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San Francisco - Hoggers and Walkers delight
Sep 24, 2007 03:11 PM 3419 Views


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It's a beautiful and compact city with a some far flung suburbs. Most of the commercial district is around Union Square – offices, shopping et al. So if one is traveling there on work, it's likely to be in that area, except probably for the IT folk.  It's important to remember that parking space in the city being severely limited, cabs and rental cars can be impossibly expensive. It is much more convenient and cost effective to just pick accommodation within walking distance of where you need to go for work – even if the accommodation costs are slightly higher than a hotel further off. It's a lovely city to walk around in, with the weather almost always very pleasant. If one is a "walker" you could even do all the "sights" on foot like I did on the one Sunday that I was free, of the two weeks that I spent there.

It's said to be just 7 miles by 7 miles in length and breadth. Including stopping to get several coffees, lunch and dinner and a one hour sightseeing boat ride from Fisherman's Wharf – all it took me was just 8 hours of walking around to see it all. That is except for Napa Valley for wine tasting and Alcatraz prison which might each take a whole day to do the full tour; both of which I could not get a break from work to go across and see. Promised myself to do that next time I get there and keeping my fingers crossed.

The other thing to remember is that the hotels there are not great on room service. Most hotels in the US do not have 24 hours room service in any case – SF is no exception. To top that most restaurants and diners in the city shut fairly early by Indian standards – by about 8.30 pm or so – unlike New York or LA that buzz through the wee hours. That is except for a few in lanes that only locals can guide you to. Room service in most hotels too shut by 10 pm. So if you don't want to go hungry, make sure you reconcile yourself to an early dinner OR get the locals to guide you.

Do not go by the sunny California bit. North California where SF is located can get quite chilly – especially in the early morning and after sun down almost round the year, except for high summer months between July – September. Remember to carry at least a jacket that will carry your through 5 – 6 degrees Celsius at all other times and something to keep away the rain.

SF is literally hoggers paradise. So notwithstanding which kind of cuisine from any part of the world pleases you – there is something for everyone. I would personally recommend that you don't miss the Mexican, Sushi and Italian food. One is spoilt for choice for restaurants offering these cuisines at really "good" prices – even for the converting Indian mind that has the constant dollar to rupees ticker on. The other have-to-do-it eating experience is the street side clam chowder around Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli's ice cream. There are more homeless people and drug addicts here probably that any other part of the US – primarily due to the relatively more lenient laws in California related to them than in other states.

They could be a bit scary at times when they pop right into your face trying to get a dollar or even a cigarette out of you. Also there are certain parts of the city that there is a higher concentration of them and best kept away from when it's dark. Make sure you don't walk around in lonely areas especially after dark – unless the locals have confirmed that the particular area is "safe".

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