Going Solo in San Francisco

I was in San Francsico recently for a quick work trip. By quick, I mean I was basically in and out all within 48 hours! However, I carved out as much time as I could to revisit some of the places I’ve been missing.

It’s weird to think that the last time I was there was five years ago. With my entire family. And now my family is scattered across the globe. It makes me pine for more family roadtrips like this, and I wonder how many more I’ll be able to have. The differences in the two trips only emphasized how much I miss my family.

View from my hotel

In 2014, my family stayed outside of San Francisco since it was so pricey to stay inside the city itself. This time around, my company paid for me to stay in the China Basin right by the water. While the hotel and neighbourhood was nice, I couldn’t help but miss the motels that my family and I would frequent when we were on a budget.

Visiting Fisherman’s Wharf was the first thing I did after I landed and dropped off my bags. It was already 8PM by the time I could head out from my hotel, but the Uber ride was quick. My first stop: grab some food at In-N-Out. The last time I had it was also when I was in San Francisco, and it was in the exact same In-n-Out location too. I don’t recall loving it, and I still didn’t love it this time around. But it was something I was craving to have again!

Afterwards, I walked to the beach area across from Ghiradelli’s. I haven’t been here in years, but I knew I’d find that parking lot. My family and I took a lot of photos there when we were last in SF. And so I took a bit of time to take some photos of the sights again. I tried to remember which parking spot our car occupied, and it was strange how the parking lot felt so much smaller than I remembered. But the sights of the Golden Gate Bridge remained the same and I’m thankful for some constant.

Another area in Fisherman’s Wharf that I throughly enjoyed with my family was the Ripley’s museum. Sure, most of the Wharf is lined with tourist traps, and likely Ripley’s was another one of them. But having spent some hours of geniune fun with my family there, it brought back a wave of nostalgia seeing the sign. I even remember the playful cashier at the front of the museum while we were there—he had photobombed numerous photos while we were in the museum lobby and we loved it!

I remember Chinatown being one of my favourite places in San Francisco. And I have yet to find another Chinatown that I admired so much. It was also a place both my parents loved visiting that we went twice during our last family trip there. However, I was unable to make a stop there this time because between work and having to travel back to Montreal, I really did not have many hours to myself. Instead, as I ran an errand in the Mission district, I took my opportunity to check out that area instead.

Peking duck pizza!

I’ve never been, but was told by a friend that this area was known for the Latino community and I’d be bound to find good Mexican food there. However, he also suggested a pizza place that I found to be pretty special: it was owned and operated by the deaf! Entering Mozzeria, I briefly forgot that fact and was confused when the waitress greeted me with a friendly wave instead of a “hi”, but I quickly oriented myself again. The whole process was super easy and I used a combination of pointing at the menu and letting them read my lips to make my orders. The Peking duck pizza was very yummy, and it did remind me of the Bejing-based dish. I also vowed to have some bubble tea while I was in SF and in the end settled for Boba Guys. Man, their strawberry matcha latte was really something else!

I appreciate short work trips, because then I can get back and not feel stressed from missing anything at work. However, travelling alone really sucks. Some people like it—I’ve had friends who purposely organize solo trips for themselves to explore new countries. And all the more power to them! But for me, so many of the trips I’ve taken are surrounding by family and friends that hopping on a plane alone always makes me feel a tinge of sadness.

I look back and laugh, because in my last San Francisco blog post, my ending lines were: I wonder when I’ll have another family trip. This trip reminded so much of what it was like to be on holiday with my family, especially since it was a road trip. The past few family vacations always lacked a member or two — my parents and sister went to Vegas without me; my mom, sister and I went to Hong Kong/Japan sans my dad. You get the story. But family time really is the best 🙂

This still rings as true as ever. And I really do hope that my family will be able to get our busy lives together to take some time off collectively in the near future!


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