Saturday, January 20, 2018

Monterey Day 4: San Francisco, here we come!

It’s Saturday and we decided to make full use of the day. I had made a call to the same car rental outlet two days ago to book a car and finally they did manage to find me a small car - a 1.6L Hyundai Accent. 

The first thing we did was to go to the bank and get an account opened up for my son. And yes, the banks in the US are opened on Saturdays and this one is even opened from 9 and to 4 pm!

It took us an hour to get it done. 

After that and after much persuasion from my son, we decided to drive up to San Francisco. 

He wanted so much to go and I don’t know why I have dialed down so much on my adventuresome spirit lately. I finally gave in and agreed to go ahead with it. 

Well, driving on the different side of the car and the road still need some getting used to, but I am confident I will manage it well. 

The scenes certainly look different to me. 

And we even drove passed NASA’s research center. And we notice familiar places on the signboards - Palo Alto, Cupertino...

We reached the southern side of San Francisco after a two-hour drive...

...and we decided to turn off to a mall for lunch. My son wanted to try out the burgers in Five Guys and here we are. Burger heaven?

I think I have never had so many burgers in my life. 

After lunch, we headed into San Francisco. 

I love how it looks here in the city. 

We were heading for the financial district but we were caught in a traffic jam as I have never before. It was a literal back-to-back gridlock. It took us almost half an hour to clear just one block so I can turn left to get ourselves out of the jam. And no, we didn’t make it to the financial district. And no we didn’t end up even taking a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. They have closed roads in the city and roads are gridlocked everywhere. 

We arrived at the city center, found a place to park our car and we walked around a bit but not for long or far. 

I was getting tired and whilst my son kept insisting that we walk to Chinatown, I said I am not going to walk up and down the high inclines to get there. 

So we went to get our car and drove there instead. A good thing too - it wasn’t worth a walk. 

You need a car in San Francisco but parking will be expensive. You don’t need a car in San Francisco but walking up and down hill will kill you. But of course there are trams and buses. 

It was a really short trip to San Francisco and I felt I must end it with a drive to the world’s crookedest street - Lombard Street.  

It was a most interesting drive - it felt like driving down from Genting Highlands but will all the turns compressed tightly into a short drive. 

Then it was time to return to Monterey. Driving back was most challenging. I was very tired. It was already night. 

But I still have to drive with full attention on my driving and on the road. Back at home, I drive with unconscious competence. I don’t have to think about it. But here I need to drive with conscious competence that needs my full attention for two and a half hours. It was very demanding and tiring. 

And I found that my car kept moving to the right unintentionally. I couldn’t help it and so I had to consciously keep my car to the left. I got honked quite loudly once when the car went too much to the right. Oh dear...

Thank God I finally got us safely back to Monterey. 



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