baphijmm: (That's me)
( Jan. 29th, 2011 01:34 am)
Here's the continuation from yesterday; it's written in the same format, so... yeah. :P

What does it say, that I just gave accurate dirs to a tourist?

As I left the museum, I decided to check out the other side of Pier 45 mostly out of curiosity. I'm glad I did - that's where I found the sea lions. I know they aren't exactly elusive creatures along the California coast, having seen them pretty much every time I'd been near that ocean, but it was still neat to see them again. They'd gathered around the side of the pier that was still used for fish processing and packing, which makes sense.

In addition to the wildlife, I also found the local sport fisherman's dock; the large assortment of sailboats moored there was certainly impressive, as was the overall structure of the place. I really can't describe it very well, mostly because I'm honestly not sure how it was built, aside from perhaps "very carefully."

It was at about this point, however, that I took note of the time; I'd spent a large amount of it inside the museum, and still had quite a lot I'd wanted to see of the city. Deciding to bid the Wharf farewell, I made my way up what I later learned was Leavenworth St towards my original destination, Lombard. Again, I was taken aback by the beauty of the buildings in the area; much of the architecture was stunning, and every block I traversed only led me further along in my astonishment.

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure how I ended up on Leavenworth; I think what happened was that I'd spotted a map on Fisherman's Wharf, and knew I had to make my way towards that road at some point. Still, when I made it to the bottom of Lombard's curvy bit, it was amongst a tour group who had also decided to pay the street a visit. I climbed up the stairs to the north side of the road about halfway before deciding that was a good enough location, taking a few pictures before climbing back down.

I have to say, there was one building in particular on that street; it was well-hidden by a massive garden, but the building itself was amazing. I can't imagine living in a place like that; I mean, it's something I would love to be able to do in the future, but it is just so beyond my current means I honestly can't imagine even setting foot in such a place.

From there, I continued south on Leavenworth, taking a few pictures of choice locations wherein the steepness of Russian Hill made building difficult, so the area had been integrated quite well with nature. It really was quite a beautiful road, all things considered.

As I approached a crossroads, I saw in the distance another building I recalled I'd wanted to check out as well - the TransAmerica pyramid. Immediately upon seeing it, I decided that would be my next destination. I continued down Leavenworth until I came to a crossroad that seemed as though it might pass close by the building, Washington St.

Moving down this road, at the intersection of Washington and Taylor, a car pulled into the crossing from the south and turned right, stopping in the middle of the turn; the driver leaned out his window and motioned me over. "Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to Fisherman's Wharf from here?"

I smiled internally; not only had I been mistaken for a local by another tourist, but from this location I could actually provide what he'd asked for! Given his present position, I told him to follow Washington to the next intersection - easily visible from our location - and turn left, following the road - Mason St - all the way out to the Wharf. He thanked me and drove off, leaving me with quite the sense of accomplishment.

And I just accidentally right into the heart of Chinatown

The TransAmerica pyramid in sight, I continued down Washington St, little else on my mind. As I passed a playground populated entirely by Asian children however, I realized I had inadvertently wandered into Chinatown. Now, at first this wasn't exactly that big a deal; I'd accidentally wandered into part of Chinatown earlier while heading out, so I really didn't think anything of it. As I approached another intersection, I noticed the establishment on the corner was a toy store specializing in Japanese wares, more specifically Pokemon-related (though not entirely).

It was the intersection of Washington and Stockton, however, when I realized exactly how deep into Chinatown I had traveled. I suddenly found myself deep within a completely different culture, one that I found immensely fascinating. I tried not to look too much like a tourist, but I'm pretty sure that illusion was quite broken here as I stared vacantly at the buildings and establishments I found myself surrounded by. Vendors in the street sold various tasty-looking foodstuffs; tenants in apartments above strung clothes along the fire escape rails. The architecture was something to marvel at, as well; while not entirely different from other parts of San Francisco, there were a few buildings here and there that differed drastically, strangely not standing out very much at all among the others.

My original plan, as I had no money to spend pretty much anywhere, was to continue down Washington and just enjoy what I saw; however, when I encountered an alleyway, I just had to duck into it. Naturally, this probably would have been a bad idea had it been just a little later, but in the daylight it was pretty safe. I could hear quite a lot of clacking going on inside several of the rooms I passed, most of them boarded up with plywood; it took me a short bit to realize what was going on - I was passing Mahjong dens.

