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> Tuesday, January 31, 2006: The Return Of The Vespa

 
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Recently, I've seen a few of these brand new looking old-style Vespas in San Francisco and I've been wondering... what just happened? Are we back in the seventies? Or have they always been here and I didn't notice them until now? Or did they actually just bolt here straight from the seventies this past weekend (with a flower in their hair)? That last scenario is the one I would pick if given the choice, the idea kinda sounds cool. But I did a little research and it seems that this 1977 model was recently revamped and reintroduced in the U.S. market just a little over a year ago. Alright, that explains it then... 2006: you can carry on!

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> Monday, January 30, 2006: First Republic Bank Building

 
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I guess this would be a typical example of the modern architecture that you can find downtown San Francisco. The building on the left hosts the First Republic Bank and this photo shows one edge of its triangular shape. I took this shot just three blocks away from this one.

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> Sunday, January 29, 2006: Smelly Cheese...

 
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As I had already pointed out on the Union Square photo, there's lots of shopping in San Francisco on the weekends but for the locals, that also includes spending more time shopping for your favorite food.
PS: I hope that this cheese smelled pretty strong because I bet the plastic film made the process difficult... ;-)

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> Saturday, January 28, 2006: Crooked Versus Crookedest

 
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Per a request from Terri, here's a photo of a car path down Lombard street. This is a famous visitor's spot, often a must-see on someone's San Francisco tour. While I was on location to take the photo, I was amused at the number of taxicabs and rental cars driving down the street - I'm not sure I saw any locals but one thing was for sure, everyone was having a lot of fun driving down that street! This portion of Lombard is widely known as "the crookedest street in the world". Except that, I read somewhere that another city in the U.S. claimed having an even more crooked street than San Francisco's. And... objectively, I think that other countries in the world have not really bothered to participate in this ferocious competition! ;-) But it gets better... I know for sure that it's not the crookedest street in the world... because it's not even the crookedest in San Francisco. That's right, there's a street in San Francisco that's even more crooked than the crookedest! But I'll share that little secret some other day...

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> Friday, January 27, 2006: Overlook In The Presidio

 
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This was taken at Immigrant Point which is an overlook over the Pacific Ocean and the hills north of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge. Definitely a nice spot to escape from the city, relax... and take photos. This place belongs to the Presidio of San Francisco which features 300 acres (120 hectares) of forest (primarily eucalyptus, pine and cypress trees), and about 30 miles (48 km) of biking and hiking trails (many more photos coming your way in the weeks to come...).

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> Thursday, January 26, 2006: San Francisco Dining

 
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There's lots of great restaurants in San Francisco (and for those of you who know me well, this is quite a statement for me to make). You can basically find cuisines from all over the world at all sorts of price ranges. Surely, specific neighborhoods have their specialities (Mexican in the Mission, Italian in North Beach, and so on...).
I took this photo while having an early dinner (7pm) last night. The fact that it was early, on a weekday and that it started to rain in the evening explains the empty tables. In case you're interested, this particular restaurant is called Florio and is one of my favorites: I love the atmosphere, the food is fantastic and unique, and the service is impeccable.

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> Wednesday, January 25, 2006: Marina View Of Downtown

 
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Typically, you don't see this skyline too often in photos (maybe I should add: until today...). The primary reason being that once you stand at that location in the Marina, you're fixated by what's going on in the other direction. But when the light is right, I find this sight quite beautiful: somehow, it's a city view, but yet it's peaceful. I hope you'll enjoy it too...

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> Tuesday, January 24, 2006: Winter On Market Street

 
San Francisco Market Street in Winter
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This photo suggests a different period of time, my way of showing some of the timeless aspects of San Francisco. There's no snow in winter here, some blue skies as you can see on some of the previous photos and often, we see more sun in winter than we do in July and August... One specific winter feature though, is the steam coming from the underground metro lines. Thank you Geneline for suggesting this photo!

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> Monday, January 23, 2006: Watch Out For The Fog

 
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There are two San Francisco landmarks on this shot: the fog and the Golden Gate bridge (if you look really closely, you can see the bottom of the south tower... I promise!). When the fog takes over the city, at least, three things happen: it gets dark, it gets cold and the fog horns start to blast. And that entire process often takes less than 30 minutes. I captured this scene a couple of days ago and I liked the shot because the contrast between the brightness of the sun behind the layer of fog and the darkness of the streets that have already been taken over, pretty much speaks for itself.

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> Sunday, January 22, 2006: Sunday On The Court

 
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It was really sunny day today in San Francisco. Naturally, all sorts of sporting activities take place on weekends like this. Here's your typical Sunday afternoon on a basketball court. The level played in the U.S. even by teenagers has always amazed me.
This court is on the Joe Dimaggio playground and the two towers in the background belong to Saints Peter and Paul church on Washington Square.
PS: this post is for you Rob! ;-)

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> Saturday, January 21, 2006: Saxophonist

 
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Yesterday, I saw this saxophonist who found the acoustics he liked by playing in front of the entrance of a small pedestrian tunnel. His music was peaceful and it sounded incredible. I wanted to use the web site today to publish this image in memory of Myriam who's meeting the angels today.
(a different perspective of this scene can be viewed here)

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> Friday, January 20, 2006: One Thousand And Seventeen Acres Of Nature

 
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At the corner of Union Square, where we were yesterday, hop on Bus Line N towards Ocean Beach, and 20 minutes later, you'll find yourself in one of the largest urban parks in the world, Golden Gate Park, with its 1,017 acres (I just checked!) - or 411 hectares if you prefer. Twenty minutes on a bus, for a radical change of scenery, from what feels like 160,000 people around Union Square to an actual 160,000 trees, according to the National Park Services. So... People? Trees? You pick! (although, of course, you can also go to the park with your favorite people).

