Heaven is Here: Pacific Coast Highway

2 05 2010

A pictorial journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco.


So long, city of Angels


…and then we passed by a wiener truck.



Crane City


And the pretty pictures start now…



The 7 hour drive turned 12 hour drive is well worth it in the end.
I mean, how can’t it be when this is what is waiting for you on the side of the road?
Breathtaking…

All photos taken by me.

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Video: San Francisco

1 04 2009


Thought I’d like to share my video of my trip to San Francisco =) Taken Nov. 2008





The Fog Rolls in San Francisco

26 03 2009

“As it swallowed up every light on its path, stars from afar too were shutting off their twinkles. In about ten minutes or so, the entity swallowed the entire city’s nightlight and started creeping in towards us.”

                 
I placed my arms on the window ledge and rested my chin on them and took a big breath, after a long day of walking around and sightseeing the city of San Francisco all I needed was a rest. It would be a long day again the next day as we – Kristine, Jimmy and I, had to wake up early the next day to take a tour on the Napa Valley wine train and drive in the afternoon through the night to Las Vegas. The hotel may not have had the best view but wasn’t less impressive to me, it faced none of the city’s icons but mostly low rise buildings. From afar lights flickered as they turned on and off on buildings and down the street people walked in and out of restaurants, pubs and even at Hotel Adagio where we stayed. November’s breeze in San Francisco was less harsh than back home in Toronto where winter breeze can bite into your skin, if there was anything that stood out for me in California was their beautiful weather. However, unlike the cities in South California, San Francisco was not gifted with warm weather all year round so what stood out the most would have been the fog that seemed to creep in anywhere at anytime. As the breeze blew through the window, across the city few of the lights seemed to have gone hazy and flickered not as bright as they were before, one after another lights went from bright to translucent.

Fog is a cloud that that has come in contact with the ground (wikepedia.org) and can be form in many and different ways. Warm air from the coastal valleys of the Bay Area and the Central Valley of California heats up during the day and when the air cools down in the afternoon, clouds form low on the ground of San Francisco giving the city its famous spectacle just after the Golden Gate Bridge. Fog is written in forms of literature as something mysterious, breathtaking, or even sometimes creepy, and whatever feel it gives you the fog is a natural wonder.

Walking along the city was beyond our expectations, we had forgotten the factor that San Francisco’s geogropahy was hilly and made trekking more difficult than what we had anticipated. Sometimes a street would be on a 70 degree angle where climbing uphill was a challenge, and going downhill -well, I dare you to ride your bicycle if you like danger. Cars and streetcars struggle their way up the steep streets on either direction. Lombard Street was the only hill I did not mind trekking though going up took a lot energy and a lot of effort for a good price of being in San Francisco’s most famous and hippest street (arguably also had the most expensive houses). Lombard’s winding and crooked street was created to help the cars navigate from plummeting straight down to the bottom of the road, and it wasn’t far fetched to imagine such things can happen in a hilly terrain.

At one point, we were walking towards San Francisco’s gay neighbourhood known as Castro District when at a turn on a street a hill appeared before us where houses on the top of the hill were covered in fog. Roofs went missing beneath the cloud, a spectacular and unusual view something you didn’t see everyday. The cotton-like cloud with dark hue sat only a few feet from the ground and not any higher acting like a soft blanket over the houses. There was something eerie and creepy with the spectacle, I wondered how were the people living up there coping up? Other spectators took snaphots of the unusual sighting (for anyone who is not from San Francisco)too. If I knew the way up there, I would have taken the courage to go to that street along those houses.

The following day was no different, the sky was covered with light-greyish clouds that will eventually conjure up to be fog later on. We hopped on the bus that would take us to the Japanese Tea Garden where we spent about an hour walking around the impressive Eden. After our exploration we hit the cafe to enjoy a pot of tea split between the three of us (free refills on the tea) and a bowl of Japanese snacks. Drinking tea in the garden was the real spectacle of the visit, especially on a cool day like this. The three of us sat there sipping our cups of tea (while each getting a handful of the snacks in between) looming our eyes on every corner to enjoy the beauty of this crafted area where pagodas peek out of random across the garden. At some point, I thought, how would the garden look like if mist and clouds bobbled around the surface of the pond, perhaps through dry ice – perhaps not, but just like how in movies where they make a lake mystifying. That would be so cool.

                

“There was something eerie and creepy with the spectacle, I wondered how were the people living up there coping up?”

                  

We rushed our way out to catch the bus that would take us to the Golden Gate Bridge – rushing because it was our last day in the city and we still had a few places to see. It was a little disappointing to see only half of the bridge because the other half was hidden behind a low cloud, I had thought that whatever photos I would take would be less impressive than a picture taken on a clear day, but what else can I do? I was there, the icon was there, it was then or never. But as soon as took a couple of shots, I was actually impressed with what I had. Fog was always something I had liked even when I was a kid – to me it was beautiful, and so I put down my camera and watched the cloud mist its way through the red band of steel. I couldn’t stop myself from looking up even as I struggled my way walking along Golden Gate. It was cold, windy, cars and trucks passed by honking and making noises, the ground was shaky, and after a few meters I was starting to feel miserable of the weather. Yet I couldn’t keep myself from looking up. I actually started to like the weather permission, how many travellers get to be mesmerized by the fog that rolls in San Francisco? Most people probably prefered had it been a clear day, but this was different. The fog was what San Francisco was about.

Back at the hotel, I sat there mesmerized by this entity that was blanketing the city inch by inch. Light after light, they became luminescent to hazy from west to east. I could hear Jimmy and Kristine laugh in unison on the background while they watch the show, their attention stuck to the laptop while my attention was stuck to something I didn’t even realize what was. I looked down below on the street to find shops closing down and a few people making their way back to wherever they were heading. Halfway through the city, a vertical horizon was visible, the east still bright while the west became unclear. As it swallowed up every light on its path, stars from afar too were shutting off their twinkles. In about ten minutes or so, the entity swallowed the entire city’s nightlight and started creeping in towards us. I sat in awe as the street got flooded by the cloud, it wasn’t as thick as I thought but cool enough to know that a low cloud was making its way up my window. The air became cool and as I drew a breath, cold air came out of my mouth. I heard a few more laughter from my friends and they finally withdrew their attention from the laptop screen. They turned towards me. “We should go to bed now, we have a long day tomorrow – and I have to drive!” Kristine said. I nodded, turned around and took a last glimpse of the fog covered city and closed the window. Adios, San Francisco.

All photos taken by me.