Day 2: Japan Town and Golden Gate Park

*This post is about yesterday, Dec. 16th, 2014.*

Today was a walking day. We literally started from the heart of downtown towards Japan Town, passing through Haight Ashbury, and to Golden Gate Park towards the beach (Golden Gate Recreational Area) for a perfect sun set — all by foot. Needless to say, it was indeed tiring. But we have been sitting on chairs for the whole semester, and wanted to move around as much as we could during the trip. So instead, this was a great exercise for us!

With a sun beaming at us during the day, we slowly made our way to Japan Town. Walking in the down town San Francisco was exciting to me; you get to see many diversity of people in occupation and race. On top of that, I was more than glad to be in a warm weather. Gosh, this is perfect for winter. We went window shopping in the Japan Center, lured by all the good Japanese food and goods in the display. In the end, we didn’t buy anything, but ramen noodle from Yamada replaced all the guilt we felt.

Steep hills are the most recognizable landscape in San Francisco. I knew it, yes, I knew it through researches. But. I did not expect it in such a steep angle! I thought I was going to roll down the infinite hill if I trip over a stone!! The houses on the streets towards Haigh Ashbury were gorgeous though. Each of them occupied very small portion of a land, and built very narrow, but the intricate design on them were enough to state their history within. The colors were also an additional layer to that. My favorite color palette was purple and gold.

Haigh Ashbury itself was very interesting. Cultures were inter-mixed, and many vintage fashion shops were opened on the street. To me, it was a fun street to walk on.

We then went straight to the Golden Gate Park. Being in a city and surrounded by series of tall office buildings always tires me out so much during the semester. It’s great to be in a city, but with a strong countryside childhood, I often times eager for nature. As I walked through the park I realized that it had everything that I needed. Trees, hills, sport recreations, grass, playground, people…just by walking down the path, I was able to refresh my mind and enjoy the moment. And birds! They were so cute!

I think one mistake we made was not researching enough about the park. It’s been stated in the beginning of this post, but we underestimated its size. For those of you who knows about the park, I’m pretty sure the issue is very clear. For those with no experience, here is a hint: the park is 1,017 acres.

So. We were doomed to walk through more than 50 blocks. And by the time we realized this, it was already half-way through the park. Either way, there was no choice but to move forward. I think this actually brought us to reconnect with nature more though. We were feeling the fresh air, observing our surroundings much carefully, and recording new findings (indeed, we found so many mushrooms in there). All is all, a great time.

By the time we reached the beach, the sun was covered by clouds. We missed the sunset, the air was getting chilly, sprinkle of rain was about to start…everything was about to go out of luck when we saw the immense Pacific Ocean in front of us. Ocean is one of the other elements that we have been missing from the city life, and especially in Columbus, where the nearest water is pretty much the lake Michigan, it was a Christmas present. The smell of the sea in the air and the sound of waves coming and withdrawing, while people strides the beach with the loved ones, was a perfect composition for today’s finale. The muscle aches were gone in an instant, and we stood there for at least 30 mins.

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It’s amazing how close nature is in San Francisco. The down town is full of energy, with rushing traffic and busily filled streets. On the other hand, the quietness in the park transports one into a completely different location. I love it so much.

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