Another look at China Town, i.e. continuation of the SF relation

Today I’m going to write a lot, but I’m sharing with you a lot of photos :)
There has been 2 weeks (exactly 13 days here because of changing time zone) since our departure from Warsaw. We were able to see most of the city - but I’m talking about these more interesting and nice districts. These which aren’t recommended I’m not taking into account.
I think I started in wrong way in China Town. I realized, that there are not only dirty streets with a lot of stench. There are also neat streets with chinese lampions, typical chinese buildings and with a lot of small nice stores. We could also meet here nice people and eat really delicious traditional chinese food. Such a small China among the big city.

On the subject of asian district - in San Francisco (due to multiculturalism) there is also Japan district. In my opinion it’s the prettiest one in whole city. It has minimalistic style, everything is ordered; here and there we can find some elements of japanese architecture and bonsai style vegetation. There is also a few places, where we could eat regional dishes. We were able to taste good ramen and traditional japanese cookies (I didn’t like these cookies, they were really chewy).
In Japantown I visited a lot of interesting stores. Here you can buy gorgeous japanese porcelain, traditional clothes, a lot of small things and even handmade japanese knives. Also here I was able to buy an army of cats ;) It’s a very popular theme in Japan. I couldn’t take a lot of pictures, because we had bad weather that day. Pictures are blurred and with rain drops :( I’m going to show my souvenirs when I’ll be back in Warsaw. I can only reveal you, that I bought some nice stuff for the auction for one of the charity organisation which takes care of cats ;)
As I told you before Americans are very tolerant. There is also gay district in the town. In that district you can find rainbow flags in almost each corner, also crossings are in rainbow colors. I have to admit, that it was really interesting experience to go there.

If you go to San Francisco there is also Mission district worth to see. There is more trees there than in other districts. As I told you before, it’s really hard to find some green place in this city. There is only one big park, which is far from the city centre and it takes about 1 hour to get there (I’m going to write about it below).
Now we change our accommodation. We moved from the hotel to airbnb flat. So this big park even further away from me, but fortunately we’re really close to the bay now. Here I have little grass square and a few trees. It’s nice enough that I can go for a walk with my daughter. On warmer days we’re taking a blanket and we’re making picnic there.

And what about this ‘one big park’ - Golden Gate Park. Most of the park is well maintained (only near the ocean there are unorganized thickets, but the closer to the east, the more you see that someone take care of this). There are 2 museums, theatre, botanical garden, japan garden and probably more interesting places, which I don’t know about. What was strange for me: the street and highway crosses the park. Generally this park is really nice place to go for a walk, make picnic, grill and meet friends.

Pity that it’s located so far from our airbnb. And public transport in San Francisco leaves a lot to be desired...
As you know, it’s not a problem for me to go ALONE with the stroller to the other end of Warsaw. But here I didn’t dare to do this, and probably I won’t do it anymore.

I have to begin with the fact, that drivers and also passengers aren’t accustomed, that there is anyone who wants to travel by bus with a stroller. Mothers with little kids choose a car, not public transport to get somewhere. 
In the public transport there a special places for disabled people and for bikes, but no place for a stroller.
Ignoring the fact that 90% of buses aren’t low floor, and drivers don’t want to open wheelchair ramp, but once driver forced us to leave the bus, because we took too much space which people returning from work were needing.
It isn’t better in the underground - driver didn’t let us to stay on the special place for wheelchair, although that there were no disabled people in this train. You have to also know, that in one car there is more than one place for disabled people...

We were treated badly also in the restaurant (2 times). First time the waiter told us, that there is no free tables, and one minute later he gave a table for a couple, which was waiting in the queue just after us. He justified this with the lack of space for stroller (as if the stroller couldn’t stand next to the table…) Second time we couldn’t enter the restaurant, because there were “no stroller policy”. It doesn’t matter, that the restaurant was almost empty - we had to stay outside… And this 2 cases concern to high rated restaurants! I obviously added appropriate opinions online ;)

What is definitely worth to see in San Francisco is famous Golden Gate Bridge. You’ll tell nothing special, just a bridge - yes it’s true, but when you come closer you’ll find that architecture is impressive. Bridge is huge, lines are thick - when you look away on this object you don’t realize the enormity of this object.

Not far from the bridge there is the most beautiful (in my opinion) beach in SF - Baker Beach. There are a lot of huge villas with beauteous gardens on the cliff. I think it’s the largest concentration of rich people from the city. It’s all organized with so much pomp, that is breathtaking. 
Obviously all those villas are overlooking the bay, on the driveways there are tip-top shape ferraris (and other cars which cost a fortune - I don’t know brands, so I can’t call them correctly). But in my opinion, people are boasting of these cars, cause directly way to the beach goes between all those villas.

