Ahh... What can I say? Everything about San Francisco is so atypical. A windy city built on crazy slopes of mountains that drop down to the Pacific must be pretty rare in itself. Add to that, the incredible variety of its residents. It doesn't seem like an American city in any respect. It's just some collage of cultures, like someone went crazy with scissors and an atlas. I heard from my hosts that no Walmart, Target or Shaw's and their ilk of supermarket chains were allowed within the city limits. Suits the city. Anything aimed for the mass markets would stick out like a sore thumb here.
There are so many images of the city that spring to mind all at once. The buzz of the street performers and their audiences in Fisherman's wharf, the roaring Harleys that wound their way up the crooked streets, the noisy trams clattering their way across town packed with eager tourists like me hanging on and the sobering sight of the massive span of the Golden Gate Bridge and that of the restless ocean beating away at the bridge's base to name a few. The curiously Chinese China Town of San Francisco was another strange addition to the sights and sounds of the city. Then there were the sea lions at Pier 39 oinking away, groaning, burping and bumping each other off the buoys much to the excitement of their tourist spectators. A guide told me that these things were the third biggest tourist attraction in the USA after the two Disneylands. Consider that, the first two multi million dollar investments on a man's imagination brought to life while the third nature's clowns just being themselves. I can't really say what was so captivating about these weird looking and funny sounding creatures but they were just so naturally entertaining.
The picture postcard houses and the towering buildings that looked so out of place on streets which were at implausible angles and curves made the city look like some abandoned experiment. The experiment that was successful in so far as to make it all it stick together but no one seems to know what it's original intention was! All I can say, it's a wonderful, weird city and I am counting on some more visits to it in the future.