Tuesday, February 8, 2011

the tourist culture

There are few activities more 'local' than spending leisurely time with friends around the city neighborhood, stopping for coffee at a little cafe, lingering over a book at Dolores park on a nice day. Too few tourists allow themselves the luxury of just wandering the streets of San Francisco with no particular destination in mind. Of course, I can understand why tourists with shorter holidays don't have the down time to explore further than the immediate destinations like Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, Haight-Ashbury. It's a shame in some ways because it's places like cafe's, parks, pubs, beaches and bars that give tourists unique insights into local cultures.

I've always gushed about how much I love San Francisco, however I've never really taken the time to view the city through the eyes of a tourist. Is there a more iconic San Francisco sight than the Golden Gate Bridge? I don't think so. In my lifetime I've probably driven across this bridge hundreds of times, yet I've never taken a moment to stop and catch the views from it or simply walk across as people come to do from all over the world.

For the very first time, a San Francisco born native at the tender age of 26 took a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. I gave myself a "unique insight into the tourist culture" of San Francisco. And yeah...I understand what all the fuss is about, the GG Bridge is freakin awesome! I had a delightful day doing all the things tourists do. I snapped a bunch of photographs, looked over the edge but got freaked out so kept walking, checked out the gift shop and bought myself a key chain. I walked from my apartment in the Marina through Crissy field, across the Bridge and into Sausalito. All in all it was about 6 miles of walking, and I was beat by the end of it. I'm glad I finally took the plunge and walked across the bridge. Tourist or not, nothing beats that experience.

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