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Lend me your eyes, I can change what you see


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San Francisco’s Rickshaw Bagworks

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I have a really nice camera bag from Crumpler, and a very pretty purse. However, the camera bag will only hold my camera and cell phone, and my purse will only hold my iPad and cell phone. I’ve been looking for something for a while now that could hold everything I need for one day of exploring, and I’m so happy to share with you that I’ve found it!

As you can tell from blog posts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, I recently went to San Francisco. While I was there, I discovered Rickshaw Bagworks, a fun little shop that makes a series of bags that you can custom design to your liking.

Mine came in the mail today, and I was oh-so-excited!

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When I was in the store, I got to see all the models, fabrics and accessories, and decided to go with the Small Zero Messenger Bag, with a bordeaux exterior, a funky green print for the inside, and a peacock trim.

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I need something to hold my camera, but Rickshaw doesn’t yet make an SLR sleeve, so I decided to go with an optional pocket on the inside. Eventually, my goal is to make my own padded, removable sleeve (unless Rickshaw makes one first!), but this sleeve will do for now, as long as I remember not to trow my bag around too much. I also got them to put on a longer adjustable shoulder strap.

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It’s great to have a beautiful bag that meets my needs, looks great, feels even better, and is made in the US! All great things.

Thanks Rickshaw!

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San Francisco in pictures, part 8 – Big Sur

We decided to rent a car for a day and drive down Highway 1 to Big Sur, and I’m really happy that we did! I LOVED San Francisco, but nothing says holiday to me more than the ocean, and I was so happy to see the wide open Pacific Ocean. It was a three hour drive south of SF through beautiful scenery, and worth every minute of it. Big Sur itself was a bit confusing – it’s a national park, with hard to access beaches, but we found one and enjoyed ourselves. It was really cold and windy, but so lovely to get out of the city for the day.


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San Francisco in pictures, part 7 – Muir Woods

To be honest, I didn’t really get it. We rented a car for the day to drive down to Big Sur, and my travel buddy Matt said that he wanted to first drive up to Muir Woods. It’s only about 40 minutes north of SF, so we went ahead with his plan. We got there, looked at some trees for about half an hour, and then we were done. Maybe we didn’t look up enough – I think that the deal is that they’re really tall. Maybe because I live on the West Coast, I wasn’t excited to see more big trees. All this to say that we should have done more research before coming here – it was nice, but we weren’t blown away by any of it. Anyone who’s travelled with me knows that when I’m bored with something, I’m over it, and I’m happy to just move on.

 


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San Francisco in pictures, part 6 – Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is a must see. We chose to take the bus all the way to the bridge, and then walk across. We kind of forgot to plan for the other side of the bridge, except to say ‘We’ll take the ferry back form Sausalito’

It’s pretty straightforward to get from the bridge to Sausalito, but it’s about 3 miles away, so be prepared! The walk across the bridge was crowded, but worth it, at least one way. Sausalito is a beautiful, if very commercial, little village, and it’s much warmer there than in San Francisco. We were happy to enjoy delicious burgers and ice cream in the sun for a while, and then take the ferry back ($9.00) to the city. A great day out!


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San Francisco in pictures, part 5 – Chinatown

Chinatown is a great neighbourhood to visit, but I would definitely recommend going off the beaten path – look through your guidebook for some routes, or talk to the staff at either of the HI Downtown Hostels (these awesome hostels offer free tours of different parts of SF… every day!) On the main road, you’ll find a lot of touristy shops that sell the same thing over and over, and on the side roads, you’ll find a bunch of little stores that sell things you don’t recognize… and owners who don’t speak enough English to tell you what they are! There are many teashops, make sure to stop in one for some tea tasting. Vital Tea has great service, and Uncle Gee will give you advice like no other! It’s also worth it to figure out how to get to the Golden Gate Cookie Factory, where you can watch women handmake fortune cookies. You can pay $0.50 to take a picture of them, and $1.00 for a custom fortune cookie.

