Buddies,  travel

Shutterwalk through Chinatown

classic cable car shot

There is nothing quite like the city of San Francisco. I’ve been here before for a convention and I lived across the bay during college so my fondness of this city is nothing new. In fact, it is old and quite sentimental. I don’t know that I’d want to move here because I HATE that dumb Arctic wind that sneaks through every hole in your sweater but I really like it here. It’s my kind of city.

transam building

San Francisco offers all the sophistication and excitement of a big city but it’s crammed into a very small space surrounded by water so you don’t really ever get lost. You can walk and walk and walk but you’re never going to end up completely directionless in a vast asphalt jungle of industrial parks like a lot of other cities.

It doesn’t have the endless sprawl of Los Angeles that wafts on forever through scary neighborhoods and blankets of smog. If you get lost here, you can just walk a few blocks and you’ll recognize something: the water, some big monumental building, a train track, a cable car, maybe that same bum you heard yelling at you earlier when you arrived via BART. I just don’t feel that scared here.

Let me clarify that. I don’t feel that scared here in the daytime. If I had to drop out of an airplane and land in some big city, I’d pick San Francisco. Even over Paris.

quick glimpse

So you can imagine how glad I was when Angella of Dutch Blitz told me about this guided “shutterwalk” put on by the shutter sisters. Basically you just walk through the city and take photos but you’re in the safety and comfort of a bunch of other crazy photo snappers. I’m not sure if it was on the official blogher schedule. I think it was but I lost my schedule five minutes after I got it. Anyway it was fantastic. Possibly my most favorite thing of the whole convention.

four fifty sutter

I consider myself pretty hardy. I manage to keep up with a toddler who wakes up at the crack of dawn and then I stay up super late working on freelance projects all night. I sometimes take three walks a day and push a heavy stroller up and down hills. I carry groceries upstairs all by myself and I do the laundry (at a laundromat) that is a major pain in the neck. I might not run marathons or anything but I rarely complain about being tired.

So how is that a two-day conference of just sitting and talking and sitting and eating could exhaust me so? It’s not like I danced the night away at any of the parties either. What was my deal? Did I burn that many calories from flapping my mouth off all day long? It boggles me.

I was talking to Whoorl about it and she figured it had something to do with having to be “on” all the time. It must be mentally taxing to always be thinking of something witty to say. I have to agree with her. Even though I was not stressed out by the many many interesting conversations I had and I enjoyed myself immensely, I was more than ready for this convention to be over. It just wore me out! I have never wanted to go hole myself up in a quiet room more than I did on that second day.

And that is why this little walk to Chinatown was the best thing ever. I would strongly recommend it. I always forget how much better I feel after a breath of fresh(ish) air and a brisk walk.

our trusty guide

Plus, I’m always up for a good adventure. Our guide was excellent. She took us down narrow alleys hung with laundry and decorated with graffiti. We ducked into a fortune-cookie factory the size of a closet and I paid fifty cents to take this picture.

fortune cookies

I only wish I had a few more quarters to try a fresh hot fortune cookie. They smelled divine. Maybe next time. I’m definitely going to try and find that place again. More importantly I’m just going to try and remember that I need walks like this. It did me good.

The rest of my photos are here and everybody else’s are here. Come take a little walk with us!


  • Abbey

    Hey! So glad I got to chat with you this weekend and meet you officially after being an avid reader for the last couple of years!

    The PhotoWalk was DEF. the highlight of my trip. Funny story about our guide, Julie. She was not actually part of the conference…she just lives in SF and wanted to come to the PhotoWalk specifically…so she stopped by. Thanks goodness she did. I doubt any other small group had nearly as good a tour. Now that I am home, I’m getting ready to upload all my Chinatown pics. Can’t wait to really see them all… And I told Julie (the “guide”) that I was coming back to SF so she could give me a walking photo tour of ALL of SF. Can’t! Wait!!

    Did you ever remember the comparison you had been thinking of when we were talking white vs red wine at the Macy’s party? : )

    PS I don’t feel like I did ANYTHING too exhausting since Thursday, but man alive I can barely get off the couch right now. I am completely worn out.

    SAJ says: I did!!! Pink Berry vs. Golden Spoon!!! Which do you like better?

