Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sutro Bath

Address: next to Cliff House 1090 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco

Sutro Bath, opened in 1896, was the largest indoor swimming pool complex in the world. The complex utilized Pacific Ocean water to fill its pools. It burnt down in 1966 and was closed ever since. Its ruin is still around and becomes part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Sutro Bath in its heydays.

Sutro Bath today.

Another view of the Sutro Bath ruin. The hump of rock at the back is the seal rock where the sea lions at Pier 39 used to hang out before the 1989 earthquake.

A closer look at the ruin.

There is a tunnel at one side of the bath. It was used to pump seawater into the pools during low tide.

The end of the tunnel runs directly into the ocean.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Embarcadero

Went a different route for lunch on Friday. Didn't realize there are lots of cool buildings and sculpture along the Embarcadero close to where I work.

San Francisco was a river valley!

A building that shapes like a ship

Historical trams that the city bought from all over the world.

They service along the Embarcadero and some go down Market Street from Castro to Fisherman's Warf.

Old YMCA building. It's a hotel now.

A giant spider sculpture at Pier 14.

Cupid Span (aka I left my heart in San Francisco). Part of it is under renovation.

Hills Brothers Coffee building - a beautiful brick house - was built in the 1920's for the coffee company.

Now it is the home of Google San Francisco office, resturants, shops and human beings.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Berkeley Aquatic Park

Address: 80 Bolivar Drive, at the foot of Bancroft Way, Berkeley

As you ride on I-80 between Emeryville and Berkeley, you'll notice something like a lake along the freeway. After 10 years of living in its neighborhood, I just came to know that the "lake" is called Berkeley Aquatic Park. There is an I-80 Pedestrian/Bike bridge which spans across the I-80 freeway and links the Berkeley Aquatic Park with the EastShore Bay trail. Aquatic Park doesn't look appealing from the freeway but it's quite a tranquil place inside the park. The bike path inside the park is winding but flat. Perfect for me. We rode from Aquatic Park crossing I-80 via the ped/bike bridge to Emeryville then back to Aquatic Park and biked around the park. A total of about 16 miles.

Duckling swimming in the Aquatic Park with I-80 Pedestrian bridge as backdrop.

View of Aquatic Park from the I-80 Ped Bridge.

On I-80 Ped Bridge.

View of I-80 from the bridge.

Oracle building (used to be Siebel) at the end of the Eastshore bike path in Emeryville.

Emeryville waterfront with some wacky looking work of art.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Berkeley Pier

Address: at the very end of University Ave (towards the bay), Berkeley, CA

It's super hot in San Francisco today -- 97 degrees!!! It's almost unheard of in SF. Glad that I decided to work in the office instead of telecommuting from home otherwise I'll be like being baked in oven.

We took a break from the heat by walking down Berkeley Pier after dinner. The original Berkeley Pier is about 3000 3.5 miles long but most of it is broken and the remaining walkable section is about 3000 feet long. You'll be in the middle of the SF Bay when you hit the end of the of the pier. It offers great view of San Francisco. It's a great place for fishing too. I've seen people caught sting rays, crabs, catfish, flounder there.

Berkeley Pier with Golden Gate Bridge as back drop.

Walking down the pier.

Concrete table with water taps for people to clean their catch-of-the-day.

History of Berkeley Pier

View of eastern span of SF-Oakland Bay Bridge, Yerba Buena Island and San Francisco from Berkeley Pier.

Sun Set

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ferry Building

Took a stroll down to Ferry Building during lunch today. Ferry Building used to be the embarkation point for Port of San Francisco. The building was closed for restoration for years and was reopened in 2004 with upscale offices and a gourmet market place. It also hosts farmers market on certain days of the week.

Ferry Building Clock Tower.

Inside Ferry Building. Overlooking Market Place from second floor.

Mosaic tile floor in the form of State of California seal.

