Baghdad by the Bay

So after my website went under a small transformation, a facelift as the fellas in the automotive industry call it, I’ve been a little more motivated to blog. Also the fact that 2017 is filled with trips give me that extra push.
We decided to spend the last few days of winter in San Francisco. Tim had an event in the Bay Area, stretching through the week, and I decided to join him for a slightly longer, long weekend.
My flight was a rather late one. Not late enough to be given the badass title of redeye yet I found it pretty late, arriving in San Fran at 1 am local time, meaning I had gained three hours, but was 6 hours more exhausted if that makes sense. (It doesn’t, I know.)

The next couple of days I roamed around the city, sometimes accompanied by Tim during his breaks, getting the feel of what many call the coolest city in America. I can’t disagree. People are friendlier, smiley-er, nicer there. It’s also windier and colder than what I’m used to in Miami, but I didn't seem to mind fishing out my sweatshirts and jeans that had been sitting folded in boxes for our trips back to Germany.

Market Street

Market Street

The sun was out and my strolls were long. I spent a morning walking to and then up and down Market street, trying on a couple of sneakers and leaving Sephora with a deep red NARS lipstick (cuz I don’t have enough. Seriously, I don’t. One can never have enough tubes of red lipsticks, especially a brunette). Let’s just say Market street had enough cafe’s and restaurants for me to want to do another masters in San Francisco and rent a ridiculously expensive matchbox apartment in that neighbourhood. Oh the amount of writing I could get done in those cafes… 

We met up with my friend from my Allameh University days, Bita, and her husband in an Iranian restaurant beautifully named Anar, Persian for “pomegranate”, where we chatted over rice, kebabs, Fesenjoon (pomegranate stew thickened with crushed walnuts and pulled chicken) and maast o khiar (yogurt and cucumbers), ending the night and the Persian year with halva and black tea served in delicate hourglass shaped glasses that would put any Kardashian to shame .

Saturday was cold and slightly windy, though it had nothing on our determination to ride bikes we had rented across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, where we lunched, wiped it down with two extremely huge scoops of ice cream and loaded our bikes on the ferry back to San Francisco, just in time to catch the sunset…
We dropped off our bikes and walked back to the Fisherman's Wharf, building enough of an appetite for a stop at In-N-Out and scoffed down burgers and chips. A meal us east-coasters can only dream about or simply book a flight way west for a bite at the burger franchise.

We had bought our tickets for Alcatraz way before booking our flights to SF, having heard that you can’t just show up and expect to find ferry spots to the prisoner island. With our ferry leaving at noon we had enough time to sleep in a little, grab late breakfast and walk to Pier 33, where we queued with many other tourists curious to see the now uninhabited island that was once home to some of the country's most dangerous criminals.
Depressing is an understatement when describing Alcatraz. Even though we were met with grey skies and some drizzle, I can confidently say our experience wouldn't have been joyous had it been sunny and warm. The tour took us through the entire island, explaining every corner of the prison, from cells to workrooms to kitchens and dining areas. With headphones in our ears, Tim and I would occasionally lend each other a look that would describe what we were both feeling “how awful”. And no matter how abominable of a human being one is, seeing their suffering or at least the location where so much suffering was imposed is never a fun experience. I was angered by some visitors who thought it would be funny to go into cells and make ridiculous poses as someone else captured a picture, then squealing at the result and laughing at how funny it looked. In the age of oversharing and overexposure it’s easy to forget that not everything is a funny/cute photo opportunity for our Instagram feed.

Monday was planned to be spent in a GoCar riding around the city before we caught our redeye (this time a real one) back to Miami, but with rain and wind making it colder and gloomier than we had expected, we decided to simply check out of the hotel and walk to Chinatown and lunch at a restaurant Tim had learned about in a city tour he had taken with his colleagues a few nights back. With Tim not remembering the name and our stomachs grumbling we decided to give in and opt for an Irish restaurant not too far from Market street. We tried not to exhaust ourselves too much before heading to the airport so we walked back to the hotel where we sat with our backs to the drizzle outside, enjoying hot tea and cake while working on some writing.

Our flight was delayed, several times and it wasn’t before midnight until we finally boarded. Tim, bless his sleepyheadedness, managed to doze off before we were out of San Francisco. I, on the other hand, didn’t sleep a blink. I take after my mother’s side of the family when it comes to sleeping. I cannot for the life of me fall asleep anywhere that is not a bed or a very, very comfortable couch. My father’s side, however, can even fall asleep while waiting for the traffic light to turn green (true story). By the time we landed in Miami and had our luggage in the boot of the car, I was counting down the seconds to when my head would hit my pillow. Tim, my poor hard working Tim, had to head off to work immediately, with only enough time to spare for a shower.

Our trip to Baghdad by the Bay was short but extremely pleasant. San Francisco is definitely a city I would go back to and for anyone visiting/living in the States, it should be on top of their “To See List”. I can easily say if we were to live in America long term, San Fran would be the place in which we’d settle down. Tim was so inspired by their short daytrips to Google and LinkedIn that moving to this side of America some time in the future may not seem too farfetched. So Google, Apple, Facebook, if you're looking for a PR manager, I may know someone...