Sunday, August 21, 2011

Save me, San Francisco (Part 1)

As I alluded to in my last post, following Katie and Alex's wedding, my friends Rachel and Karen and I tacked a few extra days onto our California visit so we could explore San Francisco.  And, as I already mentioned, I flew out Thursday evening by myself to meet up with Rachel at the La Quinta in Millbrae, CA early Friday morning.  Rachel flew out earlier in the day and checked into the La Quinta around 11:00 PM.  I joined her 2.5 hours later, shortly after 1:30 AM.  I woke her up when I entered the room, we chatted for maybe five minutes, and then both went to sleep.  We woke up Friday morning, had breakfast, looked around the grounds of the hotel, and planned to take the hotel shuttle back to SFO to meet Karen (her flight arrived at 11:24 AM) so we could all take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to Dublin together.

On my first flight of the evening (SCE to IAD).

The pool area of the La Quinta.

The grounds were actually very pretty.

Looking out to the main road in Millbrae.

I would stay at another La Quinta, for sure...I was pretty impressed!
As soon as Karen landed and retrieved her bags, we made our way to the Air Train which would take us out to the BART station.  

Karen was excited to have arrived!

Rachel was all smiles!

And well, yeah...I was pretty excited, too!
We took the BART from SFO to the Balboa Park station so we could transfer to the line that would take us to the Dublin station.  

"There's, like, a very large pigeon or a small chicken roosting up there." - Karen

In the U.S., we "watch" the gap.  In the U.K., they "mind" it.
Regardless, I don't see what's so special about that gap...  ;)

The Dublin line took us through Oakland and past the Oakland Coliseum... 

...or the Coliseum, as it would seem.
Upon arrival to the Dublin/Pleasanton Station, we made our way out to Dublin Blvd.  Once on Dublin Blvd., it should have been a short one block walk to the left and then another left on Regional Street to our hotel.  Should have been.  Turns out, when we were approaching the West Dublin Station and Karen said, "I think this is our stop," we should have listened.  But I, admittedly, had not put much preparation and planning into the trip (which may shock many of you, knowing how OCD I typically am) and Rachel seemed pretty confident that we should get off at the end of the line station, so we stayed on.  Consequently, when we walked one block to the left once we were on Dublin Blvd., we didn't reach Regional Street.  But we did reach Arlen Ness Motorcycles!

If we hadn't each been schleping along Dublin Blvd. dragging 50 lb.+ suitcases, I would have LOVED to go inside and check out all of the bikes.  But we were dragging said suitcases, it was hot, and we were clearly much further away from our hotel than two blocks.  I said to the girls, "We need to call a cab," and no sooner did I say this when a mini-van cab pulled up to the light.  We motioned for him, he pulled over, we told him where we needed to go, he said he'd be back (he was going to turn around), and told us to cross the street to meet him going the other direction.  Once we finally arrived at the Holiday Inn, we checked in, claimed our beds, and went to grab a bite to eat.

Grabbing a bite to eat proved to be another challenge!  The restaurant at the hotel didn't open until 5 PM.  (It was 3 PM.)  The Outback Steakhouse next door didn't open until 4 PM.  And the Chinese restaurant next to Outback was open, but wanted $8 for a bowl of won-ton soup!  We wound up at the Starbucks on the corner, which was really appropriate since Starbucks is one of Katie's favorite places!  From Starbucks, we walked to the shopping center across the street where there was a Marshall's, a Ross, and a DSW.  Karen found a lovely necklace and earrings to wear to the wedding and I got a super cute pair of yellow flats to wear with jeans. 

That evening, my friend Timothy (who lives in nearby Oakland) came to pick us up to take us to the movies.  Timothy and I have been friends since my/our T. Rowe Price days, but haven't seen each other in over seven years.  We've sustained our friendship over the years through our mutual love of all things Harry Potter.  We've kept in touch via e-mail, sending each other trailers and articles about the new movies and speculating on plots before the releases of the last few books.  So you can probably guess what Timothy and I opted to see that night.  That's right...Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.  In IMAX 3-D, no less!!!  It was AMAZING and totally worth the $19.00 ticket.  (Eek!)  Karen and Rachel saw "The Help," which they both really enjoyed.  We started our evening out at the Mexican cantina next to the movie theater where the margaritas were smooth and the salsa was spicy!  It was wonderful to see Timothy, even for a brief evening.  Seeing the final Harry Potter movie together seemed so fitting for us and our friendship!  Thanks, Timothy!!!

Saturday morning, we were up and out pretty early.  We opted for another Starbucks meal (more for the caffeine than anything!) and then walked to the Stoneridge Mall, which I talked about in my last post.  It really was a great mall.  <sigh>  We had an absolute blast while shopping - picking things out for each other, swapping things to try on in the dressing room, helping each other pick out accessories and, in Rachel's case, a dress for the wedding later that day.  No, she didn't come unprepared...she just wasn't sold on the dress she'd brought.  And the dress she did buy was perfect!  It was the perfect "girlie" shopping experience!

Prepping Saturday morning for our Stoneridge Mall shopping adventure!
Getting gussied up in the hotel before the wedding.

Sure, you've seen this picture before...
but it's so good, it's worth seeing again!
Stay tuned for my next post (Part 2), which will chronicle Sunday's brunch and our first foray into all that San Francisco has to offer!

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