Monday, May 12, 2008

One Market

Address: 1 Market Street, San Francisco

I have been having lunch at One Market food court for the last 4 years but had never noticed how neat its mezzanine look until today.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Outlet Shopping

I love to shop and even more so to shop for bargain. Like getting Coach bag regularly priced at $295.00 for $99.00; Michael Kors jacket regularly priced at $139 for $35.00; Prada sunglasses regularly priced at $250 for $35.00. I am talking about authentic brandname stuff here. Where do I find these great bargain? . . . Outlet stores of course.

Outlet stores come in many forms. I frequent Loehmann's and Nordstrom rack 'cos they're in the city and more convenient for me. Then there is the Great Mall of the Bay Area which is located in Milpitas. Great Mall is a covered mall with both outlet and regular stores. It will take me days to go through all the stores in that mall.

Now let's talk about the "offical" outlet malls. There are 4 of them around San Francisco: Napa, Petaluma, Vacaville and Gilroy. My favorite one is Petaluma. It's a good size for me to finish it in a day but still can cover most of my favorite stores. If you like Coach's signature styles then this is the one you should go to as it has more selection of Coach's signature bags at outlet prices. In addition, it's not located along major freeway or tourist attraction like the other 3 so it's not as crowded on weekends.

Tips for getting best of the best bargain at outlet mall:

1. Join their VIP program. Signup VIP membership at Loehmann's and Premium Outlets. You'll get e-mail regarding additional discount. You can also print out additional discount coupons on their sites. Do that the night before you go to the mall. Many of these discounts can be applied to sale items.

2. Plan ahead. You won't be able cover all the stores.

3. Go during long weekends. Outlet malls usually have sidewalk sale or offer additional discount on long weekends. Try to avoid Thanksgiving weekend though 'cos it'll be super packed without much additional discount (unless you line up hours before midnight madness starts in freezing cold temperature, you may be lucky to get something with good discount to justify your wait).

4. Go on weekdays if possible. You'll feel that you have the mall all by yourself and no need to wait for fitting rooms.

5. Last but not least. Know your limit. Buy something something that you like and fit you. If you can't find anything that day, so be it. Treat it as a workout exercise instead.

Happy shopping!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Guess what this is? . . . .
It's San Francisco County Jail! What a cool looking place for criminals.

What do Alcatraz and San Quentin State Prison have in common?

They are prisons with good views of the SF Bay. Alcatraz is situated in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Inmates could see the vibrant of SF but could not reach it. Nowadays Alcatraz is one of the major SF tourist attraction while San Quentin remains a prison.

Alcatraz Island

View of San Francisco from a small window inside of the cellhouse which inmates passed by daily.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mosaic Stairway

Finally found this mosaic staircase at 16th and Moraga Street in San Francisco. It truly is a stunning piece of art!! It's done by people living in that neighborhood to beautify the neighborhood. Each step is decorated with colorful tiles. It was very cold that evening when we visited so didn't take many pictures. I'll take more pictures detailing the artwork next time we go there. You can read more about the history of this staircase at

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bay Bridge

Grand opening of my blog . . .

I love the weather and cultural diversity in San Francisco. I don't live in the city but work there. I get to see the beautiful city skyline almost everyday as I cross the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. I do casual carpool to get a free ride to the city. It's quite interesting. Just wait in line at a designated spot and someone will pick you up. So far it seems to be quite safe and people are really friendly. We usually don't talk inside the car. The benefit for carpooling is to save money and time. It could get very congested during rush hour and the fare to cross the bridge is $4.00. With carpool (3 people minimum in a car), you get to take the HOV lane and no need to pay $4.00. So far, the passengers don't need to pay a single dime. But with gas prices skyrocketing, I've heard that drivers may start asking passengers to chip in gas money......

Eastern span of the Bay Bridge - will be replaced by a new one in 2013 - connects Oakland to Yerba Buena Island.

Western span of the Bay Bridge - Part of it fell down during the 1989 earthquake - connects San Francisco to Yerba Buena Island.

View from the bridge: Ferry Buiding at Pier 1 (Port of San Francisco) with Coit Tower as the backdrop.

Another veiw from the bridge: The "Cupid's Span" sculpture and Rincon park.