San Francisco in 5 days – Day 1

I seem to have taken a very long hiatus from blogging after returning from my San Francisco trip. To complete the other parts of my SF trip back in December last year, here is the first (second in the series) of my 5 day trip. Hopefully, someday I’ll finish all the rest of the days notes with pics. 😛

Since it has been such a long time, I am just using my photographs from my trip to guess what I did on these days and recollecting whatever memory I have of those days to compile these posts.

To summarize my post, the places I visited this day were:

  1. Powell Station
  2. Land’s End
  3. Curry Up Indian restaurant
  4. Clarion Alley
  5. Union Square
  6. Mission Street
  7. MUNI metro trains

To go through all the places listed, I am going to use a different type of story writing from here on to not just improve my story telling style with music, but now, for the first time; rejoice! Coming to your eyes for the first time from me, a musical and visual journey of my journeys! 😛 😛

Ok, that really sounds stupid now when I re-read it! Anyways, here goes nothing. Ever since this trip , my passion for photography has been piqued to new heights! Now, more or less, I am always with my camera ( I changed to a film SLR from digital which is a separate story for later!) and keep looking for new perspectives and compositions everywhere I go. Like one of my new YouTube favorite channel guy puts it ‘I am mastering composition and light manipulation’ the hard way.

So, getting back to the points mentioned above, after I left my temporary housing, the first thing to be captured by my camera happened to be the houses nearby my new residence.

The Sun just comes up!

After snapping a couple of these in the early morning cold of SF, I went to the place which would become my go-to breakfast place for the next few days till my final day at SF was Noah’s New York Bagels. This place has some really nice bagels and they are generally out of bagels before 9 AM! You have to be an early bird to get something you like. One thing that became my quick favorite was a cup of coffee and their mushroom omelette bagel. You get to choose your bagel type as well.

This is how the place looks like on the inside:

My breakfast almost everyday!

After my morning breakfast, the first station I visited the next morning after getting my MUNI pass since I couldn’t find a BART near the place I stayed at, was a train to Powell station since the person at the counter in West Portal told me that I could get the local map and places to visit at that place and true to his word I did find it.  The moment I got off the train at Powell and came back, that is when I saw some of the most fascinating things there!

Once again, LOVE the ultra-wide angle!


The thing that made it more nice to see was this nice cable car transformed into a cafe!

A Cable car turned into a cafe!

After getting some of the maps and guides for free from the place and chatting for almost 45 minutes to the person at the counter for the ‘Traveller’s information center’ (if that is what it’s called) and trying to plan the whole trip for the next few days, I decided that I couldn’t waste any time staying at home and hence, my first stop from there was going to be ‘Clarion Alley’ for the beautiful graffiti there.

I came up the escalator and saw the cable car line extending to a never-ending queue! This happened all the 5 days I stayed there!


The line that never ends even after 45 minutes of standing!

The World famous cable cars still move!

And just when things couldn’t get anymore complicated, I see this thing and this is called a ‘Street Car’! Sheesh! Give me a break now! Cable car, street car, MUNI, BART … suddenly there seems to be a lot of modes of transport here!

Another design of the same thing.

I then, boarded another MUNI line, the name of which I keep forgetting  and got confused about the station to get down at and this driver wouldn’t stop at all places, only at those stations where he saw people standing or someone pressing the stop button! And before I even realized, I came across this place in Church and 20th street.

Church & 20th st.

After finally finding my way after talking to a few homeless guys, and walking for another 30 minutes, I came across one of the havens of street graffiti!

The start of the alley

For more detailed pictures, you can always view my Flickr account which I’ll link to towards the end.

After exhausting nearly almost half my energy walking everywhere, it was time to take a short break and co-incidentally found this place:

One of the best Indian restaurants in SF!

This place had one of the best tasting ‘Vegan Burrito’ as they called it with Samosa pieces, tamarind chutney, basmati rice, peas and  other veggies made like a biryani and boy, it tasted really delicious! It was a bit on the expensive side but hey, this is SF! You cannot expect street food at street prices here!

Once I completed my lunch, I wanted to visit ‘Land’s End’ , ‘Sutro baths’ and ‘Eagle point Labyrinth’. The  ride to that place was very long, lasting almost 1.5 hours with the train and bus from Mission street near which the Indian restaurant was situated. Land’s End is truly a wonderful sight to see. You can see the Golden Gate bridge from there very clearly and some nice evening scenery in San Francisco can be experienced there.

One of the shots which I took, although lacking a bit of contrast is this one:

Alcatraz island?

After walking along one side of the trail for a very long time slowly pausing for shots, I came across another place to set my cam on the cliff and take a long exposure photo with a ND8 filter.

Sunset along the cliff

Personally, I think it could’ve been better if I knew what I was doing wrong but here, I didn’t care much since this was the first time I shot something for 8 seconds or so without any tripod support.

After finishing this side of the stroll, there remained another 1.5 or 2 miles of trail left to complete and it was getting dark since it was winter and not to mention SF’s smog conditions! I tried to complete the other trail quickly but my feet was giving up on me and the Sun bade its goodbye before long. I caught a bus on-line 31 and returned back to Powell station and man, was it crowded! On my way to Powell station, I came across this nice group of people drumming quite nicely and I had to click at least one shot of them although it didn’t turn out good.

Westfield mall

Just after this, I boarded the train so that I could walk back home from West Portal in the cold night to my residence. I had a nice dinner of eggs, a slice of some nice dessert cake, a few carrots and some tofu. Now that I think about it, I feel like laughing at the fact that I could actually exhaust my energy completely and yet have such a dinner and still go to dead sleep by 10 to wake  up at 6 in the morning! 😛

And this way, my first day in San Francisco started with a bang and ended like a completely wasted cracker but I am glad I covered so much in one day since the next days were going to be better and I would be able to cover almost the entire part of the SF city map in 5 days!

Something that I do feel quite relevant to mention here is the fact that I saw three girls during my trip that made me curious to talk to them and want to actually converse with them which rarely happens with me! One of them happened to be right at the Powell Info center and she smiled at me the first time our eyes met and I was my usual shy idiot, blushed a little and turned away quickly! Amongst all Indians, there are girls from two cultures who really stand out to my eyes and whom I can easily recognize, one because of their beautiful eyes and the other because of their hair; one at the North-Eastern part and the other the South-Western part of India. This girl was definitely a Bengali (Bong, as I and a lot of other Northerners like to call!)! The reason why I am so sure about it is because of the beautiful eyes, the red lipstick contrasting her facial features really well and her smile…for some reason, I really get a very strong feeling that she was a Bong and yup, she was pretty enough to make me curious!  I overheard what she was asking the receptionist and she seemed to be there for visiting as well, and yup, she had a DSLR with the same brand of camera bag that I had. Coincidence? I would like to think so.  🙂

p.s. She noticed me once, I noticed her twice on two different days but didn’t want to spook her out and so I fell back although I did follow her a little! 😛

Anyways, that ends this post for now. Hopefully I would get time to complete the other parts of my trip sooner and get some photography things I learnt since then.

My Flickr pics for this day can be found here:

If you want to look at my entire set of albums:

And as usual, to end it with a musical note, as always, a music track from one of my favorite artists of a very nice Tamil song. Hope you like it. 🙂


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