    It was great to meet you!

  • Amy

    I’ve been a lurker for a long time but LOVE your b&w pics of San Fran. I’m glad you’re having a good time! San Fransisco is a city that I can’t wait to explore!

  • Lu

    It was wonderful finally meeting you. I resisted the urge to attack you with a hug when I realized you were you, as I did not want you to forever be scared of the height challenged black woman with big hair!

  • bethany actually

    The exhaustion you describe is about 80% of the reason I decided not to go to BlogHer. I would have been happy to meet everyone and excited and talkative during everything…and then by the end of the last day I would have been a mute, trembling ball of nerves ready to hide in the nearest closet just for the peace and quiet.

    So why am I now totally jealous of the fact that you went and I didn’t? *sigh* Just make me go next time, will you?

  • Kate

    Those pictures are wonderful! Especially the b&w ones. Man, they look like they’re from another era or something. Really nice.

  • Jennifer

    I was feeling a little creepy just reading your blog without ever commenting. Kind of like a Peeping Tom but in a totally not pervy way. Love your blog. Baby Bug is beautiful and you are such a fun and talented writer. I look forward to every post!!

  • Jennifer

    Social exhaustion, makes sense to me. I’ve been kind of a hermit since having kids. I get out but don’t socialize as much as I probably should. I’ve never been to SF. I’m hoping to get a chance to visit soon. Very cool pictures.

  • Gingermog

    Hello, I’m really enjoying your photos of San Fransisco, the first time I ever got on a plane around ten years ago) I flew to this beautiful city and I really lost my heart to it. I felt it was easier to be an artist there – but then I felt that about Amsterdam too the first place I visited outside of the UK), but there is something special in the San Fran air. First place I ever felt the “travellers, lost and lonely feeling in a strange place”, but I quickly got over that. People were so friendly. I had so many adventures in that city and felt so happy. Thanks for sharing your photos. Hmm I should dig out my old cine films I took while I was there. Yes, I travelled to the states with a 70’s Super 8 cine camera and took film of everywhere I visited – I wasn’t that long out of art college in 1998.

    Have a great day SAJ and rest up after your busy time:)

  • Kuky

    How cool. Wish I could have been there. And we were so close. We were in Pacifica. And hey, 450 Sutter. When I lived in SF that’s where my dentist was!

  • Angella

    Wasn’t the walk great? It was my favourite part of the weekend, apart from meeting everyone. I love how we felt like we had been hanging out for years. xo

  • Nadine/Scarb

    I completely agree with you. It’s why I left in a hurry Saturday night to go spend time with boys. I felt a bit cheated that I didn’t really get to explore SF. Thankfully my relatives from Oakland showed me around yesterday. I had such an amazing time at BlogHer, but it was pretty intense by Saturday. Was glad to get away from it.

  • BeachMama

    Wow, sure looks like you had lots of fun. I think Whoorl might be right, I am always more tired after a day of listening, chatting and being on then if I just work my butt off and get some exercise. Hope to hear more from your trip.

  • Abbey

    I’m sad to say that I have never had either Pink Berry or Golden Spoon. So Sad for Me!!

    I looked on their websites and they don’t have any locations near me. : (

    I’ll have to hunt them down and try them both out one day. So Happy for Me!

  • citystreams

    That sounds so cool! I hope they do something like this next year and I hope I get to go. The fortune cookie picture was definitely worth 50 cents!

  • Neil

    Beautiful SF photos. I also would have gone crazy holed up in a hotel for two days. Although I would have liked to have gone to that cheeseburger party where everyone had McDonald’s bags on their heads. Now that is what blogging is really all about!

  • Chris

    It was amazing to briefly meet you in person. I still owe you a latte BTW! I know exactly what you mean by social exhaustion. I just think I hit that point way earlier than everyone else there. Oh well. I can always try again next year, right?

  • Red Lotus Mama

    Thanks for this post. I lived in SF for 6 years, but moved back down here when I married a San Diegan. We haven’t been back since for a number of reasons. I miss SF. I loved living there. I loved working there. I loved the smell, the culture, the food, the sights. Your photos brought memories streaming back. Thank you!