Saturday, February 16, 2008

San Francisco: Day 4

Yesterday we ventured out for breakfast, to Mel's Drive-in just around the corner from our hotel. Mel's advertises itself as the place where "American Graffiti" was filmed, however they have several locations and the location near the hotel is decidedly not a drive-in - it's mid-block in an area of office buildings. The food was quite nice though and our window seat allowed us to people watch while we ate.

After breakfast we headed down Market Street toward the waterfront on foot. In our various excursions we had noticed quite a few buildings with interesting architectural details and I wanted to capture some photos.
This building is near the corner of Fourth and Market. The streets coming into Market here do not meet it at 90 degrees, so there are quite a few buildings which come to a point. This one is almost a triangle. I love the way that from this perspective it looks like it's only a facade.

old and new
There are quite a few modern buildings mixed in with the older ones. I was drawn initially to the older building in this photo mostly because of the way it's shape changes on the upper floors. I do like the contrast between it and the newer building though.

acorn detail
Acorn and leaf detail from another building.

This address on one of the more modern buildings caught my eye because of the angle. We've seen several buildings where a fair amount of thought has gone into the address markings.

Ferry Building
This is the tower of the Ferry Building which sits at the waterfront at the end of Market Street (although there is a park between the end of Market and the building). Our intent had been to hop on the trolley when we got tired but we walked the eight blocks there. Incidentally in the park across the street I had the opportunity/need to try out the public toilets. These are kiosks scattered around the city. They are most definitely public toilets, but they are clean - an automatic cleaning cycle runs everytime the toilet is used - free, and in this case there when I needed it.

After checking out the wares at the vendor tents in the park - favorites were really cool turned bowls, and intricately carved wooden zipper pulls - we headed into the Ferry Building. We had to cross the trolley lines to get there where we were introduced to a new type of crosswalk sign. Instead of the usual red hand/white walking person this one displays the image of the front of a trolley car so you know that a train is coming. Inside the Ferry Building are several dozen food related shops and a couple of restaurants. There were places specializing in mushrooms, olive oil, organic produce and sweets. We chose a treat from a patisserie which we enjoyed sitting by the water.

Bay Bridge
View of the Bay Bridge from the Ferry Building.

From there we walked a little further to a pedestrian pier which I wanted to immortalize. I would have loved to get a picture of it completely empty of people, but for that would have taken a lot more paperwork that I was interested in doing. By being patient I was able to get this shot with the people mostly at the far end.

From there we squeezed into a trolley. After a quick stop at Pier 39 for lunch it was off to the Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum. We didn't have a long time for our visit there, but we had a lot of fun with the exhibits. Amy braved the blind maze - you put your hand through a curtain and try to run a finger from one end of the maze to the other without looking. She spent quite a while on it without success. I finally came to her rescue and verbally guided her (not particularly well) to the end. Another favorite was the ice crystal station. This has a piece of glass (might be plastic) and a cooling mechanism. You flood the glass with water to melt any existing ice crystals. Then you wait patiently while looking through polarized magnifying glasses. It's fascinating to watch the crystals grow.
ice crystals

Once we were ushered out of the museum we found out way to a bus stop, not an easy task (we'd hitched a ride there on a tour bus - the tour the previous day was a hop off/hop on one with tickets good for 2 days). Once back near Fishermans Wharf we caught a cable car back to Market Street. By then it was getting both dark and cold so we joined the hoards in the enclosed portion of the car.

We closed out the night with room service and a movie ("Enchanted" - cute and fluffy).

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