Sunday, March 05, 2017

New First Impressions of San Francisco

The last time I came to the US was almost 12 years back, in July 05, and I was curious to see what would have changed. Would there be driverless cars zooming around? Would I see futuristics pods transporting people at the SFO airport, an upgrade from the driverless train that had amazed me the first time I had seen it?

Interestingly, it seemed just the same. Lonely, people-less streets, cars parked by the kerb, lots of vacant lots, and this time, dozens of homeless, jobless people hanging by the sidewalks. Or maybe I just passed through the wrong streets! I didn't really get the feeling that this was the happeningest place in the US, it almost seemed as if a switch had been turned off. If you told me this was debt-ridden & bankrupt Detroit, I would have believed you!

I checked into the Hotel Vertigo, where the famous Hitchcock movie was shot, a quaint place - clean and well maintained, and good value for money (although it doesn't have a restaurant and doesn't serve breakfast). Against my desire, I did fall asleep, wasting a good sunny afternoon, but then after almost no shuteye on the plane, I needed it desperately.

When I woke up, it was 730, and there was heavy, windy rain instead. I took a hot shower, and caught an Uber to Pier 39. The short drive passed through typical San Francisco neighborhoods - steep slopes, cars parked dangerously at right angles to the 45 degree slopes, defying gravity and physics to stay from being toppled sideways! My driver on the ride back to the hotel was a wonderful black lady named Delores who trusted her Ford Fusion to take extremely steep hills, stopping just before the crest at the Stop signs, putting my heart into my mouth, desperately hoping we didnt slide all the way down to the bay!

Pier 39 was quiet, with very little tourists out this late. There was some comicon kinda event though at a local joint, and you could see a lot of bunnies and other "animals" running from their taxis to take cover before their tails got wet!

I spent a few minutes shooting werewolfs with a laser gun in the 7D experience theatre, chomped on some crab and calamari for dinner, and called it a day!

Not too eventful, but hey, it wasn't meant to be so!

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