San Francisco: Adventures in Japantown and Baker Beach

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” – Mark Twain

This cliched quote by my favorite author kept echoing in my head during my stay. I got out of the car after my interesting journey south from Humboldt and Redwood land, through Sonoma and Marin and finally across the nighttime Golden Gate. I closed the car door and immediately found my black jacket to shelter myself from the P.M. winds. I then thought that the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. After being reminded of this, I scrambled to put my jacket on and then lift up and secure my bulky backpack, and was ready take on this city for the next few days.

I did enjoy the somewhat hot sun during the following daytime hours that was contrasted by the heavy and inconsistent breezes. We took a walk from North Beach to Japantown on my birthday, up and down many intense hills that were lined with flowers and colored concrete structures. We were obviously from out of town, because we did not know the secret routes to avoid such intense leg workout.

Japantown was quite interesting, I’ve never seen a mall that only had Japanese stores and restaurants.

I have also never seen such lovely looking plastic food.

And Keanu Reeves apparently liked it!

Another highlight was going to Baker Beach, a few days later. We walked through Chinatown in the almost-warm weather one day, past all of the crowded produce stores with buckets of Bok Choi and some other mystery vegetables not labeled in English, in our almost-beach clothing, to catch a bus to a northwestern corner of the city. The bus took us to new territories of San Francisco, driving past avenues that had a very high concentration of supermarkets and coffee shops all next to one another, in the greater area of the two to three-storied pastel urban residential structures.

Baker Beach had some interesting black-tinted brown sand, with bay waves splashing against it, and lots of dogs running around. This particular spot also had an excellent view of the Golden Gate Bridge, which at the beginning of the day appeared a strong red, but as we stayed until sunset, gradually turned into a maroonish color that was splashed with gold where the descending sun hit it.

The sunset landing over the Pacific Ocean was definitely something else, many different colors contrasting and complementing one another, turning the bridge and the distant rock formations and the hills of Marin county into misty, almost-illusional faded outlines. Though all the aesthetic scenery was overwhelming to the visual perspective, a huge part of the experience was the shivering winds and cool air that constantly harassed the physical comfort.