Our next day was spent completely in Oakland, which turns out not to be as frightening as per the rumor someone spread to the masses long ago. Actually, it’s quite beautiful. We wandered around many little streets, ducking in for food, shopping, or just admiring random culture/art. We had dinner and a movie at home with my aunts, which was such a needed change of pace after non-stop motion since January 10.
Sunday was our last chance to catch all of the spots we hadn’t been able to on Friday. We took the subway to the city and spent our day on what I think was absolutely our most touristy expedition yet.
We first spent hours walking in and out of all the shops in Chinatown. It was extremely hard not to waste the rest of our day there because not only was everything unimaginably cheap, but there were so many hilarious treasures to stumble upon. We stopped to get some desserts on our way out of the area, but I only got halfway through mine before I tossed it.
Due to construction, we had to walk up California Street, which felt like what I imagine it feels like to climb Mount Everest, to catch a cable car. We traveled the hills to Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. The former was boring and smelled great, the latter was crowded and smelled pretty awful. We found a haven in Boudin’s, a sourdough bakery/restaurant, before hopping back on the cable car to the subway station.
I think the whole experience in San Francisco can be summed up by our experience on the BART back into Oakland. A man came into our cable car, followed by his adorable sons, and announced that he was an unemployed father who had to live in a shelter with his boys. They were going to play music and would appreciate any donations so they could afford dinner.
They all sat down until we were out from under the bay. I watched his children, who didn’t seem too unkempt but did look a little weak for the wear. However, they seemed completely happy. They were giggling like crazy and were just happy to be with each other. They didn’t seem to mind the dire situation they were in. It seemed like, to them, just having each other was enough. At that point, I didn’t care if the whole thing was a con or dead serious, I started rifling through my purse for money. A moment later, the little family serenaded our subway car sweetly with a rendition of “In My Life” by The Beatles.
They brought together a ragtag group of people in a subway car. That’s what San Francisco does for all of the people who flock there.