North America trip day 3: Grumpy sea lion and farmers’ market

San Francisco is hyper urban, but the main tourist attractions are bisons and sea lions.

The family I was staying with told me a story that pier 39, where sea lions rest, used to be a private pier for boats. Sea lions started assembling there after the great earthquake, and the people who were using the pier were driven away to make space for the endangered creatures of those already decided to assemble there. Now it’s a major tourist spot, particularly for families. Around pier 39, there are many touristic restaurants and various attractions.

The family I was staying with invited me to join them for their bi-weekly shopping at the farmers’ market in the Ferry Building. The building used to be disconnected from the city when a freeway ran between it and the inhabited areas, but after the earthquake the freeway was not rebuilt and became a local road. The market is a paradise for those San Franciscans who want to eat healthy. There are stalls with fruit, vegetables, bread, cheese, meat and prepared food. Some of the stalls describe the farms and farmers and indicate how far the produce had to travel to the market. I found great Asian avocado wraps – a real treasure for those who try to eat low-gluten. It’s a mix of various vegetables and some buckwheat sprout wrapped in lettuce. I should suggest this idea somewhere in Lithuania, as it looks a bit like the traditional Lithuanian cabbage wrap, minus meat. I also tasted a sample of absolutely heavenly lemon hummus, but I was too full from the wrap to eat more. American food keeps me feeling full for hours.

Here and there they even indicate how long the food had to travel to reach the farmers’ market, and under what conditions people farm.

I spent the second half of the day climbing hills of the Little Italy. My friend and I visited the legendary Cafe Trieste, where supposedly the script of the Godfather was written, along with less known scripts. Then we marveled at the parking skills of locals who live on super steep hills and finally reached the Coit tower, where we took some photos and looked around. It’s worth the climb. But the most impressive sight is parking skills of the locals.

Evening was starting, and so we headed towards Palo Alto, where my friend lives. Palo Alto is the home of many Silicon Valley’s IT giants and the place where the famous Stanford prison experiment took place. I enjoyed the movie-like freeway experience in an open car, as well as views of the fertile lands of California.

We decided to try the local kind of entertainment: vintage cinema, where organ is played before and after the movies. Lots of people gathered to watch a classical Audrey Hepburn movie, laughing so loud that it took time to get used to. As we went around the town later, we saw crowds of people lining up for ice-cream, almost as if it was a new iPhone. Strange.

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