on August 16, 2006
One of the not to miss experiences in San Francisco is Chinatown. San Francisco has one of the largest Chinatown areas in the United States of America. The main street in Chinatown is Grant Street.We took the cable line to the Chinatown stop and walked into the area. It was like stepping into another world. There were Asian groceries on several corners. I personally would have no need to purchase some of their wares like dried seahorses, but they were really neat to see. We strolled through numerous stores and shops.Some stores were basically just touristy spots, but if you look closely you can find some really neat places. One store that we stopped in sold vases with bamboo hand woven over them. Upon talking to the merchant we learned that one of the women in the shop made those vases and they were unique to the shop. She and her family refuse to teach the technique to anyone outside of their family.In addition to the stores, we discovered the site of one of America's oldest Chinese Temples. It was on the third floor of one of the buildings. This was an amazing find. When we walked in there were red and gold ornaments everywhere. The incense was burning and some of the local people were bringing their fruit offerings. I truly felt like I had stepped into another world.Another hidden find is the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company. This shop is located down a tiny alley in the middle of Chinatown. At this site you can watch as people make the fortune cookies. It was neat seeing them place each fortune by hand into the cookie. They also offered us samples that were still hot from the machines that make the cookies. It was really a neat find and cost me only the donation required for the pictures.Basically, if you are wanting an experience a little different than a typical fun in the sun day in San Francisco check out their Chinatown. If we had to do this over again, the only change we would do is allot more time for it. We spent about 4 hours there, but could have easily spent more.
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