the store was a motley bunch of things from Japan. I wished we had one of these stores here in Colorado. I remember picking up these animal shaped erasers for my little sister. There was a lot of different stationary. I even got to pick up a real nice fountain pen with cartridge refills! In the stationary area I also remember getting calligraphy set for my sister too. Looking around the store there were a lot of Asian girls shopping for themselves. To be honest I wanted to talk to them but hey, I was only in the area at the moment and was headed back to Colorado as well. I then looked around the candy and snack section. I really wanted to get more candy and snacks than I did but I had to keep in mind my luggage size so I had to limit the things I got to a degree. I did end up getting a few bags of candy. One was cola flavored, another was strawberry flavored, and another was this “traditional” cone shaped candy made of pure sugar. I think that wraps up almost all the things I got. When I was at the front of the counter they also had multi-knives. You know those things that are like Swiss Army knives but aren’t Swiss Army knives? I ended up getting one since it looked like it could be useful, plus at a $1.50 I couldn’t pass it up. Afterwards, we headed out and I remember my brother saying that he needed to use the bathroom and check on the car. I then headed out across the street and checked out Soko Hardware. The funny thing about this store is that back in the past, this was the store where my friends got their kendo sticks. I asked one of the girls downstairs if they still sold those kendo sticks. She showed me and we got to talk a little bit about the kendo sticks. After looking at them I took a look around the store and it had a lot of random household goods. From disinfectant, to roach kill, to light bulbs, etc. Soko has it all. I said thanks to the girl who helped me earlier and I was on my way out. Outside, I headed towards the back of this particular plaza area and noticed a bookstore and a stationary store. I then headed out back and I saw a Japanese cultural center. After this I went to look for my brother and ate. I found them at front of this area and they let me know there was about thirty minutes left on the timer. We walked around a bit and I remember we got to see the Chinese (PRC) embassy. It was ridiculous since it was just a block outside of Japan Town. It was also interesting since the embassy had barbed wire on the top. What are they afraid of or getting ready for lol? Afterwards we circled the block before we headed out. After leaving Japan Town we headed towards the Golden Gate bridge. During this particular drive we got to see a lot of San Francisco. I swear San Francisco is just full of things to look at and do.
From the lower area
From the higher area
We saw the Golden Gate bridge from two areas. The first area was on this lower area where a lot of people were taking pictures. We got to take some pictures and I helped a couple take pictures as well. In this area it was freezing cold and I swear it was just as cold there as it was in Colorado lol! It was super windy too. The view from the bridge over here was nice and even though it was foggy we could still see the bridge very well. We then left this lower area and checked out the second area on higher ground. This area was fairly far from the bridge, but the drive was amazing and it reminded me of the drive through the Rocky Mountain Park back near Estes Park, CO. When we got to the top it was super foggy and believe it or not, it was not as cold as the lower area. The view from here to the bridge was a bit covered due to the fog. But the pictures we got still ended up being really nice. After taking some initial pictures we walked around the area. It was really interesting, I felt like I was in a mini hike. The area looks like it used to be a part of a military radar installation. There were bunkers built into the mountain and it was just full of graffiti amongst other things. Out back of one of the tunnel is a nice view of the ocean. We took some pictures of the area and we walked around. I then remember seeing a small sign on the ground that said this area was a Nike Radar Site. The mini-hike we made in this area was real close to any hike found in Colorado. When we got around to the next tunnel I noticed that there was a man-made crater like place. Kind of looks like a missile site. I’m not too sure what it is, perhaps this is where the Nike Radar was placed before. We then went into the tunnel and out back to the car. When we got back to the car the fog cleared up a bit and I was able to take better pictures of the bridge. We then left the Golden Gate bridge and drove down a one way through the back side of the mountain. This area also looked like a drive through the Rocky Mountain Park. I remember at one part there were these abandoned looking 1950s style hospital buildings. They really added character to the surrounding. Down this path we also made a stop near the lighthouse. Over here we took a bathroom break and I also got to explore the area a bit. Unfortunately the trail to the lighthouse was closed due to construction and the subsequent closing of the tunnel leading to the lighthouse. I then got to use the bathroom and it looked just like the bathrooms at the Rocky Mountain Park and also the bathrooms in Lake George near Woodland Park, CO. After using the bathroom we headed out. On the way out I also noticed a bunch of those 1950s style buildings on the far side of the mountain. Did people really live there? It seemed a bit isolated but kind of cool due to the atmosphere. Kind of reminded me of a mix between Silent Hill and the Twilight Zone. Also, while driving out we saw some old military housing and it looks like people actually still live in them too. We eventually got to the highway and headed back to the inner suburbs of Frisco.
