on June 8, 2009
San Francisco was our first port of call. It is a great city with many fun things do. Our cruise ship was scheduled to be docked at Pier 39 for two days. Having visited San Francisco in the past, my wife and I had already done many of the attractions that I feel first-time visitors should not miss such as: Alcatraz, Muir Woods, Sausalito, Chinatown, and a city tour. As much as we enjoyed them the first time, we did not want to pay to do these things again. Therefore, during our first day in port, we wandered around Fisherman's Wharf. Fisherman's Wharf has been a part of the city's seafood industry since the Gold Rush days. Today, it also has many souvenir shops, stores, and restaurants. There are also some very good street performers to keep visitors entertained. Be sure to look and listen for the noisy sea lions that congregate on platforms in the water. It's fun to watch them bark at each other as they jockey for the best lounging spot.There is a visitors' booth in the middle of Pier 39 and at least one activity warehouse on Jefferson Street where visitors can get help with booking tours and activities in and around San Francisco. Discounts coupons to many of the attractions can be found online at BayCityGuide.com.Walking west from Pier 39 on Jefferson Street, you'll encounter more shops, restaurants, hotels, and small quirky museums. Just make sure you watch out for the Bushman during your walk. The Bushman is a creative pan handler that pops out of a fake bush on the sidewalk and yells to startle an unsuspecting passerby. This is then followed by laughter and applause of bystanders that are already hip to the game. People put tips in the Bushman's cup and wait for him to startle the next unsuspecting victim. The Bushman seems to be a local legend. I saw people pose for photos with him. I even saw a guy wearing a T-Shirt with the words 'The Bushman scared the @#$% out of me!'We finished off our wandering that day at a Walgreens convenience store where we bought a few odds and ends. I took a walk down the snack aisle as I love to do when I'm in a different city. Because of its large Chinese population, San Francisco has some really interesting snacks such as dried squid and shrimp chips. I ended up buying a bag of the shrimp chips. These puffy crisps had a slight shrimp flavor. I munched on them in my ship cabin throughout the rest of the week.Finally, I recommend visitors to San Francisco always have a jacket handy even if it is warm out. The temperature seems to drop drastically in late afternoon. Those who are unprepared will probably end up buying a souvenir San Francisco sweatshirt or jacket.
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