Monday, January 16, 2006

Whirlwind of a Weekend..

..and a long winded post to recapture it!

You ever just want to get up and go somewhere? Take a weekend trip and just drive out to the country, to the beach, or to the mountains.. maybe for something in particular or just for the helluvit. I did something similar this past weekend. It wasn't too spur-of-the-moment, but it was better than nuthing.

It's kinda sucky having a birthday so close to Christmas. I'm still enjoying my sugar and alcohol and family induced high, so it's hard to build up again so quickly to enjoy my birthday when I haven't even come down yet. Yes, you heard me correctly, this weekend was my birthday. So there was a reason behind going away for the weekend. In addition, my sister works for a hotel chain and gets a room free for 2 nights between November and the end of January. She called me up one day at work when I had just gotten back from Michigan and said, "Let's go somewhere for our birthday. Start looking for places." I checked out Orbitz and selected DCA (airport code here) and every freakin city I could think of. Boston, NYC and Vegas were first to come to mind. No hotels were available in Boston or NYC and Vegas flights were expensive. I wasn't in the mood for Florida, San Diego had no rooms, and I was a little iffy on the status of New Orleans. I've had a hankering for Vancouver, but weather forecast looked dreary, and I wanted to get away from the dreary weather in DC. I'm not a skier, so a winter getaway wasn't an option, either. Finally, we settled on San Francisco - flights were decently priced, we could get a room at a hotel near the airport, there was a free shuttle, and we were about a mile from the BART. I was able to take off Friday from work (cough, cough.. sick day.. cough, cough) as was my sister, I emailed a former coworker of mine that was living/working out there, and solicited a bunch of friends for "things to do" while out there.

It was amazing flying over the mountains! We arrived mid afternoon on Friday and checked out our maps before heading into the city. We walked the mile or so to the BART (subway) and took it into the city for dinner. I had found a place online called Golden Era (that I couldn't stop calling "Golden Age" for some reason). It was vegetarian, reasonably priced, and close to a BART stop. We got a bit lost getting out of the subway, but found our way to the restaurant after walking through some very sketchy areas. The food was great as was the atmosphere. It was late in the evening for much to be open, so we just wandered around downtown a bit before heading back.

We got a bit of a late start Saturday, but made it in town in time to meet my friend/coworker up at Aquatic Park for lunch at Greens Restaurant. We were sitting right there at that window and had a view of the boats and the Golden Gate Bridge. I found out then that the restaurant we were at the night before was located in the "Tenderloin District". Obviously not a name worthy of being included in the maps, but I should've figured that out when there were massage parlors on most blocks and we were approached by homeless people asking for money a number of times. It's not like I haven't seen it in DC, but a helluva way to be introduced to the city on my first night. It was a great lunch and nice to catch up with her and she was able to drive us over to the bridge before heading on her way. I hadn't seen her in almost 2 years, so it was a nice visit. We walked on the bridge a bit and took a lot of pictures of the bridge and of Alcatraz. I always thought it was longer than the two miles across, so it looked really short, but still just as majestic. On the way back towards Fisherman's Wharf, my mom called me at exactly 3:12pm. We try to keep the tradition of my parents calling us individually at the times we were born so we can celebrate our *own* special time. It also give me the chance to gloat for a whole 23 minutes before she "ages up". Along the way back to the wharf, I found a $20 bill on the ground and we stopped at a Sports Basement and spent waaaay too much time there, but not too much money. It was a bit overwhelming.. and to think, we flew all this way to go shopping! Discounted stuff.. can't really beat it. Besides, my sister got me a fleece jacket (similar to this minus the hood)to make up for mine that she left at a bar back in October or so. Still doesn't count as a birthday present. Speaking of presents, when we left the store, my sister found a $20 bill along the bike path to match the $20 I found earlier. We were making our way to Ghiradelli Square for dinner - a fudge brownie sundae.

It rained off and on most of the day, but didn't dampen our spirits. My sister wanted to see Lombard Street, so we hiked.. and I mean HIKED the 6 or so blocks UP to it. From up top, it was a great view of the city and of the wharf and looked more beautiful under the full moon. We then walked down to Fisherman's Wharf to walk around a bit and maybe find a bite to eat. And I really wanted to see the sea lions out on Pier 39. It was dark out, but worth it! Didn't find any place interesting to eat, so we headed up to Tandoori Mahal, an Indian restaurant we saw earlier that morning. It was a cool hole-in-the-way type place that you wonder how it stays in business with sooo many other restaurants around. Seriously, there were restaurants of every cuisine everywhere you looked along Columbus, which was on the eastern edge of Chinatown. But I'm a sucker for vegetable samosas and Aloo Gobhi, so it was a good choice. It's a good thing we had our dessert earlier, too, because I was full! I would've thought walking around so much would've built an appetite. The serving was somewhat proportional, so it's not like I stuffed myself. Nonetheless, it was good food and a good birthday dinner. Ironically enough, the $40 we found between the two of us paid for the sundae and for dinner. A nice present from the birthday God's above.

We walked back to the BART stop and rode back out of the city. It was a long day and we walked about 6 or 7 miles that day. We were tired and didn't want to walk another mile from the stop near our hotel, so instead we got off at the airport and took the free shuttle back to the hotel. It was more expensive getting off there, but we didn't care at that point. We were tuckered out old ladies! A somewhat early night as we were to fly out the next morning.

After a light breakfast, pictures, and watching airplanes land and take off (I'm a sucker for watching that!!), we were off to the airport and back to good ol' DC. We definitely didn't see as much as we'd liked to, but that's all the more reason to go back another time.

I hope to take more trips like this sometime.. maybe I'll just stick to the mountains.. something local and a different kind of fun. I hope to have pictures posted soon on Snapfish and/or posted here.


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