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San Francisco photos


U.S.A. facts & history in brief        U.S.A. Map

San Francisco is one of the larger city at the tip of a 50 km (30 miles) peninsula in Northern California, with the Pacific Ocean on the western side and the San Francisco Bay to the north and east.
In 1579, Sir Francis Drake landed about 60 km (35 miles) north of San Francisco, at Point Reyes, and claimed it for Queen Elizabeth, sailing past and missing the large San Francisco Bay.
In 1775, Juan Manuel de Ayala became the first European to enter the Golden Gate.
In 1776 Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, built a fort above the Golden Gate and Mission Dolores.
A small hamlet called Yerba Buena was the first permanent settlement at today's modern San Francisco site.
In 1847 Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco, and gold was found soon in the Sierra Nevada mountains to the east.
The city's population rapidly grew from 500 to 25,000 within a year.
In 1850, California became the 31st state in the union, and had more than 500 saloons and 20 theatres to cater for the miners.
The gold rush and silver rushes came and went, but San Francisco maintained its development, due mainly to the importance of its port and financial centre.
San Francisco experiences many severe earthquakes.
The city held the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. During the Great Depression the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridges were built.
During WWII, large shipyards were built in the Bay Area and was also used for the launching of many large scale military operations in the Pacific, helping the local economy.
San Francisco was the home of 'free spirit': from the very early days (Was known as the Barbary Coast at times), till the more recent poets' and jazz musician's movements, the Hippies, Beat Generation, flower power, Critical Mass, direct action, bike rides, and gay pride.
A homosexual revolution followed in the 1970s.
Rainbow banners and lavender triangles are still common today around Castro and Folsom St. Fairs and the annual Gay & Lesbian Freedom Day parade.
On October 17, 1989, San Francisco's second 'Big One' earthquake struck and was measured at 7.1 on the Richter scale.
Sixty-seven people died.
Today the city is at the cutting edge of the 'the New Media boom', born in Silicon Valley but nurtured in San Francisco.
The Bay Area is experiencing another period of urban renewal, with a building boom that is sprucing up neighbourhoods and historic buildings across the region.
Some of the main attractions of the city are: The Downtown where streets often climb or drop at ridiculously steep gradients. It makes parking hazardous, breeds bicycle messengers of superhuman strength and provides a hairy setting for car chase scenes in movies.
Union Square is downtown's tourist centre, with its Cable cars on the west side of the square, and SoMa ('South of Market St.'), the Financial District, and the Embarcadero, to mention only a few.
Chinatown, a few blocks north of Union Square is Chinatown, is one of its most colourful neighbourhoods.
North Beach between Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf with its strip joints, bars, cafes and restaurants that was once the city's Italian quarter and the Coit Tower, one of the city's most famous landmarks.
Fisherman's Wharf and its colony of sea lions is another very popular spot with tourists.
Haight-Ashbury is southwest of downtown, home of flower power in the late 1960s, and southeast is Castro, the gay centre of San Francisco.
Golden Gate Park stretches almost halfway across the peninsula, with its gardens, flower conservatory and the beautiful Japanese tea garden, lakes where rowboats, pedal boats and motor boats can be rented, horse riding, archery, softball, golf, lawn bowling.
San Francisco's bay is spanned by bridges, surrounded by cities and hills, dotted with sails ferries.
The 3 km ( 2 miles) long famous Golden Gate Bridge is another favourite tourist attraction.
The bay's other major attractions is the also famed Alcatraz Island, where Al Capone, 'Machine Gun' Kelly and Robert Stroud, the 'birdman of Alcatraz,' were residents.
North of Alcatraz, Angel Island was an internment camp during WWII.
A few of the many events that are held in the city or surrounds are the Chinese New Year, which is celebrated in Chinatown in the late January or early February in the colourful Chinese tradition.
The Cherry Blossom Festival, held in late April, is celebrated in Japantown with martial arts demos, tea ceremonies and other Japanese events.
The International Film Festival,
the Bay to Breakers run, and the
Folsom St. Fair, the sexiest S&M street fair in the city, to mention a few.
Population about 7 million in the San Francisco Metropolitan Area.
Area 127 sq km (49 sq miles)

On the morning of our arrival in San Francisco I was very lucky.
Hui Chin asked a few questions from the Information Kiosk at the Airport, but forgot to ask something, so I went to ask a few more question.
As it turned out a kindly Russian lady helped me and she was in an exceptionally kind and helpful person.
She told us to where and how to catch 292 'MUNI' public bus outside the Airport, where to get off and how to get to the Hotel Aida on Market Street.
The Hotel was very close to everything with a good tram service just outside of the door.
The kind lady also made our reservation and negotiated a very acceptable deal for us as well.
As I said before, the lady went much further than many other 'information personnel' we dealt with before.
Thank you very much kind lady, if you happen to read this.
Among all the doing, seeing and experiencing just about all that San Francisco got to offer, including visiting Alcatraz Island was our trip over the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Bus driver was a bit stroppy, but many passengers on the bus realised that we were visitors and wanted to cross the Bridge just for the sake of it and helped us by telling us how much the fare was, where to get off and where to catch another bus back to the last stop before the Bridge, so we can walk across it.
One amazing thing was that it was very overcast weather all day in the city, but, and we did get pre-warned by those kind passengers, there was brilliant sunshine across the bridge.
The Bridge is very windy and seemed very long too, but Hui Chin and I did walk over it, admiring the scenery all around.
We used the cable cars, walked around a lot including going down Lombard Street (One of the World's crookedest streets) along and up the other end to the Coit Tower and back to our hotel trough Chinatown, where we spent a lot of time in hunting for bargains and food.
Great place.
I also let myself be 'fast talked' into a digital video camera, that takes still pictures and records music.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.


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