Everyone should be allowed to love two cities, their own and San Francisco. My daughter Coley had never been further west than Colorado, and I was curious to see how she would embrace the city by the bay. We both arrived a bit antsy, 54 hours of being in a train car creates a need to stretch your legs, get some air and explore.
Absorbing my little girl's curiousity for this unique city, I tried to keep up with her for three packed days of culture, exercise and silliness. Insight to our future belongs to the curious. Those who aren't afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, laugh with it and turn it inside out.
Romping through San Francisco we: ate dumplings with unknown ingredients, took a boat ride around the bay, biked all through downtown, rolled down cable car tracks, hiked five miles through a redwood forest, devoured garlic fries at a Giants baseball game, danced at Union Square and learned some Kung Fu in Chinatown. Our bedtime pillows were met with the same enthusiasm as our morning coffees.
San Francisco's massive hills shouldn't be met with apprehension because Coley found a benefit among their steep ascents. "Daddy, this is cool, if you ever get tired of walking around San Francisco, you can always lean against it."
Top 5 Things Ted Learned About Travel On This Trip:
1. San Francisco has 43 named hills in downtown. As Coley says, "It's like Willy Wonka designed this town."
2. The Exploratorium is a collection of 475 participatory exhibits that mix science and art. Grown-ups act like kids and kids try to look hip and cool.
3. If a Chinatown restaurant has minimal English on the menu and zero tourists inside, eat there. You may not know what you're eating, but tell your kid "it's chicken" and they'll be fine.
4. Muir Woods is an easy half hour drive from downtown and a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Banana slug hunts in the forest can last for hours, so bring a watch.
5. Showing your kid a prison like Alcatraz is surprisingly effective in scaring them into law-abiding citizens. "Coley, the newer prisons hold underage drinkers, fast drivers, frequent texters and Katy Perry listeners."
I frequently get asked, "we're taking a family trip this year Ted, where should we go?" and I usually retort with questions about their likes and goals for a journey. But now I divert them to Coley for inspiration. "Oh my gosh, you have to go to San Francisco! There's so much cool stuff. There's a prison on an island, big dragons, sharks in the water, a MAC store, hills, cable cars, hippies, garlic fries and the whole town smells like Chinese food and bread." Put that in your brochure!
"Coley, try a bite of this crispy pork, it's really good." - Me in Chinatown
"Um, that's not crispy pork that is..." - Young waiter pointing to a fish tank full of things that resembled fish.
"Whoa! That's ok, don't tell me what it is. I'm fine. Coley, do you want a bite?" - Me
"That would be a NO, dad."- Coley
Additional Photos from this journey can be found by clicking here FlickrTravelWithTed