One of the things I really enjoy about Golden Gate Park is that you see stuff in San Francisco that you'll rarely come across in, say, Land Park in Sacramento. For example, during our six-block stroll from the N Line to the de Young Museum at Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, I spotted guys like those Party Down dudes (love that show), dressed in bow ties and black suits, carefully removing and stacking bottles of champagne from the back of a black sedan.
Across the street, a wedding Limo decorated like Hello Kitty. Then, a nearly naked guy jogging. A Cyndi Lauper look-a-like smacking gum, photographers carrying tri-pods, kids toting skateboards, an old woman wrapped up like a mummy and asleep in her wheelchair, a tuba player, a hooker, a lost kid playing drums on the sidewalk with a tree branch, Daddy Warbucks screaming on his cell, and a greyhound pulling a kid in a wagon. You've gotta love the diversity.
My husband and I woke sleepy-eyed yesterday due to the trains roaring by all night, stashed our luggage at The Waterfront Hotel at Jack London Square and walked around back to the Oakland Ferry. It's a 30-minute ride to San Francisco from this spot. No sitting in traffic on the Bay Bridge or taking the B.A.R.T. under the water. Best views of the Bay.
A somber group of people sat together at port side. This guy with a hat and scarf wrapped around his neck held a velvet-covered box, and we overheard them discussing the 23rd Psalm. I suspect it's not legal to dump a person's ashes in the Bay, but that wouldn't stop me if I were in their shoes.
It was a short 3-minute walk from the ferry landing in San Francisco to our favorite dim sum restaurant in the Rincon Center, Yank Sing, which was already hopping by 10:30 AM. We started out with an order of Peking Duck, followed by dishes of scallion prawns, Hau Gau, sugar-snap peas, sticky rice in banana leaves, chicken-stuffed mushrooms, and pretty much crammed dumplings into our faces to the point where I didn't leave enough room to finish off with a sesame ball.
The weather was much more cooperative yesterday than it had been on Friday. Sunny, with a light breeze and no rain. The question was did we want to take a street car or the muni to Golden Gate Park. Or were cable cars the best direct route? We opted for the muni, but the N Line stopped at Church and Duboce, where we transferred to a bus. The bus driver told us she's never seen King Tut, even though she's a San Francisco native.
She didn't drive a bus very well. At the first stop, she almost left a baby at the curb because the parents couldn't open the back door of the bus to get out. At the next, she passed up a stop and 2 passengers screamed that they needed to get off. It was a fun ride up Haight Street. Also, somehow fitting that Ben and Jerry's scored the corner location at Haight and Ashbury.
When we arrived at the de Young Museum, it was readily apparent that VIP tickets were the way to go. Otherwise, we would have stood in this crowd of visitors for hours, but a VIP ticket let us bypass the long lines. There are 10 chambers that comprise the King Tutankhamun exhibit. I learned that King Tut married his half-sister. Among the many 3,000-year-old burial treasures are religious pieces such as an ankh, which is the Egyptian symbol of life, and lots of jewelery, including tiny coffins that housed King Tut's internal organs. Probably the best thing was this painted wooden torso of King Tut, or maybe the pectoral with lunar and solar emblems and a glass scarab.
After the tour, we visited the gift shop because no tour is complete without a gift shop. There, you can buy mummy magnets, rubber mummies that squeak and mummy pencils, among other trinkets. I think it's important to support museums, so I bought a pearl jewelery box for my sister and an alabaster cat figurine made in Egypt.
We spent our last hour in San Francisco at the Ferry Building, gorging ourselves on gourmet chocolate, Point Reyes cheese from the Cowgirl Creamery and salami from Tasty Salted Pig Parts, before heading back to Oakland to hop the Capitol Corrider train to Sacramento. Below are a few photos I hope you enjoy:
Oakland Ferry to San Francisco, left and Yank Sing, right
de Young Museum King Tut Exhibit, left and Cowgirl Creamery, right
Photos: Elizabeth Weintraub
Click here for Day 1: The Swell Season in Oakland