Spending our time untethering the mind, getting the fidgets out, exploring the in-between ideas, and learning kintsugi.

Fisherman’s Wharf – to love or to leave

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Touristy wharf

Touristy wharf

Are you a San Franciscan? Do you stay away from the wharf because you consider it to be touristy?

Tell me this – what is not to like at the waterfront – one of the best views as far as eyes can see, and loaded with history too. Yes, the touristy stores. They are there everywhere including Chinatown. They have large banners in front of them screaming “touristy”, so not too hard to avoid, right? And the performance artists, they are amusing if not fascinating.

Too full of tourists? With the awful transport system tourists are bound to feel queasy away from the safe zone. Panhandlers of tandoor loin can be creepy. Have you seen the buses that ply through the Mission District? Not so posh – covered with graffiti they look like something the cat dragged in.

Surely you will agree that Musee Mecanique at Pier 45 is for everyone. I quite like the old musical instruments myself. Ones serving naughty pictures are amusing indeed. Last time I saw quite a few teenagers completely engrossed with the old style arcade games.  These are the same lot that play Wii – fascinating.

Fresh seafood stands at the wharf

Fresh seafood stands at the wharf

The fresh seafood stands are debatable. They do serve fresh catch. Should be brilliant but I was not particularly happy. I recently tried a crab sandwich at the famous Crab station. The crab itself was fresh. It doesn’t take a chef to mix crab with mayonnaise. Throw that between two slices of bread, something soft like a brioche bread would have been perfect but a french batard would have worked almost as well. Their bread, whatever it was, was practically inedible. Oh well, C’est La Vie!

I like watching tourists at Pier 39. It is a glad sight to see people happy and excited and taking silly photographs. One of the days I noticed a group of young persons, San Franciscans, giving away hugs. The young women were doing well, but not so much luck for the young men. In fact, when the men would step forward to give someone a hug,  people would step back a few paces. It is one of those things that bring a smile to your face. Isn’t it?

From the quiet side of the piers

From the quiet side of the piers

I like walking behind the main piers. From the edge of Leavenworth Street, you can walk on to these unnamed small piers with small sailing and fishing boats parked around. The view is still gorgeous – Coit tower and Alcatraz against the foreground of boats. You would likely find yourself in your own company. Your walk would be slightly wobbly as the waves move the piers, the junctions of which would be creaking like an octogenarian’s knee.

A tip for the tourists – if you want a Bay excursion on one of the small boats, look out for individual boat owners on Jefferson between Taylor and Jones.

You are likely to walk into tourists if you go to the pier at Hyde Street to catch a glimpse of the historic fleet of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. These early twentieth century vessels can be seen from the Aquatic park. Check out the park schedule for a ride around the Bay in one of these historical vessels. Here, you can also catch some swimmers in the ice cold water. I am told that this is where many of the triathlon participants train. Brrrr…..

Often, by this time, I am ready to head home.  If I am feeling bold, I watch tourists as they queue up for the Hyde-Powell cable car. Or watch more of them at Ghirardelli square feasting on hot chocolates and cup cakes. If they can watch the natives, you can reciprocate – that has always been my way.

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