San Francisco, California: Christmas Visit
December 20 - 23, 2018
Bob and Shirley including visit with Marian and Rob

Day 1: December 20 (Thursday), Santa Rosa to San Francisco, California:

We drove in to San Francisco, passing a barn that always reminds Shirley of home, then over the Golden Gate bridge and on to our favorite motel, the Geary Parkway Motel. Although our favorite room was not available (212), we did get a reasonably good room that we liked, room 203. And the price was right at $99/night (we looked at a fancier, downtown hotel for fun - it charged over $600/night - this is San Francisco).

After moving our stuff in, we went walking in the area, particularly to see Green Apple Books and look for things on which to munch - Dim Sum! We did pick up our first sesame seed ball, but it was no where near as good as the ones we usually get up on Irving Street.

At Green Apple Books we got art books (Shirley) and a mystery novel (Bob) - as usual.

Later we found another Dim Sum place and had some good snacks and Bob reluctantly got another sesame seed ball for Shirley, who, as we were walking, let Bob have a bite, who then went right back and bought another because this one was good.

Shirley met a snowman and both of us chuckled at the name of a market.

Lots more walking around, visiting various shots, then dinner at a Thai restuarant. One dish we did not finish, so took it as carry out, but realized we were just going to throw it away. Then we saw a young man who looked homeless sitting on the sidewalk leaning against the wall, so we gave it to him and he seemed pleased and thanked us.

Day 2: December 22 (Friday), De Young Museum, Sunset District, Marnee Thai with Marian and Rob:

Today we drove to the DeYoung Museum, bought a couple of tickets, though not for the special exhibits and then had a good time looking at all sorts of art work.

Bob was particularly enthused by a large painting of the seismic graph of the 1969 earthquake in Santa Rosa which Bob had felt when he was going to school in Berkeley as he was writing his parents. Shirley liked the early American art work, particularly the landscape painting, along with modern art work by Frank Stella and an original by Salvador Dali.

We then went up 9 stories in the elevator to the spectacular view of San Francisco in all directions. Bob felt it was prettier than any of the art works.

We took the elevator back down, capturing a stunning picture, and walked to the parking garage, passing a sea gull who posed just for us.

Then off to Irving Street. For Dim Sum, including a rice cake for Shirley which Bob had to taste several times, along with a dozen sesame seed balls (well, these were to be shared with Marian and Rob) then visiting the Chinese supermarket with all the live fish and other sea animals. More walking around the neighborhood and seeing Christmas decoriations, then drive back to the motel (going by way of the shore) for some rest and relaxation, then off to pick up Marian and Rob. Bob parked in the front of the driveway that Marian and Rob used since that was a good place.

Turned out Rob got back a little later than expected, but we had a fun time talking with Marian and Rex the cat and dropping off the sesame seed balls. We noticed Marian's crow, which brought to mind Leyla and all the crows in her backyard, but decided that this crow did best staying at Marian's.

Then Rob arrived and called us from the street - someone was parked right in front of the driveway he needed to get into! We all went down to our car, moved it, Rob parked and went upstairs then came back down and we all drove to Marnee Thai restaurant. We arrived at Irving Street at 7:28 pm for our 7:30 pm reservation, and there was a parking space right outside Marnee Thai with all other spaces taken! Yes! Bob rushed into the restaurant; it was completely filled except for one table for 4 with a little reserved sign and we all got to sit down.

Rob, at Bob's request, showed us pictures from his trip to Bhutan in October (Bob is heading out there this coming October). Bob was very pleased to hear there was no snow last year in Bhutan in October. A lady was with a party of 6, one of whom mentioned it was her birthday to the waiter. A bit later, most lights went out, the restaurant hostess came out with a gong and everyone in the restaurant sang happy birthday. Quite fun.

Walking back to the car, we thought about, but did not sing, the alternate birthday dirge. However, Marian and Rob did teach Bob and Shirley a wonderful song:

"My Bonnie has tuberculosis
My Bonnie has only one lung.
My Bonnie coughs up raw oysters
And rolls them around on her tongue.

Cough up, cough up, oh cough up an oyster for me, for me
Cough up, cough up, oh cough up an oyster for me."

This was after Shirley and Bob taught Marian and Rob:

"She's got freckles on her but,
She's got freckles on her but,
She's got freckles on her but, she's pretty."

Day 3: December 22 (Saturday), Union Square, China Town and down town:

We picked up the bus outside our motel and rode it near Union Square. A truly memorable experience was a very small, elderly lady who first got into a long discussion with the guy sitting next to her about his dog which was sitting on his lap (and which does not eat any hamburger at all, except for an In 'n Out burger), and then argued with another guy, perhaps her husband, who got off before she did in order to get his bike, while she stayed on and told us she had no intention of doing all that extra walking while he could ride his bike to meet her.

Union Square had a very large Christmas Tree, a sold-out ice skating rink, and was across from a huge, 6 story macy's with wreath's in every upper window.

After Union Square came China Town, always a fun place through which to walk.

The lobby of the Fairmont hotel gets all sorts of press because it includes not only a Christmas Tree, but an actual gingerbread house made of edible gingerbread, so of course we had to go there. On the way, Shirley had to deal with both monkeys and a very steep climb. She handled both well.

We next visited Grace Cathedral, which as we walked in drew attention to gun violence:

On a much happier note, decorations across the church were based on origami, including paper cranes. They decorated the tree and, very impressively, hung across the ceiling as shown at the beginning of this date above.

After Grace Cathedral we walked back down the hill to a shopping mall with a lower floor that was filled with places to eat, including Panda Express, which is where we ate.

Day 4: December 23 (Sunday), On the beach and head to home:

We took our time checking out of the motel, Bob reading his mystery novel, Shirley reading her art book. A relaxing start to the day.

After checking out of the motel, we drove down to a neighborhood near the Cliff House, walked down to the old baths, on the remains of which a couple were getting photographed. After visiting souvenier shops, we went walking on the beach, seeing many cargo ships coming into the bay, including the Pegasus Voyager.

We walked back to the car, but took time to look at neighborhood house decorations near where we were parked. Out of curiousity as I often do, I looked up on Zillow how much the townhouse with the wonderful Santa display on the balcony would cost - the estimate was $1.77 million for 2 bedrooms, two baths, 2018 square feet.

There were also lots of flowers and a beautiful succulent garden in the neighborhood.

The photos on this page were taken by Shirley and Bob.

Contact/Website Author:
Bob Phillips [phillips bob 27 at yahoo dot com - no spaces]
Santa Rosa, CA
December, 2018

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