Sunday, July 11, 2010

I left my Heart in San Francisco

San Francisco’s Beautiful Bay

The captain had advised we had an estimated arrival time at three o’clock in the morning. So I got up early but did arrive on the 11th deck of the ship until about 6 a.m. but hoping I could get shots of the Golden Gate Bridge as we went under it. However, we were already docked so all I could see was the bridge beautifully lit from both ends presenting its outline.
As the sun came up, I was able to get a closer view with my telephoto Lens. This way you get the Golden Gate Bridge in a different perspective, along with the island of Alcatraz, and the Oakland Bay Bridge--which was the bridge that was badly damaged during the last earthquake in San Francisco.
About this time one of my traveling friends arrived and we stood and talked about what pictures he had taken and his observation of a city that he had never been to before. He was quite taken back by the beauty of the area.
I remember well, flying over San Francisco as the clouds lay low and heavy on a day on my way to Hawaii years before. That day I could only see the top of the structure of the Golden Gate Bridge that supports the cable links of this beautiful suspension bridge. But today the weather was clear and everything easily seen.
Hong Kong, Rio de Janerio, and San Francisco are noted to be the most beautiful bays in the world and I can truly say it does represent itself well with the other two cities.
After breakfast, we began our disembarkment which went smoothly. We docked at pier 35 and the famous fisherman’s wharf is pier 39. Between these piers is a small park where we noticed a number of people own seg wheels. They were interesting to watch. Afterwards, we visited the wharf, but were not able to have any of the fish in its many cafes for which the wharf is known. We had previously reserved a limousine to take us to our hotel and made our way back quickly to the pickup zone.
We would spend the night near the airport, which is about 15 miles from downtown because we all had early flights the next day.
There is so much to see in San Francisco that it would take a week just to hit the highlights. But time would not permit it this time.
The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 12th most populous city in the United States and I the second-most densely populated large city in the United States. San Francisco is also the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the larger San Francisco Bay Area, and home of over 30 international financial institutions, helping to make San Francisco eighteenth place in the world's top producing cities and ninth in the United States.
The history starts In 1776 whenthe Spanish established a fort at the Golden Gate and a mission named for Francis of Assisi on the site. The California Gold Rush in 1848 propelled the city into a period of rapid growth, increasing the population in one year from 1,000 to 25,000, and thus transforming it into the largest city on the West Coast at the time. After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. During World War II, San Francisco was the port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater.
Today, San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination, renowned for its chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture and its famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the cable cars, and Chinatown.
Tourism is the backbone of the San Francisco economy. Its frequent portrayal in music, film, and popular culture has made the city and its landmarks recognizable worldwide. It is the city where Tony Bennett "left his heart," where the Birdman of Alcatraz spent many of his final years, and where Rice-a-Roni was said to be the favorite treat. San Francisco attracts the third-highest number of foreign tourists of any city in the U.S. and claims Pier 39 near Fisherman's Wharf as the third-most popular tourist attraction in the nation. More than 16 million visitors arrive in San Francisco yearly, injecting nearly $8.2 billion into the economy. With a large hotel infrastructure and a world-class convention facility in the Moscone Center, San Francisco is also among the top-ten North American destinations for conventions and conferences.
San Francisco's economy has increasingly become tied to that of its Bay Area neighbor San Jose and Silicon Valley to its south, sharing the need for highly educated workers with specialized skills. With such links with the Silicon Valley, San Francisco became an epicenter of the Dot-Com bubble of the 1990s-2000s, and the subsequent Web 2.0 boom of the late 2000s. Many popular and prominent Dot-Com companies and "start-ups" such as, Twitter,, and Wikipedia among others have established their head offices in San Francisco.
During the years of my ministry I have spoken in the area many times; namely, El Sobrante, Richmond, Petaluma, Campbell, Fairfield, and many other nearby cities.
San Francisco is a beautiful city and the bay is outstandingly breathtaking. I would like two weeks here.
“They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;”-- Psalms 107:23

Dr. Alton Loveless is the former CEO/President of Randall House Publications, Nashville, Tn.; He is a freelance writer and has written for assorted publications printed both nationally and internationally.

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