Friday, April 4, 2014

I didn’t leave my heart in San Francisco

Well friends, as the title of this post obviously infers, we indeed did not leave our hearts in San Francisco on this trip.
Rick had never been to San Fran before, but I had when I was in my early twenties. I took a road trip with my parents and sister travelling from Las Vegas to Ontario when we stopped in.
My memories were of a beautiful hilly peninsula bordered on one side by the Pacific Ocean and on the other by the Bay. Rows upon rows of pastel coloured Victorian homes, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, famous cable cars, Alcatraz and of course who could forget the gorgeous Fisherman’s Wharf.  
We arrived sometime between 5:45 and 6:00 a.m., and were encouraged by our Commodore to get out on our balconies to take advantage of the pending “Kodak moment snapping a shot of the Golden Gate Bridge as we sailed underneath it. 
Disappointment #1…after receiving a very“rare occurrence” since we embarked the Queen Victoria I requested a wake up call in order to capture said photo. I bundled myself up in my robe only to realize that jack frost’s brother was nipping at my toes as I ventured out onto the balcony only to find that the bloody bridge lights weren’t even on!
I later learned during our hop on hop off tour that the lights in fact only come on at dusk and turn off at 2:30 a.m…ugh! I will have to mention that to the commodore the next I see him so he is in the loop.
Anyway, I went back to bed only to nod off and be awakened by very loud yelling outside. When I get out to the balcony again this time we are alongside the pier. I see two dock workers tying up the ships lines and this was actually how they engaged each other in a back and forth banter as they went about their responsibilities.  Honestly, it was unbelievably loud for what it is worth and I quickly disappeared into our cabin shaking my head. I felt the urge to ask them to dial it down a bit but thought better off not to figuring they would be finished soon enough.
Enter disappointment #2… now back in bed, that loud talking  become even louder yelling. So out to the balcony I go again only to become a witness to the worst case of verbal abuse I’ve ever heard anyone one person direct to another person in my life!
These same two dock workers are now directing every foul word known to the English language towards two passengers in a cabin somewhere below us. They even used the “C” word.
From what I could make of it, it seemed as if one or both passengers must have told or asked them to stop talking so loudly. Then all hell broke loose and went on for a good half hour or more? One guy wouldn’t calm down even when his supervisor came over in a futile attempt to defuse the situation. All I can say it that I seriously wished that I had of recorded everything because it was truly unbelievable.  
It actually turned into somewhat of a racial incident and I quote one of the tidbits I heard complete with poor grammar:“You in America now you British piece oh S..T!
I’m sure you get the drift, so let it suffice to say, whether it was right or wrong for those passengers to get involved, no one should ever be spoken to like that. I probably would have lost my job if I spoke to someone like that or not for anything been docked some pay!
Moving on…as with anything though, of course with the passage of time San Francisco has evolved into some three quarters of a million people, with nearly six million people in the metropolitan area alone . Today there are very few pastel shaded Victorian homes, and only two cable car routes running at $12 for a return ticket even though forty hills exist.  Many tall skyscrapers have taken over the financial district as with any cosmopolitan city I guess. Fortunately there still exists the ethnic neighbourhoods such as chinatown, Japantown, Little Italy and the hippie hangout that surround it. Here is a little bit of trivia for you too, during the 2009 census it was discovered that more dogs live in this city than children, which is probably because it is one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.A. The average one bedroom condo costs $750,000.  
Enter Disappointment #3…it was cold and rained almost the entire time we were here and every where you looked you would be hard pressed not to see the “American Dream” collapsing all around the city.
No matter where you went, even with all the fashionable boutiques, specialty shops, art galleries, restaurants, hotels, cappuccino houses and the like one thing painfully stood out. The streets are over run with the homeless some of which are undoubtedly mentally ill, young and old alike. For us this seriously tarnished our view of what was certainly once a very beautiful place to live. Perhaps in the early 1900s, but most certainly not anymore; at least this is how we feel.
All I know is, I didn’t leave my heart in San Francisco on this particular trip, but instead had my heart broken.
Here are a few pictures that are still worth taking the time to photograph.
Below the iconic Golden Gate Bridge
Fishing boats lined up at Fisherman’s Wharf
The ever so noisy resident Sea Lions
Infamous Alcatraz…on my last visit here it was not open for tours, but you can visit it today.SanFran_Alcatraz
Pier 39…do you see anything that reminds you of a certain Academy Award winning movie?SanFran_Bubba
Lunch at the Crab House with Wee Shaemus, Fisherman’s Wharf
The Bay Bridge - photographed during our night tour. This particular bridge is lite from dusk till dawn.
The below photo is the Golden Gate Bridge as we sailed away from San Francisco, and is courtesy of our dinner companion Ken Wilkinson. He was the only one willing to go up to the lido deck to capture it. This time the lights were on, but the poor guy arrived to the dinner table a tad bit wet because of yet again another down pour…thanks Ken, you rock!!!
We are now en route to Puntarenas, Costa Rica, and are looking forward to warmer weather and some calmer sea days, especially because it will take 6 days to get there.
We said goodbye to the majority of our “fun” friends and are so very grateful that we still have Ken and Jane.
A new crowd of people boarded and the first major disappointment since leaving was the cancellation of happy hour. Why in the world would a cruise ship cancel happy hour is the big question of the day. Rick is not very happy to say the least.
Speaking of Rick, I am in the process of getting photos from Ken & Jane of Rick’s 50th birthday party. Obviously I wasn’t there, but they made sure there were some photos taken. Hopefully I will get them posted before we arrive in Costa Rica. Until then take care and we’ll catch up with you soon.
Love Rick, Sandra and Wee Shaemus xo

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