Treasures From the Bay

Nothing says, “You are entering the realm of storybook, drama and quirkiness” so much as a sign like this:

San Francisco bridge

San Francisco, if not a treasure island, is a treasure trove.

These street alarm boxes from the late 1800s are still used for emergency calls. That bygone-era exterior is a deceptive front for the internal efficiency. They connect directly to the nearest fire station, providing the box number and hence location.street alarm San Francisco

The highrise building on the other side of the street inverts in this fire-engine bell.

fire engine bell

One hears the city cable cars when they are hills away. Their rattle and click creates a sense of displacement – the sound emanates from near one’s feet but no vehicle is in sight. It’s as though they’re invisible or embedded in the road. Inside the cable car, a burly man does strenuous and skilful things with a lever while, at the back, a less-bulky fellow collects fares, manages people and operates the rear brakes.

San Francisco cable car, San Francisco at night

People emerge, wizard-like, from the mists that rise and twist at intersections.

mist, street, San Francisco

Shoppers at Fisherman’s Wharf have their purchases applauded with barks and slaps from the local seal troupe.

seals, Fisherman's Wharf

These dinky little stands waft chowder, pretzels and other gustatory Americanisms. I almost expected them to scamper off on bandy legs.

food stall

This sums up the kind of city we’re talking about.


On a bus I heard a young man run out his litany of woes. “I’m not sure if I like my job, I have little money and no girlfriend but…” and here his voice cheered, “I am living in San Francisco!”

This is a city that gives.

14 responses to “Treasures From the Bay

  1. Pingback: Cape Town | The World is My Cuttlefish

  2. Glad you enjoyed the wonderful city by the bay. It is truly golden with sites, sounds, and offerings … and I look forward to make next trip there whenever it may be.

    By the way, holiday party at my place – hope you can attend. I’m starting early to reach our to the Aussies on Christmas Eve. So, bring your friends … and there will be gifts for all.

  3. Glad you liked SF. I went there for the first time in the summer of 1996, met my future wife, had incredible weather, saw redwoods and sea lions and elk and otters, hit some of the shady bars in the Tenderloin, gloried in Golden Gate Park, and just generally had a magical, marvelous time.
    I took my parent there once, and I’ll always remember my mother’s 70 year-old face while she was riding a cable car. She looked like a spellbound 12 year-old.

  4. I really enjoyed the end quote from the anon man.

  5. Beautiful pictures of a place I’d love to visit one day. Lucky girl- you’ve obviously made the most of every minute there!

  6. There is a certain magic in these photos, that’s for sure 🙂

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