Our next stop was the “Full House” house! On the way there we got to see more of the suburbs and had to go through a lot of those sharp inclines that are all over San Francisco. Apparently, the Full House house was near a park called Alamo Square. We had to circle the square twice before we found parking. I was also surprised on how packed this particular area of San Francisco was. It must be a nightmare for local residents due to all the tourists coming by making traffic to see the Full House house lol When we first got to Alamo Square I remember asking these two girls where the Full House house could have been and they told me that they were looking for it too. We speculated on where it was before we went on our way. Afterwards, my brother, ate, and I went up a hill in the park to look for the Full House house. Eventually, we saw the Full House house and it looks pretty much just like it did in the opening of Full House. I could almost hear the opening theme lol Actually, my brother played the opening while we were there and it blew my mind on several levels. I also noticed a lot of people just chilling in the area facing the Full House house. It was really a nice place and we got to chill there as well for a bit. We then got to use the bathrooms there. It was a bit dirty looking but hey, all public bathrooms in the park usually are. We then took a final look around before heading out.
The next stop we made was to the Church of Christ chapel in San Francisco. It was in a more ethnic and blue collar looking area as opposed to the rest we saw. It was still crowded and the streets narrow too. When we got to the chapel I got to take a few pictures of the area before we headed out. At this point we were really tired. We then headed out to China Town. China Town itself was super huge and actually more crowded and lively than the rest of Frisco, believe it or not. There were people crowding the different market places and I think at this point it must have been around 5:30 P.M. I also remember seeing a girl singing karaoke in front of one of the stores by herself lol! It was kind of dirty though. I remember seeing trash just about everywhere. I thought to myself “if I’m going to see a cockroach, its going to be here.” Besides from that, China Town was just full of character and life. I even remember seeing an event going on in the local park with people filming it. Also in China Town I was surprised to see the Taiwanese embassy there. I would have thought that the PRC embassy would kick them out of there lol Afterwards, it was interesting when we left China Town because right next to China Town was the downtown area of San Francisco and it was incredibly modern and metropolitan as compared to the rest of Frisco. It was also night and day since China Town and the downtown area is just a block apart and the difference is near astronomical. While we were going through the downtown area, the traffic was the worst I have ever seen since Hawaii. It was bumper to bumper and went at a snails pace. It took almost fifteen to thirty minutes just to get a mile or two across the downtown area. It was kind of nice too since I got to look at all the stores in the area and I swear I felt like it could have been in New York lol! I also remember seeing a Ghirardelli store but I don’t think it was the original store at Ghirardelli square. Just outside the downtown area were the suburbs again. I remember seeing a huge convention center and it looked like there was an event inside. There were a lot of business people around the convention area. Afterwards, I also remember seeing the biggest and nicest looking Target ever at the Metreon. After this we eventually got on our way out of San Francisco back towards San Jose.
Greatest bubble tea names ever
Greatest Spanish bread ever!
When we got out of San Francisco the traffic was not bad at all. We actually got to Daly City fairly quick. At Daly City we got to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant. It was nice and clean inside. The weird thing about it is that our waiter always tried to make us buy more than we wanted. Such as when we ordered water he seemed disappointed and asked if we wanted tea or soda instead. In another moment when we ordered our food he asked if we wanted appetizers and he was disappointed when we didn’t. I remember my brother and ate got rice plates while I got the pho special. The pho itself was pretty good but they didn’t give a lot and I swear I asked for a large too. Overall, I don’t know if I could recommend this place since its just alright. After eating we went to the Walgreens just across the Pho place. It amazed me on how modern and different from the regular Walgreens back in Colorado. It just looked modern as compared to the Walgreens back in Colorado. After this we headed to a local Asian bakery/café called Ling Nam. Inside I see that their specialty was Spanish bread. I also noticed that their bubble teas had interesting names. I remember one specifically called “Hella Tea” which was the funniest thing I ever heard. I think they had the greatest names for their tea ever lol! I think my brother got a pack of 20-30 of those Spanish breads. The Spanish breads were incredibly good. They were soft on the outside and had a sugary sweet caramelized inside. The contrast between the soft outside and hardened inside was amazing and added to the flavor/enjoyment. I wished I could get some of those over here in Colorado lol! After this stop it was the long drive back to San Jose. We took a different highway as opposed to the highway we took in the morning. On this highway it was much more scenic with more nature like views. I also remember passing by Half Moon Bay on our way back. We got back it was pretty late and were all dead tired. I just got ready to sleep since I had to get up early to catch the Red Eye out.