Actually it’s funny for me, because San Francisco is build on height difference terrain - in Poland on such inclined at a high angle ground nothing is built - the most often there are fallow lands or sometimes parks. 
And here you can see streets inclined at 45 degrees and there are few-floors tenement houses with multi-level entrances to garages. 
And by the way - I haven’t seen any disabled person, who doesn’t use electrical wheelchair! Every wheelchair which I saw in this city has an engine - it would be difficult to drive up the hill like these in San Francisco...

If I started altitudes topic - I really liked high mosaic steps named 16th Avenue Tiled Steps. These are located on the border of the city and the suburbs. I think it’s worth to see too ;)

What else did I like in San Francisco? Well - everywhere are bookstores. In each of them there is really large selection of books - I think everyone can find something interesting for himself. Novels, thrillers, cookbooks, for DIYers, handmade items books, for kids and also hipster books with unparalleled graphics and poems. It’s very positive, because Americans love to read; bookstores are crowded all the time, a lot of people meet there with friends! Beyond standard positions, sometimes you can buy some extreme rarity book.

What surprised me in the shops? Well, everything is explained like for foolish people. When I went to grocery store and I wanted to buy soya. I found it; on the package there was written with capital letters ‘Soybean pods’ and somewhere below with really small letters there was written the warning “the product contains soya”. And it’s the same with everything!
The only one place where I felt just like a normal person was a polish shop in the suburban area. The shop was founded by Pole and you can buy there real polish sausage (not this hamburger luncheon meat which is called ‘sausage’ by american people).
Typical american products you can buy in the most of grocery stores, but the most of them are really low quality. Even the best rated shop has hideous baked goods rubbery like shoe soles.

Through the whole week I have to stay in dirty and stinky city; I feel like closed in cage. I love weekend, cause we can go somewhere out of the city that time. There I can take a breath with fresh air. 
We visited 2 protected areas (but not a national parks): Muir Woods (with beautiful huge sequoias) and Fort Funston (with sandy dunes). We’re planning to visit Yosemite National Park, but I don’t if we’ll be able to go there this time. It’s quite far away from San Francisco - distance is like between Warsaw and Tricity.

I miss so much my lovely cats. They have the best care now - my mum is living with them in our flat.
Our flight is in most likely 18 days (so I’ll see them in 19 days). I want to cuddle them. I really hope, that we could go back home earlier.

And at the end - the most interesting man, which I met in San Francisco. It’s a homeless man, who takes care of this beautiful cat lady. I don’t remember her name, but she’s really well maintained, cute and very sociable. She wants to be pet and gladly let to to pick her up :)


Part of San Francisco

I was complaining, that nothing happens in my life… So I have my adventure now! It’s very positive situation, but I’m still a little bit shocked, because of how quick the organisation was. So… I’m in San Francisco now - a thousands of kilometers from home. It’s total spontaneous trip! One day my husband got a phone call from company, which employs him, that he has to coma to main office, and the next day they were buying a tickets! It was crazy! I had to organise visas for me and Maja in 2 days, and after another 2 days we were flying to USA!
Funny, isn’t it? I haven’t even dreamt about flying there in nearest few years. Yes, I was thinking about visiting San Francisco, but to be honest I didn’t believe it would work. During that time the company insisted and that’s how we’re here now. We’re going to spend here the whole month.

The flight wasn’t any pleasure. First we had to get to Munich (1,5 hour flight) - it was quite comfortable flight. Next we had to switch to intercontinental flight (12 hours in the air) directly to SF. It was flight in accompaniment of yells, clamours and grumblings for three voices. There were 3 kids in similar age (Maja and other 2). But surprisingly no one was angry about that. The most of people in the plane were Germans - they were tolerant and friendly. I was afraid, that people wouldn’t like to travel with kids, so I took the whole bag of earplugs. I was going to generously give it to co-passengers if necessary :)

Changing the timezone gave us a hard time. There is 9 hours difference between San Francisco and Poland. So if I have 3 pm in Poland you have the midnight. My daughter was confused, but now she’s getting used to this time. But I can easily wake up at 7 am, but after 7 pm I’m sleepy. I think in few days I’ll feel more comfortable.

We’re here for 3 days. I didn’t have enough time to get known the city, I still have little photos. This week we’re walking around only with my daughter, because my husband has a lot of to do at work. But after this time it’s going to be more leisurely. 

