San Francisco Trip from Orange County

What a day!

San Francisco Trip from Orange County

Orange County

We rented a small sedan from the closest Avis rental car agency for 5 days. Fortunately, they ran out of cars so we got upgraded to a big SUV for the price of a sedan so we were really happy! Thanks, Avis!
It would be a long drive so we started from Orange County at 5:00 AM. It was pretty cold in the last few days of the years and as we checked the weather in Northern California would be colder, we prepared with coats, and cold weather accessories.

San Francisco Trip from Orange County

Lunch at Moonstar Buffet

We finally arrived at Daly City after picking up my relative in San Mateo at noon and we were super hungry. Due to winter time, we only had a few hours left for the trip to China Town so we picked Moonstar Buffet, which we had been to a few times before whenever we visited San Francisco and they offered lots of Chinese and Japanese food like sushi or wonton. The restaurant was pretty packed at the time we arrived but we got seated pretty quickly.
We were pretty impressed with Moonstar Buffet a few years ago but this time, the quality was way down! The fish was not fresh and sushi rice was pretty hard! Even the quantity went down as I couldn’t find as many creative sushi rolls as before. If you are looking for some good sushi, don’t go here!

San Francisco Trip from Orange County

Parking at Hilton, San Francisco, CA

Finally, we arrived at San Francisco at around 3pm after finishing lunch at 2:30pm. Driving in SF in an SUV is not easy, especially when we didn’t even have the camera for backing up to do parallel parking on the streets like locals do. After some contemplating, we decided to pay for public parking for $4/hour at Hilton hotel and walk around since it was going to be sunset soon. Don’t listen to the sign at the elevator that you must pay at the front desk. Just pay directly at the gate with your credit card.

San Francisco Trip from Orange County

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

Our first stop in China Town is Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory which was an interesting spot nestled in a hidden alley in Chinatown. This place is pretty famous so we saw tourists coming in and out of the shop. I went here before in a scavenger hunt with my friends but I thought it would be fun to introduce it to my family. One could see how they made fortune cookies manually with some funky machines inside a tiny shop. They would sometimes hand tourists free freshly made samples and the cookies were really good compared to the ones in Chinese restaurants! We paid 50 cents to take pictures of the lady making cookies as we thought it was pretty cool!

San Francisco Trip from Orange County

Walking around China Town

After visiting the cookie factory, we walked around China town for some (amateur) street photography. This is my first attempt at this kind of photography so I just tried to take as many moments as I could. The vibe in China Town reminded me of Saigon, where I grew up, with lots of small alleys, many people walking around, and crazy traffic!
Because of high buildings, it was pretty hard to take pictures of the entire views even with my Canon 24-70mm lens. I should have used my Tamron 15-35mm instead.
As the clock ticked to 5pm, the light nearly went out. It got harder to take good pictures under such dim light with hand-held camera so we decided to go back to our car.

San Francisco Trip from Orange County

Slowest boba place of all time!

On the way to the parking structure, my sister decided to stop at Bobapioca, which had pretty nice decor. We saw a few people sitting inside the shop. We ordered 2 drinks but we waited for nearly 30 minutes! I was pretty upset as my plan to take pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge at Sunset was ruined! As an (amateur) photographer, I felt really sad when the golden hour passed! So, if you are on your way to take photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset, don’t go to this shop at 4-5pm!!!

San Francisco Trip from Orange County

Twin Peaks

After my plan to Golden Gate Bridge was ruined by the slowest and worst boba drink I had ever had, we decided to go to the closer place: the Twin Peaks, which is one of the highest peaks overlooking the entire San Francisco Financial District. Even though it looks close to China Town, it took us another 30 minutes to go there since traffic was pretty bad in SF.
When we arrived, there were lots of cars parked along the roads but we thought we might get lucky if we drove closer to the peak. Luckily, we got the spot immediately!
We went out with our camera gears and cold weather accessories. However, I forgot my gloves and this was a biggest mistake! After 10 minutes under chilling wind, I could not feel my hands anymore! My family were cuddling together on the bench and hiding behind some wall! Duy and I tried to get some long exposure shots of the Financial District with the Bay Bridge on sight.
From the Twin Peaks, one could easily see the Golden Gate Bridge too but it was not easy to take pictures of as it was pretty fainted!
After struggling with the coldness, we ran to our car and headed to San Jose to prepare for the next trip in the next day.

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