Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

I think I've mentioned before in this blog that there are 2 day trips we always make, when we have guests from outside the Bay Area. My brother and his wife visited us over the Thanksgiving weekend and naturally, those 2 day trips happened this time also.

Based on experience, I'd say Thanksgiving day is the best day to visit San Francisco. Among all my trips to the city, I found it to be the least crowded when I visited it on Thanksgiving day a couple of years ago. So we opted to drive to the city on Thursday this time also. Since we left pretty late, we hit just the main 2 tourist spots in the city. First stop ofcourse was the Golden Gate bridge. The two vista points on either end of the bridge give some good views but they are no match for the view of the full span of the bridge from up the mountains. We then drove up Lombard St. for the winding drive down Crooked Street and walked around a bit for views of the city and the bay.

I've never been one of those early shoppers on the 'Black Friday', the Friday after Thanksgiving, when the stores have those insane deals. The deals never seemed worth the crowds and the long lines. So this time too, I just made leisurely trips to Target and Fry's Electronics late morning on Friday. Picked up computer speakers($8.99) and a couple of DVDs (Batman Begins for $3.98 and Rush Hour for $2.99) just so I wasn't the only one walking out of those stores empty-handed :-)

On Saturday, headed out to Monterey with a stop at Mystery Spot first. The Mystery Spot never ceazes to amaze me though I've been there something like 15 times. Its always fun watching the ball roll upwards and the people lean at unbelievable angles. Be sure to go there if you ever visit the Bay Area. It was a warm, sunny day - perfect for the Monterey drive. The sparkling blue ocean looked great and made for a great drive. Went on the 17-mile drive and stopped at a few vista points we don't usually stop at. Also went to Carmel beach at the end of the drive so Kavya could have some fun playing in the sand.

Wrapped up the long weekend with a trip to the mall on Sunday and after dropping brother and sis-in-law off at the airport, caught the 9.30 showing of Sivappadhigaaram.

Overall, a fun weekend that sped by too fast for all of us. Photos from the trips to SFO and Monterey can be seen here.

13 Comments:

At 2:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji;
I've asked you 2 questions:
Will Perarasu's 6th film get a Negative rating(-1/2) from you?
2.About my "Get paid to watch these movies list" Here.
Answer them please!

 
At 8:08 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Balaji, for someone who can spend probably 2-3 days at the most in SFO(which will be the base) and being a first time visitor, I wanted to list what are the must-see spots. Pl see if anything can be added/deleted/changed

1. GG bridge 2. Monterey/Mystery spot 3. anything else in SFO-walking around the city in general,anything specific to see here(like say Fisherman's wharf or ghirardelli Square)? 4. Lake Tahoe 5. NAPA 6. Yosemite National park - (maybe due to the distance, takes a day all by itself?)

The first 3 in one day, second two on the second day and maybe the third on the third day. But if you add more interesting or must-see spots to see in SFO to this list, I might remove Yosemite alltogether. Thx.

 
At 10:10 AM, Anonymous ram said...

i'd been to the mystery spot when i was young and boy, was i amazed or what! it was absolutely awe-inspiring...

from the M S website..."Other theories about what causes the Mystery Spot include carbon dioxide seeping out of the earth, the “highest dielectric biocosmic radiation” known anywhere in the world, and radiesthesia..."

--> man, i am already getting nightmares of my kela boltu chemistry vaatththi from high school! ivange website-la poatta matter-a surukkama sollanum-naa, "gravity elaam mayi-a pochu-nu koothadikara edam" ;-) wonder how it would be to take a girl out on a date to the mystery spot...not the best spot for a hot date but when balls are rolling in weird directions (absolutely no puns intended!) i sure would like to see a girl's excited face... (kaatu-jollu first thing in the morning...this is what is called 'vayasu kolaru!')

