March 17, 2012

San Francisco as a Gateway Leg

Filed under: travel — mmrobins @ 3:44 am

Our return flight from Thailand didn’t have any good connecting flights to Portland – they all involved 6+ hour layovers. So we found that it didn’t cost extra to just take a few days in what’s considered the gateway city of our international flight, so we had a couple days to see the sights of San Francisco.

We stayed at the Green Tortoise Hostel in the North Beach area of San Francisco. I felt a little out of place there since it very much has a party backpacker vibe that a baby seemed out of place in. It worked out and there was one other family with kids we met staying there, but we were definitely the odd ones out amid the early 20′s crowd that was there for clubbing, partying and drinking. Fortunately the rooms were relatively quiet so that wasn’t a problem for sleeping. Unfortunately Geneveve’s internal clock had her waking up at between 2 and 4 AM for a couple hours both nights, requiring us to entertain her for a few hours and not getting much sleep overall. There was a dry sauna in the hostel, so that was a nice activity to kill time in the early morning.

Most of the stuff we planned to do was outside, but it was nasty, rainy weather most of the time so we had to find indoor activities. So we went to Gold Gate Park and the California Academy of Sciences. It’s like a science museum / zoo / aquarium all rolled into one big building. It was pretty cool that they had an indoor coral reef and rainforest. We probably spent 7 hours there seeing most things, including some time for Geneveve to play in the kids area.

The next day the weather was a little better, so we went with a small group from the hostel to a beer garden for Saint Patrick’s Day. The plan was to show up early, get free wrist bands, and go see the parade, but the hostel group just ended up staying at the bar, so we left them to see the parade. It turns out that parades are more fun with a baby. Geneveve love getting the candy and small plastic toys that get thrown, and seemed to enjoy watching the vehicles and costumes go by too. She got a kazoo in the shape of a duck bill that kept her happy for a couple hours after. Our final activity was getting food in the Little Italy area, and that was delicious, although I was suffering sticker shock of how much everything cost compared to Thailand.

Now we’re back home with Sunday to recover a bit before going back to work on Monday. Hopefully we can get back on a normal sleep schedule.

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