[Disclaimer: Some photos below contain foul language]
Just a week after returning to the East Coast from SoCal, I flew back out to San Francisco from 1/19 – 1/22 for an interview and spent the weekend there. I had been to San Francisco once before in 2012 (throwback to a younger version of me blogging here!) and had enjoyed my trip, and have always wanted to make another trip out there or even move out there.
My trip began on Thursday night flying Virgin America from IAD to SFO. It was my first time flying Virgin and I have to say, Virgin service is on point. The flight attendants were very friendly and the plane was clean and new. My favorite part was the safety music video with dancers and singers instead of a monotonous voice reciting the safety rules.
The next morning, also inauguration day, I had some time before the interview so I ventured out to Downtown Palo Alto for Philz Coffee. The weather was terrible – rainy and cold – but it was worth the trek for the Mint Mojito (iced coffee, non-alcoholic don’t worry) and avocado toast. I also walked by the IDEO office and it looked very average, like any other work space, IDEO comes out with such great ideas and designs. Getting a job at IDEO would be my dream, and I was so close!... physically.
I watched part of the inauguration and swearing in ceremony before Ubering to Menlo Park. Sigh, cannot believe this is happening but it is what it is. Out goes the historic African American and in comes the historic real estate billionaire…
After my interview, I came back to Stanford to check out the campus because I have heard great things about it. Stanford was gorgeous indeed where all the arches, walkways, courtyards, and building had the California-styled beige color with maroon bricked roofs. I liked the California-esque architecture a lot, but my favorite part was the palm trees on campus! I stayed around the main area near the courtyard because the campus was huge. The courtyard had the church and arches that stretched down the entire courtyard. The Hoover Tower was also not far away and I went to the top for a perfect 360 view of the entire campus. The tower was like Cornell’s clock tower (but built after Cornell’s) and was named after President Hoover. Fun fact: he is the only Stanford graduate to become president. I also walked to the Rancor Art Museum and saw some sculptures outdoor as well as paints inside the museum. And funny story, through my Instagram photo, Wendy saw that I was at Stanford and we actually met up for coffee. I completely forgot she goes to Stanford grad school so I was glad she saw the photo and called me out. Oops.
By the time I finished roaming campus it was already late afternoon, and I began making my way over the Bay to Fremont to climb with Jason. We had the exact same classes for all of Junior and Senior year at Cornell and I have not seen him since graduation. It was great seeing him and catching up after over two years. We spent a couple of hours climbing at The Peak of Fremont, ate dinner at Dog House, and then just chilled and chatted at his place in Castro Valley. Nothing really has changed and we still joked like we used to. It is always great to catch up with friends I sort of lost touch with, but pick up right where we left off. It was nice hearing Jason’s doing well out in the Bay Area and he seems to have his life together, so good for him! Thanks a lot for letting me crash on your couch for the night!
On Saturday, I took the BART into SF to Toshi/Matt/Brennan’s place in Mission District. No one was home, so I dropped my bags off and headed out for burritos at El Farolito. The burrito was ginormous for only $8, and I did not even finish it because I felt sick after eating half of it. Then I walked to Clarion Alley, which was an alleyway with graffiti and murals on the walls. Like all graffiti, people expressed their feelings and thoughts so it was diverse collection of artwork. The alley was not long, but I liked the style of art and how it felt very organic being on people's walls and doors. The street felt like a tucked away secret in the neighborhood.
Then I made my way towards the Ferry Building to meet up with Matt. There was a Pro-Life protest going on along Market Street right by the Embarcadero, and also a lot of anti-Trump signs and vandalizations around the area. As the Pro-Life protest winded down, people walked towards Civic Center with anti-trump signs to get ready for the Women's March rally and march afterwards.
Matt and I walked from Downtown to Fisherman’s Wharf, which was a length mile and a half. I mainly just wanted to see the sea lions on on the wooden planks, and we also saw Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. Afterwards, we walked back to Chinatown to get Boba Guys. I did not know that Boba Guys started in SF and opened pop ups in different cities – I have had it in NY!
I was already near Market Street, so I checked out the Women’s March down Market Street towards the Ferry Building. It was steady rain, but the turnout was still big and large crowds filled the streets with signs. People’s morale was high and there were many times someone would start wooh-ing and the entire crowd just joined in, and you just hear a giant roar echoing down Market Street. I found it so amazing that the march drew so much attention and attendance, not just in SF but globally. It goes to prove that people are not going to stay silent in what they believe is wrong and they are willing to defend their rights, and most importantly protest peacefully. Really powerful and I was glad to witness it.
That night, I was pretty pooped from the walking and the rain so I just chilled at Toshi’s place until they came home. Chatted until 2am, just like the good old days in 305 Eddy.
The next morning I woke up earlier than the rest of the house, as usual, and decided to check out Twin Peaks. It was one of the few things in SF I have not done and have been meaning to go because I heard the view was awesome. It was sunny when I left the house, but as I Ubered there it started pouring. Thankfully it stopped by the time I got to the peak and then the sun actually came out – what is wrong with SF weather? Twin Peaks is called that because there are two peaks at the top, and from there you could see pretty much the entire city. I saw the entire Downtown and the Bay Bridge behind it, Alcatraz Island, and the Golden Gates Bridge to the west. The view was great during the day time, but next time I want to come on a clear night to get some night shots.
The last thing I did before heading to SFO was jog up Bernal Heights with Toshi. Bernal Heights is a giant hill behind Toshi’s house and the jog up was actually really tiring. It was stairs and constant uphill, but the view from up top was awesome. It was only half as tall as Twin Peaks, but it still offered an unobstructed view of the city, and it was so convenient being only 10 minutes away from Toshi’s house.
That wraps up my short weekend in San Francisco. I did not do a whole lot, but nevertheless had a fun time checking out new parts of the city and catching up with college friends. It was good to hear everyone is doing well and enjoying their lives out on the West Coast. It seems like their lives are very different from mine and others on the East Coast, and I am still trying to figure out if it is something I will enjoy or not. Thanks Jason, Toshi, Matt, and Brennan for letting me crash at your place!
Stay tuned to find out where I end up next!