Sunday morning, I got up and did the coffee thing. I wandered around looking for a breakfast place in the neighborhood, but could find nothing good. We decided to ride down to Fisherman’s Wharf, which was a big mistake. An hour later, I was sitting with my head in my hands in a back stairwell because I was too dizzy to stand. Stephanie was on recon for food, while I ate my emergency box of raisins. After 15 minutes, I could walk again, so we went to Starbucks and a found a fruit and cheese thing for a ridiculous amount of cash. It was worth it anyway.
We took the bus up to Coit Tower. It was pretty foggy, and even Christopher Columbus was looking chilly. The elevator music was ‘What a Feeling’ from Flashdance. We giggled the whole way up to the top.
You can hear the sea lions all the way up in the tower! I love that. We wandered around, took lots of photos, and then headed back down the stairs. This time, I managed to not remove the skin from my knuckles and wrist on the way down, so I considered that a huge personal success.
We took the bus back down the giant hill into North Beach, and went for lunch at the same place I visited last year, Cafe Delucchi. The food there was just as good as I remembered. We ate panini and watched a woman eating with her tiny little dog in a tiny little sack strapped to the front of her body. He sat and stared at every forkful longingly, but she seemed not to notice. We decided that a tiny little dog in a tiny little sack was unquestionably a sure sign of a very high-maintenance girl.
More buses! This time to the Presidio. We rode through Cow Hollow, which looked to have amazingly good shops, so we were smart enough to not get off the bus. Our ultimate goal was to get over to the coast, but we had to figure out how to get around the Presidio first, and all we knew about that was that 1) it sounded intimidating and had something to do with the military, and 2) Metallica tried to record an album there. Unsuccessfully. So obviously, the odds were against us.
We walked down and saw the Palace of Fine Arts, the only remaining building from a 1915 expo. It’s attached to the Exploratorium, but the most we saw of that was the bathrooms.
After wandering around a while longer, we decided there was no way we were going to reach the ocean that day, time and energy levels being what they were. Also, it was cold and foggy. We took a bus through the marina and hopped off to see Lombard Street (the crookedest street in the universe!), then got back on another bus to head back to the hotel. It went down Stockton, right through the middle of Chinatown, and I had never in my life seen such bus insanity. We were already so packed together we couldn’t breathe, and there were a hundred more people cramming in the back doors. The bus driver was yelling at the passengers. Then he stopped and fought with another bus driver, and they switched. I watched him stomping angrily down the street as we drove away.
Back at the hotel, we put on even more clothes, then met up with Jay. He said, ‘What did you do today?’ Stephanie said, ‘Rode buses!’ We hopped on the trolley back to Pier 39. When we got to our tour boat for Alcatraz, there was already a huge crowd waiting in the cold. We couldn’t find seats inside, so we got to enjoy the elements out on the bay.
The night tour of Alcatraz was awesome, though. A guide led us up the hill and told us about the history of the island, then we took an audio tour inside. I have trouble paying attention to audio tours, but it was still good. The prison itself seems to be in pretty good shape; the other buildings on the island are gutted.
We heard a lot of stories as told by prisoners and guards. They talked about a few escapes, and the fact that there are no known successful escapees, but a few prisoners unaccounted-for. We got to go in the cells, including isolation.
We went to hear the presentation about the 1969 Native American occupation, which led us back down the hill in the even-more-painful cold. Stephanie kept wandering off to stare at the bay. I concentrated on the story so as to not notice the lack of feeling in my extremities. I didn’t like the tour guide’s attitude. Not one bit.
We made a point of rushing back to the boat and managed to get seats inside. Back at the pier, we got on the crowded trolley again. At the stop after ours, the driver yelled at a bunch of boarding tourists, ‘Girls up front! Boys in the back! Girls up front! Boys in the back!’ The men confusedly headed for the back door. The women climbed on, and the driver cracked up. He said, ‘I was just messing with you!’ and broke down in hysterics again. I couldn’t stop laughing.
Near our stop, I felt my bag being jostled, so I pulled it around in front of me and saw that it was open. My phone and wallet were still inside, so I figured I had left it open when I put my transit pass away. Then I noticed the shifty-looking dude next to me with his coat over his arm, and I knew I had just almost been pickpocketed. I tried to make eye contact as he moved away from me. A bunch of people got on and Jay ended standing up right in front of him, so I whispered to him to look out. He said afterwards he saw the guy try the same thing on another woman, also unsuccessfully.
Near-pickpocketing! I was excited. More excited than I’d have been if he had actually gotten my wallet.
We had dinner at a Thai noodle restaurant in the Tenderloin, because I guess Jay seemed to think it was funny to make us walk through that neighborhood every night. Their pad thai was great, and the house music was amusing. We left there late, full and tired, and dragged ourselves one more time back to our hotel in the cold.