What can I say about San Francisco for now?

 eople are very nice, friendly and helpful. When I ask someone about something I always get exhaustive answer. Sometimes people start talking to me. They admire of baby, they’re smiling and cooing for her.
When we arrived to the hotel receptionist proposed us to change the room for more quiet, because there was booked room with the windows for street. I didn’t even have to ask for baby travel bed, they just gave me this in several minutes. The maid always asks me if I need some help. Of course when I go somewhere - cafe, shop, shopping mall - people open the door and let me in :) It’s really positive how they treat women with children :)

City centre is really crowded and dirty. I still didn’t have occasion to go to farther districts, I’m walking around city centre. I have to admit that I’m not amazed. The concrete buildings are surrounding me from every side - no plants, no green, no parks… If there is some square signed on the map you’ll see only pavement and few benches… Actually I have no idea where to go for a walk wit Maja. City is just a chequered block.
I met few mums with babies - the most often they’re sitting in Starbucks; this coffee shop you can find on almost all crossings (their Starbucks is in my opinion better than in Poland).

The most often view in San Francisco is hobo. Hobos are everywhere, they’re so popular, that the rest of people don’t pay any attention to them. No one is surprised, that homeless people are sitting or sleeping on the main street in the city. Around them there is a lot of dirt, stench and trash. There are some places, where we can even see tents, under the bridges and viaducts there are hobo estates! Sounds incredible, isn’t it? Already on the first day when we went for a walk we saw a couple of drugged homeless, who were having sex in the middle of the walk. And I couldn’t expect that police or someone else will do something about it...

China Town - very characteristic district. Do you know how the Warsaw National Stadium looked like few years ago? It was a huge market where you could buy everything - food, farm and agricultural animals, Kubota flip-flops, Hogo Boos perfumes and even Hunydey motorbikes. Every filthiness were poured out on the walk, people were crowding in every direction - that’s ow it looked like. And that’s exactly how the China Town looks like. And you should know, that it’s 3 cross streets from the city center...

I don’t know how it looks like in different States, but in California there is local patriotism - almost everyone uses Apple devices (the headquarters is located in Cupertino - nearby San Francisco). In cafes there are people with MacBooks, in taxis drivers uses iPads, everyone listen the music with iPods and most people use iPhones. Even homeless people have iPhones and it’s nothing strange for other people!

In San Francisco multiculturalism is popular and trendy. You can meet here everyone - Africans, Asians, Romas, Turkish, Scandinavians, Jehovah's Witnesses (they’re not such brazen as in Poland), homosexuals and even more. It’s mix of all countries and cultures of the world. And what is the most positive? That no one is worse or better than other (of course there are maybe some racists or intolerant people, but this is a minority).
And also not every American is fat. Half of them are extremely fat and another half are very skinny (almost lank). Nothing between.

Food - here are restaurants from each category, but they all have something common: everything is fatty and difficult to digest. For example - we wanted to eat breakfast in restaurant. I decided to order tortilla; what did I get? Huge block of burrito (~30 x 15 cm) with rice, baked potatoes, fried egg, red bean, corn, tomatoes, onion, lettuce and guacamole sauce inside. I got also tomato and chive salad to dish. No, I couldn’t finish it, too big portion for me...
What is typical american breakfast? Well - few pancakes with maple syrup with scrambled eggs and fried bacon. Sometimes (when you ask) they can add fried potatoes or some unspecified bread. Why did I say ‘closer unspecified’? Because they don’t eat bread or rolls here. They choose toast bread instead of normal baked bread.
I tried to find baguette and I did! It was in bigger market in ‘world cuisines’ section in ‘France region”. But this baguette… uh, leaves a lot to be desired. It’s like sole in the shoe - hard and rubbery. You could use it as a weapon and kill someone! :D
But fruits and vegetables are exquisite! There is a large selection of them. Tomatoes are sweet, strawberries are aromatic, I haven’t eaten a better watermelon even in Greece!

What about hot drinks? Well… forget about it. Well.. if you buy a mineral water and boil it in home/hotel it’s ok. But tap water is awful - it’s with added chlorine. It tastes like you would drink swimming pool water. And now try to imagine make a tea or coffee with water like this! Awful! And it’s the same in every restaurants… The safest way is don’t drink hot drinks and order a sparkling water in restaurants, cause if you order the still one it’s possible that you get tap water...
I’ll never complain on tap water in Warsaw again...

I don’t know when I’ll write here again, I think it can take a while. I have very weak internet here, so please be patient ;)
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And below I’m sharing with you a few photos. I know they’re not good quality, but I made it quickly with phone ;)