 
At 10:30 PM, Anonymous prakash said...

vijay, I know you asked Balaji. But during my time in the Bay area, I considered quitting and becoming a tourist guide, because I had so many visitors ;) So I'll pipe in with my 2np.

* The trip you propose is way too packed.

* 1 and 2 don't combine well. 1 and 3 is the natural combination. Definitely plan on ending up at Ghirardelli Square in the night for ice cream. Depending on how early you start and your energy level, you could even spend a couple hours in Muir Woods. SF is great for walking, the Japanese gardens are pretty nice.

So something like this ... start off at the Wharf around 10AM. Go through the bridge and maybe Muir Woods. Walk around SF afternoon/evening, take the cable car if you wish. Grab dinner, end up at Ghirardelli.

* 2 is a day trip, and you have to cover Half Moon Bay as part of it.

* I'd leave out 6 because it is a trip of its own. Don't rush it to just "check it off the list". Also, I don't think now's the time. Early summer is when it is prettiest, and you could do some outdoor activities. It looks very nice even during winter, but can't get out of the car.

* 4 and 5 is each a day trip, so take your pick. If you like wine, definitely 5. If you like skiing and nature, definitely 5. If you like wine and skiing and nature, extend your stay, plan on another trip, or just move to the Bay area :)

 
At 10:33 PM, Anonymous prakash said...

P.S:

On your way back from Ghirardelli, you can drive through the Crooked Street.

I have assumed base of SJ or thereabouts. But if your base is SF, that changes things. I'd have to think about it a little.

 
At 7:20 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Prakash, This is for a possible future trip, nothing immediate. I'll keep the weather in mind.Is SJ that far from SF? I dont mind changing the base if it helps cover things quickly. Thanks for the tips.

 
At 7:27 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Prakash, although Iam not a wine connoiseur or a big outdoor sports guy(skiing or anything else), I hope that would'nt prevent trips to NAPA or Tahoe from being interesting. Because this is mostly for a sight-seeing kind of trip (and there might be a couple of elders too). I heard the train ride thru NAPA and other stuff there is interesting to see, although I agree tasting wine is a big part of it. Tahoe-just for the scenery and maybe if there is any hiking trail or anything to do there for an etire day.

and one more thing, if I have to pick only two out of NAPA/Monterrey trip/Tahoe which two would you recommend for an outside visitor who doesnt have much of a chance of returning back?

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger prakash said...

vijay, yeah, you don't have to be a wine lover or outdoor person to enjoy both Napa and Lake Tahoe. What I meant was, if you love one more than the other, it makes your choice easier.

If I had to pick two and there were no elders, I'd pick Napa and Monterey. Lake Tahoe is very nice, but I have seen equally beautiful lakes w/ mountain backgrounds in a few other places. With elders around, probably Monterey and Tahoe.

I'll shut up now, and let the current residents throw in their 2 cents.

 
At 10:03 AM, Blogger mitr_bayarea said...

Balaji-

Nice pictures of the city and Monterey. My chitti's family visited us during the thanksgiving break and we also did the same package tour, except we hit SFO on Wed-the day before thanksgiving. We visited the usual spots, but also did the Presidio this time.

 
At 12:06 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

ganesh, lets hope he doesn't get to make a 6th movie!
did read ur list. don't agree with all of them but was interesting reading ur opinions...

vijay, prakash's post covered it beautifully. i second his itineraries and comments. my 2 cents...

my fav's probably yosemite but needs atleast a couple of days. so definitely not suitable as part of a short trip to the bay area.

napa not high up on my list unless u're a wine fan. that goes for the train ride too. but if u do go there, add on the old faithful geyser in calistoga...

mitr, presidio??

 
At 8:12 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Balaji and Prakash, thx a lot

 
At 2:00 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Hey Balaji..

Haven't heard of the Presidio?.. You remember the famous movie starring Sean Connery and Mark Harmon.. That's what Mitr is talking about!..

(hee! hee! :-)

 
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