Truly, I could spend a staggering amount of time writing about everything I encountered in this part of town - I stepped inside a few shops, and even got to check out an art museum - but this would really be exhausting to both reader and author. I did wish to mention one thing in particular; on my way, I passed a park wherein I encountered a number of clusters of people playing a game I did not recognize, all shouting various suggestions to the two actual players in Chinese. Having now looked up the game, I know it now to be Xiangqi. It was actually quite fun to stand back and watch as the surrounding crowds participated in the game.

Back @ the hostel

As the sky was beginning to darken, I finally made it to my final chosen destination, the TransAmerica pyramid. The structure really is a sight to behold from the base; a marvel of concrete and steel, it's amazing to just look up and see it taper off in the distance. I walked around the south side of the structure, taking note of the way the supports of the lower levels were aligned as something of a curiosity. Coming around to the eastern side of the building, I encountered a small park; my feet and legs aching after an entire day of wandering around San Francisco, I dipped into the place and rested on a small bench, looking up at the sky through the branches of several comparatively-young redwood trees.

Having gotten some strength back, I knew I should be returning to the hostel with some speed; while San Francisco wasn't exactly a terribly dangerous city after dark, I knew from my brief time there that dark was when the panhandlers really came out of the woodwork. Being a man of precious little money, I didn't want to get stuck in that sort of scenario.

I knew that going back the way I'd come was asking for trouble; the hills involved would have killed my legs entirely. However, at that moment I knew I was about level with the hostel elevation-wise; as such, I decided to traverse the roads through the path of least resistance. This actually turned out to be quite a good idea, as this ended up being a relatively short path as well.

One particularly stunning site I encountered on this return path was at the corner of Stockton and Bush; it having at that point become quite dark, I was able to look out over the entrance to the Stockton Street tunnel, the street below absolutely aglow with all sorts of neon signs. It gave the road something of a trashy feel, but at the same time made it somewhat inviting for someone roaming the streets at the relatively early hour I had been.

It didn't really take me very long to return to the hostel from that point; while I was certainly tired upon my return, I was still quite energized by the day's activities, having a difficult time getting to sleep that night in anticipation of my flight back to New Mexico the next morning.

I wasn't particularly looking forward to returning, honestly; if I'd been given the option, I'd've gladly stayed in the area to wait on a decision from the company I'd interviewed for. Alas, this was not the case. As such, the next morning I awoke at roughly 9am, checked out and got down to the CalTrain station within the hour, and rode the train out to San Bruno. From there, I followed the very same path I'd walked just three days prior, around the small city and into the San Francisco International Airport. I was able to get my ticket with relative ease, and I was even rushed through security thanks to my handicap.

Being in the necessary terminal a good three hours before my flight was scheduled to take off, I set up my computer and chatted with folks in New Mexico on IRC while I waited. I informed everyone how the interview had gone, a little of my travels, and generally just tried to relax before the flight.

Thankfully, this time the flight itself was incredibly uneventful; the plane took off with no delay, and we landed in ABQ without any problems at all. I met up with my ride back, and we tooled around the city for a little bit before returning to Socorro.

In the past week, I've been preparing myself to move out. Most of this has admittedly been motivated by the intense hope that I get this job; however, should they decide not to hire me, I do need to be getting ready to relocate anyway, as the plan involves me moving back to Cincinnati. In spite of this, I've also been doing a lot of research on the Mountain View area, looking around various locations therein that I may decide to try to move into. I've found one apartment complex in particular that I think I could afford, is fine with cats for a rather small monthly charge, and is literally just down the street from the office. Naturally, crossing my fingers.

In addition to this, I've been blessed with just a slightly brighter glimmer of hope - my W-2 arrived. I do intend to file my taxes as soon as I can; if nothing else, the return would greatly assist my existing debts, and should everything pan out positively it would even more greatly assist my relocation by helping me with initial expenses, including a monthly bus pass and probably cat food.

Things are beginning to look way up; here's hoping I can continue moving heaven and earth for just a little longer and manage to turn my life around.

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