During the middle of July, almost exactly a month ago today I had to opportunity to travel to San Francisco, California. The real purpose of the trip was to attend a Professional Mental Health conference. But of course we arrived a day early and left a day after the conference. And it was really interesting but we managed to get the most perfect weather when we were there. The first day we had glorious sunshine and a cool day. The two days of the conference were overcast, foggy and a little damp. And the final day we were there we again had fabulous sunshine with a lovely cool crisp breeze. It couldn’t have been any better or more appropriate than that.
We arrived in the wee hours of the night. I think we actually made it to the hotel at 12:59. But the Sheraton in the Fisherman’s Wharf area of San Francisco has the most comfortable beds and these awesome fluffy pillows. I often have trouble sleeping for any one of a number of different reasons but as soon as I hit the bed I think I was fast asleep and woke refreshed and ready to go the next morning.
We got a great package deal through Cheapo Air. And we specifically chose to stay in the Fisherman’s Wharf area of the city because while we were really there to attend the conference, the conference wasn’t an all encompassing affair. The would be and was plenty of time for exploring the city and seeing the sights.
I wanted to be as cognizant of money as possible because I am also traveling to Greece this year and just need to be as frugal as possible. So that first morning after a bit of breakfast and a wee chat with the concierge about a tour of Alcatraz Prison we headed off journeying the streets of San Francisco for a test run to get to the downtown hotel where we would be attending the conference.
We walked from the Sheraton to downtown San Francisco where all the big hotels live. And on the way we explored some of the sights. If it wasn’t for the fact that I need to work and have a good job in Maine, I could easily move to San Francisco. Maybe if I could win the powerball then I would do that. That might afford me one of the many really gorgeous homes there.
Since I was but a child I have been interested in Architecture. I just love the creative forms and putting all that together with a structure that is functional as well as attractive. My Aunt Joan, a fabulous interior designer in Florida would say that a certain house might have good bones. Perhaps it was from her that I got my attention to the finer things in life including Architecture and culture.
I can’t say that every building or house in San Francisco met my standards for incredible and attractive architecture. But often nestled hither and thither there was a house, a doorway, even a colossal building that caught my eye and caused me to pause just long enough to take another picture.
Photography is another one of those things that I really get into. Very early on in my childhood my father has one of his colleagues introduce me to the wonderful world of photography. While I can’t recall specifically I believe the man was a physician who worked in the Radiology Department at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado. I was born there in 1957. In one of my last trips to Denver I was taken aback that what once was the place where I was born and subsequently worked as an orderly is not just another parking lot in a sea of parking lots in the downtown area of Denver, Colorado.
But I digress. Walking the streets of San Francisco is both visually stimulating as well as great exercise. My traveling partner is as yet still twenty-nine. But by the time we actually got back on the airplane to head back to Maine the poor boy was exhausted from all the walking. I was delighted to discover on my return home that I had lost an additional six pounds. Last year I finally managed to find a diet program that works quite well for me and lost 104 pounds altogether.
This year as I prepare to get to Greece I am wanting to actually get to my goal weight. Just another sixteen pounds and I will be there. It seems like the closer I get to that goal the harder it is to shed those unwanted pounds. When I started the program at the Center for Weight Management in Portland, Maine I was wicked skeptical about their program actually working. I think I had tried everything under the sun and yet I just kept getting bigger and bigger. Yet, I was delighted when in my first month I shed thirty pounds. Now if I can just lose that sixteen more I think I can manage to stay there.
So journeying the streets of San Francisco while I was there was perfect. I have to admit though that there is this one street, I think it was Mason street where we discovered was essentially a straight shot from the hotel where we stayed to the hotel for the conference which was pretty brutal at one point. As I am sure you may know, San Francisco is a series of hills. And generally as well left the hotel we would be walking up towards anything that wasn’t already at the wharf area level.
At some point Mason street goes from a steady slant upwards to an almost vertical slant to the crest of the hill where we then found the Fairmont hotel in all it’s resplendent glory. Interestingly it was the only street where I had to slow my pace and catch my breath before I could make it all the way to the top. I noticed and commented to Alex both on the way up one side and down the other that the pavement was scored so that people walking could get adequate traction. I surely wouldn’t want to have to haul anything with wheels up that street. One little mishap and whatever was on wheels would gain considerable speed rolling to the bottom.
We also noted that while on many streets cars were parked parallel to the curbs with their tires turned toward the curb if facing downward that cars on Mason street and other similarly steep hills were parked perpendicular to the curb. There was one small jeep at the bottom of such a hill that looked as though one could roll it over with just a little push.
It’s a really good thing that San Francisco never gets weather that would cause the streets to be coated with freezing rain or snow. The result would be nothing short of catastrophic.
In Part II we will continue to explore the sights in San Francisco. Stay tuned.