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San Francisco

It's my first trip to United States (or to any foreign country for that matter) and I was kinda excited to be here. Having spent the first three weekends in my hotel room and haven't got a chance to take out my Nikon, I was eagerly waiting for an outing.

So, we planned a trip to San Francisco, which is close to San Jose and can be reachable by public commute. Including myself, there were five guys in the group. Our main aim was to go to Golden gate bridge (and of course, to take lots and lots of photos!).

On a sunny Saturday morning, as decided to start at 7:30, we started at 9. I didn't have any jacket with me and I was getting severe warnings from folks who had already visited SFO that I'm going to freeze to an ice. At first I didn't believe any of those warnings (typical software engineer who ignores all the warnings!) mainly because the sun was out and shining like a'¦ sun (duh!) in San Jose and I hoped even SFO would be having same climate.

We went to the Karina rail station and boarded the Mountain View train. From there our plan was to catch the Cal train to SFO. It took almost an hour to reach Mountain view and we had around 20 minutes of waiting time before the Cal train comes. It was 10 in the morning but still it felt like the mid day. Who cares to wear jacket in this heat?

mountain view Mountain view station

At 10.20, the Cal train reached mountain view. We got into it and went to the upper deck of it. Train wasn't crowded at all. All this time, I was just wondering again and again at how well the public commute system works well. There was automated ticket vending machines, clean platforms, trains reaching the station at correct time, patient driver who waits till the last passenger get in/out of the train, prompt station name announcements and the list goes on..

While you were reading the above paragraph, our Cal train reached San Francisco. When we stepped out of the Cal train in SFO, it was 11:30 am. We walked out of the train station and directly opposite to the station there were several buses waiting. We got into one after making sure that the bus goes to Pier 39.

Unfortunately, the bus we took was not taking the direct route to Pier 39. It was going around almost all the places in SFO and we got a cheap city tour for 2 bucks. On the way, we saw a group of old men, riding the bicycles in the middle of the road - naked! And, I said to myself 'WELCOME to AMERICA!'.

After an hour or so, we finally reached our spot - Pier 39. It's the host of several tourist attractions, including an aquarium, ferry ride, wax museum and sea food hotels.

pier 39 Entering Pier 39

After reaching Pier 39, I was slightly started to feel the chill, but still I was hopeful that I wouldn't need a jacket. We decided to go in a ferry that takes us below the Golden gate bridge and around the Alcatraz island (remember The Rock) for $25. We bought the tickets and had to wait for thirty minutes before the ferry starts. And my Nikon didn't fail to capture the surroundings in the mean time.

boats at Pier 39

And then started the ferry ride. The moment we left the shore, the climate immediately turned from mild cold to 'Ëœdamn, it's cold!'. For the first time, I felt I should have carried a jacket.

Anyway, the ferry ride was so awesome. When we reached the bottom of Golden Gate bridge, everyone on the ferry were shivering like a dunkards but never missed to photograph the gigantic structure in front of them.

Golden gate surrounded by the fog

In the ferry they were narrating the history of San Francisco and the mystery of the Alcatraz prison. I hardly get to listen to that, thanks to the fog and the noise out there. Anyway, we returned back to shore after an hour of ferry ride.

[]: https://veerasundar.com/img/2011/10/golden-gate.jpg

Foggie skylines of San Francisco

Our next plan was to take the city tour in a double decker bus. This tour would take us around the streets of San Francisco till the Golden Gate bridge and will return to Pier 39.

Taking a bus ride in San Francisco is exciting mainly because of roads of SFO. Wanna know why? Just look below and you'll understand.

roads in San Francisco

Finally we reached the Golden gate bridge (again) and accomplished our mission by posing for a group photo (thanks to the foreigner who took this one!)

Mission accomplished