 


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San Francisco in pictures, part 4 – Haight Ashbury

Oh, beautiful Haight Ashbury. First of all, it’s pronounced Hate. Fun fact!

This neighbourhood is well known for its eclectic mix of old hippies and young… well… hippies! Where in and around the Tenderloin district you’re bound to encounter hundreds of panhandlers, here you’ll find a bit of a different kind. There are tons of young folk sitting on sidewalks with dogs and musical instruments, asking for money but also wishing you a great day and trying to make you laugh. It’s a great place to walk around. As I mentioned before, walking down side streets in The Mission will lead you to some amazing graffiti. Sure, Haight Ashbury has it’s share of graffiti, but what you’ll mostly find are AMAZING houses. Look at those colours! I couldn’t even handle it.

You’ll also find a few opportunities for some good shopping – make sure to check out Buyer’s Best Friend, a tiny store that sells TONS of hand made products. The staff know everything about the products and their makers.

Walk to the end of Haight Street, and you’ll end up at Golden Gate Park (not to be confused with The Presidio, where the Golden Gate Bridge is actually located) In this park, you’ll find the California Academy of Sciences, where every Thursday night they run an event called Nightlife, where music, creatures and cocktails come together. Seriously, guys. This is one of the best things that I did in San Francisco. They have bars everywhere, DJs in front of crazy fish and jellyfish tanks, and really cool subject specific exhibits.

 


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San Francisco in pictures, part 3 – The Castro

The Castro is a great place to go at any time of day or night. Everything here is beautiful and in full colour. Don’t expect to find women’s clothing, as most stores are tailored exclusively to men… but do expect to meet some wonderful people! We came here often – to shop, to eat, and to go out at night. It’s only 3 subway stops from Union Square, and perfectly safe! Here is where you’ll find the San Francisco GLBT Historical Society, Harvey Milk Plaza and the Human Rights Campaign and Action Store.

 


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San Francisco in pictures, part 2 – The Mission

A great neighbourhood to see in San Francisco is The Mission. Walk along Mission St, and you’ll actually feel like you’re in South America. Tiendas line both sides of the road, selling everything from jewellery and clothing to authentic food and ingredients to make your own South American dishes. Go off the beaten track a bit, and you’ll find beautiful murals everywhere. I recommend going down 18th street towards Dolores Park – along the way, you’ll see The Women’s Building (you can’t miss it!), and Bi-Rite Creamery – you must stop here for ice cream!

Click on the first picture to open up a slideshow.


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San Francisco in Pictures – Part 1: Downtown

I managed to pare down 1000 pictures to 130 faves! I’ll be posting them on different days, by location.

Downtown San Francisco is the place to go if you want to go shopping (which we all know I love to do!). Our hostel was located within two blocks of Union Square, which has a giant mall, Macy’s, Desigual, H&M, Uniqlo… You want it, they’ve got it! Union Square is right on the border of the Tenderloin, which is a little bit sketch – I just avoided the rougher streets and kept to the Union Square side of things. You can also walk down Market St towards the water (or take the subway), and that gets you to the Ferry Building, definitely one of my favourite places in the city. Here you’ll find a market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, as well as a permanent a bunch of local retailers selling locally made food and crafts. We didn’t find many places to go out at night here, but we did manage to find a good drag show! I’m told that there are good restaurants and a few pubs South of Market. You also want to check out City Lights Bookstore in North Beach, where Jack Kerouac used to hang. On the way there from downtown, you’ll pass Washington Square, where you’ll find Tony’s, an amazing pizza place. The waitlist is usually over an hour… but it’s worth it!


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San Francisco Picture Preview

Soooo… I took about 1000 pictures in San Francisco.

I’ll need a few days to sort through everything, what with going back to work tomorrow, where I’m supposed to run staff training (which I haven’t planned yet, since I’ve been in SF… oops!)

Here are a few unedited teasers for ya… My camera has some dust in it, which explains the black flecks. I’ll be posting fleckless ones shortly 🙂