Sunday, February 17, 2008
I'm here at the Golden Gate Bridge-- the most famous bridge in California (maybe the most famous bridge in America).
The bridge was built during the Depression. In the past, there was no way to go across the mouth of the bay, so everyone had to take ferry boats. Now, you can drive across.
By the way, the bridge isn't gold, its orange. The name "Golden Gate" is actually the name of the mouth of the bay-- its the "gate" that leads from the ocean into the bay.
The Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to the Marin Headlands. The Marin Headlands are a big nature park. There are many birds in the park, and coyotes too.
Behind me you can see San Francisco Bay, and in the distance you can see all of the city.
The Bay is very very big. There are three major cities around the Bay: San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. Berkely, a famous California college town, is also on the bay.
In the middle of the bay is the most famous prison in America-- Alcatraz. Actually, it's not a prison anymore, but it used to be. The worst gangsters were put in Alcatraz, including Al Capone.
Now Alcatraz is a museum. They have a very interesting tour where you can learn all about the prison and the famous gangsters who were there.
There are many sail boats on the bay, especially on the weekends. Also, you can take a tour on a boat if you come to the city. There are many boat tours. They go the the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz.
After the boat tour, you can go to Fisherman's Wharf. There used to be a huge fish market there. Fishing boats still go there, and there are many seafood restaurants.
This is a picture of Washington Square, in San Francisco. It's a famous park surrounded by restaurants and cafes.
Many people come to the park with their dogs. People like to bring blankets here too- to have picnics, take naps, play frisbee, work, or study.
Today is a sunny day, so its a good time to be here.
On the weekends, they always have a big art market here. Painters and photographers bring their work and sell it.
I'm in San Francisco's Japantown now.
San Francisco used to have a large number of Japanese people living here. They came from Japan before WWII. Unfortunately, during the war many Japanese-Americans were put in prison camps, even though they were loyal Americans. The government sometimes stole their houses too. So after WWII, Japantown was smaller.
But there is still a small Japantown in the city. There are many Japanese restaurants and shops. Japanese tourists also like to visit this area-- because of the food.
In this picture, you can see several of the famous Japanese cat dolls. These "Neko" dolls are used by businesses for good luck. The kitties always have one or both paws raised and waving.
The kitties are supposed to be calling for good luck. One hand calls for money and good fortune, the other hand calls for friends.
Hi. I'm now at San Francisco's most famous bookstore. It's called "City Lights Bookstore".
City Lights is famous because they helped many famous San Francisco. The bookstore is owned by a famous SF poet named Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
In the 50's and 60's, he helped several writers by publishing and selling their books. The most famous were Allen Ginsburg and Jack Kerouac. These writers were friends and they are called "The Beat Writers".
Many people still visit this bookstore. They have a lot of very interesting books-- you won't find most of them at Borders or Barnes and Noble :)
Tourists also love to come to the bookstore and see where their favorite writers started.
The bookstore is located in a neighborhood called North Beach-- its the Little Italy of San Francisco.
Hi. I'm at Union Square in San Francisco.
Union Square is the center of the city. Its a famous gathering place.
Behind me, you can see one of the city's many cafes. San Francisco has many sidewalk cafes. People love to sit outside, drink coffee, and eat. Today is a sunny day, so its a very good day to enjoy Union Square.
In the center of Union Square, there is a monument to the American navy (for the Spanish-American War). San Francisco used to have a big naval base. Although the navy base is now gone, every year the navy still comes and has a huge air show in San Francisco Bay. Its called "Fleet Week".
San Francisco became famous during the California Gold Rush. Many people came to the city and then went looking for gold.
Hi everyone. I'm in San Francisco now. It's a great city. I have been walking all around, taking pictures in famous places.
In this picture, you can see one of the famous San Francisco cable cars. The cable cars go up and down the biggest hills in the city. SF is famous for its huge hills. They are amazing.
Under the streets, there are long cables that move. The cars have a handle and the driver can make the car grab the moving cable, or let go of it. When the car grabs the moving cable, the car is pulled along and it moves.
I'm going to take a ride now!