Wednesday, 23 October 2013

We interrupt the regularly scheduled broadcast...

As promised, I have now created my YouTube channel and even uploaded the first (insanely awkward) video.

Which means, you can go subscribe (if you want), or watch the video to see how fucking weird I am.

Oh, and, happy birthday to me!

I'll have a few more San Francisco posts, as well as one about my birthday (and other things) in the near future.
Love and kisses!

Friday, 18 October 2013

San Francisco-Ghirardelli Square and the Exploratorium!

We actually went to Ghirardhelli after we went to the aquarium, but that post was super long, and full of awesome pictures, and I was a little worried about loading time for all the graphics and stuff.
San Francisco is home to more than one chocolate factory-besides TCHO, Ghirardelli is also there! Now, the actual factory has moved to Oakland ( I think?) but they still have the building and the store, and they also do tours! We missed the tour, because we got there kinda late in the day. We did make it for the store, and bought lots of yummy goodies! I have such a sweet tooth, its nuts!

It was also one of those nights that I mentioned before. You know, the ones where its SUPER nice day, and then, BAM, its cold and windy? It was totally one of those. Luckily, Ghirardelli has an outdoor cafe area, with those little space heaters. I got nice and cozy with one of them.
RIP that purse. I loved it so much
And now, to the Exploratorium! We made sure that we had LOTS of time to explore the entire museum thing. It wasn't too expensive, and there was a super short line up as well. They even have a student price, so be sure to bring your student ID!*

The Exploratorium is basically a bunch of super simple experiments that explain basic scientific principles. It goes from physics, biology, chemistry, light/energy and even some meteorology and geology (the stuff that I do). All of the experiments (with a few exceptions) are all interactive, so it enables a hands on learning experience, while still being super cool.

Being all sciency and shit. I'm really good with maps though. True story.

My biggest issue? The kids. Seriously, there are so many noisy brats running around, screaming and farting...its nuts. They DO, however, have an adults only time slot on Thursday nights. So, if you're like me and want to avoid those screaming little shit farts, go on a Thursday night.


*unless you are not a student, in which case, congrats on not being $50 grand in debt.

Monday, 14 October 2013

San Francisco-Cable cars, Aquarium and Shark feeding!

Did you guys know that San Francisco is one of the only places left in North America that still has the cable car? It is the city that is most famous for them, at any rate. It is one of those touristy attractions that everyone does. Even the locals take the cable car if occasion warrants it.

That said, because there are so many people taking the cable car, there is often a long line up to get on. We waited about 30 minutes before getting on ours. That said, we did hit the "peak" time at around 11:30am. We all like sleeping in a little, and had some food beforehand, making us leave a bit later than we'd expected.

Our trip ended at Fisherman's Wharf, which is another one of those huge touristy destinations. It is also the terminus stop of the cable car. When they are at the terminus stops, the cable cars have to be turned around by workers, and it creates a backup. That means that the cars are stopped for a while, leading to some fun photo ops!

We didn't stay long at the Fisherman's Wharf, but instead made our way to the Aquarium of the Bay! We had pre-booked tickets to do a behind the scenes tour and shark feeding, but wanted to go around the aquarium first. We did go to a lovely cafe for dessert, but, you'll have to wait for the glorious, mouthwatering photos of those until later, when I do my desserts of San Fran post.

Do you know which wrist is mine?
I think I've made it clear that I LOVE aquariums. I hate the whole captive fish thing, and the removal of sensitive species from their natural environments, but I also love science and the wonder of things that inhabit the most unknown area of the world-the oceans. The sheer amount of beauty in the creatures under the sea, and the weird turns through the path of evolution that some of these species have made is just mindbogglingly awesome.

The actual aquarium wasn't that spectacular. I've been to some of the world's biggest and best aquariums (such as Osaka Aquarium, Tokyo Aquarium, Busan aquarium, etc) so this one was rather small and limited in the species that were on display. It was still a nice aquarium, but I think I've been spoiled too often in the past, in terms of awesome aquariums.
The actual tour was pretty awesome though. We got to learn about the different feeding and breeding programs that some of the species undergo in the aquarium. We also got to see the decontamination areas for new incoming fish, as well as where the creatures go when they get sick. Finally, we got to feed all the different kinds of sharks! I didn't get any pictures of that, since I was wearing my gloves, and didn't want to get my camera covered in fish guts. But, this is right after the feeding.

How cool is that? If you're in the area, I highly suggest taking the tour. It was super informative and a lot of fun to feed the sharks!

Up next-ANOTHER chocolate factory, and the Exploratorium!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Anteela and the Chocolate Factory (and a boat cruise)

On the second day, we tried to go the Exploratorium, but it is apparently closed on Mondays (we did make it to the Exploratorium, just on a different day)

While we were at the Port 15 area, we decided to look around, to see what was there. It turned out that, right beside the Exploratorium was a chocolate factory! Now, I know that Ghiradelli chocolate is the main chocolate of San Francisco, but the place we found was called TCHO.

We went for a guided tour of the factory, which was super cool. We learned about how cacao beans were produced, and where they were produced. We also learned about the different "flavours" of chocolate, and then all about how it was produced. It was really informative! Afterwards we had a wonderful taste test of all the TCHO chocolates, and got to experience how to properly eat chocolate. Also, we got to see how the area in which the beans grow affects the way that the chocolate tastes.
Eating a chocolate with no added flavour, and having it taste like lemons was a super neat experience!

I bought more chocolate then I should have-it was just so damn good! You can order sample packages on their website, or you can go for your own tour, and get the taste testing yourself! I highly recommend the tour-fun, and informative.

After the chocolate factory, we wandered towards the famous Pier 39. We wanted to take a tour of Alcatraz, but, the tours were all sold out, weeks in advance, so we weren't able to go on the island. We were, however, able to take a boat cruise around the bay, and got to see the Rock that way! It was a super cheap tour-I think 10.00USD-and we were on the boat for nearly 40 minutes. It was great fun!

Also, if you're going to San Francisco and plan to spend any time outside, be sure to wear lots of layers! It can get really cold there, even in the summer, and having an extra cardigan can really help!

Monday, 7 October 2013

First day, Chinatown and food

When we arrived in San Francisco, we walked to our hotel to shower (the big downside of the train is the whole no shower thing) and meet up with our Texan friend who was meeting us in the Bay for the vacation.

We were staying at the Pontiac Hotel, which is in SOMA. We chose this place because it had free wifi and free continental breakfast. The WiFi was alright. I didn't get it on my phone, but I did get it with my tablet. The breakfast was great, and included toast (multiple varieties, including gluten free), hard boiled eggs, coffee, tea, fruit, scones, juice and LOADS of cereal. Unfortunately, there was some problems with our room, and we had to wait until 3:00 to check in. Now, I don't do well being dirty for extended periods of time. My hair just gets gross, or, rather I feel like it gets gross.

So, we met up with our friend, and did a bit of eating, before the hotel was ready. The breakfast was at Denny's, which we chose because we were INSANE hungry after the train ride and walk to the hotel, and it had free WiFi. The pizza was what we ordered to our hotel room while I showered and changed, before we went out adventuring.

Once I was all showered and dressed and stuff, we went out to the city to get the lay of the land, I suppose. We ended up in Chinatown, which apparently is the biggest in North America, but I feel like the one in Vancouver is bigger. Maybe I'm wrong though.

After Chinatown, we did some more wanderings and wound up at the Pier Ferry area, which was super cool. We also took all sorts of silly photos, since that is just the kind of people we are.

We called it a night pretty early, because we were all pretty tired from the travelling, and we had a big day ahead of us.

Love and kisses