Friday, April 17, 2009

Chinatown and the MOMA

Monday was our last full day in San Francisco, and we decided to do the Chinatown walking tour, as we'd been through the area on a bus and thought it looked interesting. The tour started from Portsmouth Square, and our first major stop was the old phone exchange building. As lots of people didn't have phones when it was first set up, they used to send runners out to tell people that they had a phone call.

We went on down the main shopping street, and saw various live seafood waiting to be bought. One of the people on the tour ventured into a shop and saw chickens waiting in cages. We also saw a truck pull up and unload all its fish for a shop.

We learned about Donaldina Cameron a missionary who, aside from having an awesome name, rescued girls who had been sold into slavery. We also visited a fortune cookie factory and got to sample some unfolded cookies.

After lunch we visited the Museum of Modern Art which contained art by people like Matisse, Mondrian, Warhol, Rothco, Lichtenstein, and Picasso. We saw the famous Fountain sculpture by DuChamp, which is a urinal on a pedestal, as well as a rather creepy sculpture of lots of poodles surrounding a baby.

There were a few special exhibitions. One was a video with people wearing masks of characters from The Cosby Show and Rosanne, dancing around crazily; another was by this conspiracy theory guy and had photos of American military operation badges, and explained they really meant.

After our cultural experience we tried to find the CNET building so Leah could see her idols, but it wasn't meant to be; we just couldn't find the building. So we consoled ourselves by going back to the Musee Mecanique and squashing a penny.

We headed back to our hotel, but decided that we should visit Bloomingdales before we left the city, so we went to the gigantic mall near our hotel. Not only did we visit the multi-storey Nordstrom store inside the mall, but we got to ride on curved escalators! Leah also had an interesting encouter with a salesman who was intent on selling her some Gojuju berry beauty products, and cleaned her wrists and hands (and didn't believe her when she said she showered that morning). After that experience, we felt our San Francisco visit was complete, so went back to the hotel to pack and psych ourselves up for the move to London.

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