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> Thursday, January 19, 2006: Which Store Do We Hit Next?

 
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Going shopping on a weekday is a pretty smart thing to do. Especially, when the stores you need are located around Union Square, which gets very busy with people on the weekends, many of them often coming from 50 miles away. The blocks around Union Square are considered by many "the ultimate shopping experience" in San Francisco, featuring hundreds of stores, and definitely the place to go to find those fine luxury boutiques... But the area also offers a ton of restaurants, art galleries, theaters, hotels... and people! More imagery later...

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> Wednesday, January 18, 2006: Introducing... North Beach

 
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I'll consider this my initial post and official introduction to North Beach although, technically, the James Brown photo was taken in that neighborhood already.
In the late 1800s, thousands of Italian immigrants settled in this area also known as Little Italy. There's a lot to say and show about it and one has to start somewhere, so I'll start with the first thing that I personally noticed the first time I went there, and that is... the Italian flags on all the posts. Quite convenient to remind you of which neighborhood you're in!
On this photo also (if there was any doubt), the Transamerica Pyramid in the background.

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> Tuesday, January 17, 2006: Her Majesty, The Victorian

 
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Victorian houses can be found everywhere in San Francisco. Unavoidably, you will see a few of them on this page in the weeks to come. I picked these for my first photo focused on Victorians not only because they're gorgeous but because they have attitude! Whenever I look at them, I feel like they're whispering to me: "look at me, I've been here for much longer than you have, and will be here for much longer than you will..."

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> Monday, January 16, 2006: To The People Of La Mission

 
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The Mission District is famous for its murals on the walls and facades of buildings, following a Mexican tradition of public art displays, celebrating cultural heritage and history. This particular one caught my eye today but I promise to bring you a few more on occasion.
For those of you who live around here or will travel here and want to see more, just see the location of this one on the map, go there and walk around: there are hundreds of them everywhere in that area! And make sure not to miss the small alleys, like Balmy alley.

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> Sunday, January 15, 2006: The Godfather

 
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That's right, James Brown is in town tonight for a show at Bimbo's in North Beach. Just one show... that basically got sold out in a split second when it was announced... so, I'll be listening to The Godfather Of Soul at home tonight!
But if you want James Brown to do his thing, say Yeah!!!

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> Saturday, January 14, 2006: Not A Beach Day? Depends...

 
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More clouds, more wind and more rain today. Not the day you would pick to go to the beach... unless you want to take photos!

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> Friday, January 13, 2006: Chestnut At Avila

 
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This evening, I stopped for coffee in the Marina disctrict at this place called The Grove on Chestnut street at Avila, in search of my photo of the day. I didn't know what kind of image I was after today. I found it when I looked up and saw this flower arrangement hanging: a touch of nature in an urban setting.

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> Thursday, January 12, 2006: California Street

 
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I've always found California Street intimidating. As you drive downhill and surround yourself with more and more skyscrapers, it gets darker and darker...
Also on this photo, of course, our famous cable car, a chinatown pagoda and bay bridge far in the background.

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> Wednesday, January 11, 2006: Beauty Parlor

 

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I'm not sure how many beauty parlors there are in San Francisco but according to the yellow pages, there are more than eleven hundred. I will not photograph them all (I think), but I will share photos of a few that I find interesting, so here's one of them.

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> Tuesday, January 10, 2006: House Number Signs

 
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I don't think there is a standard for house number signs in San Francisco, you can really find a little bit of everything and here's one example. As to why 3047 is in bigger print than 3049, I have no idea! Any guesses?

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> Monday, January 09, 2006: Diva

 
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Diva would fall into the category of "hip hotels of San Francisco". Located downtown, just a few blocks away from Union Square, this place has been acclaimed for its interior design and impeccable service numerous times. It is known to be the first hotel in the city to tailor to trendy crowds and it spawned many followers since it opened its doors in the mid-80s. I personally never stayed there but today, I had the rewarding opportunity to enjoy the lobby entrance (from outside). So, if you're a Diva (or the male version of one), or if you just want to feel like one for a little while, I guess this would be the place to stay at.

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> Sunday, January 08, 2006: Sunday Sailing

 
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There were quite a few boats sailing in the bay this weekend.
Sunday night dusk in the marina: back to the docks and back to work tomorrow!

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> Saturday, January 07, 2006: Reading The Paper

 
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After a busy week at work, Saturdays are often the first moment we find to read the paper and catch up with the news.

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> Friday, January 06, 2006: Different Destinies

 

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These days you're very likely to find Christmas trees abandoned on curbs at specific spots. Well, not quite abandoned, as they will be picked up by the city for them to be recycled.
I wonder what the other trees across the street think about that...

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> Thursday, January 05, 2006: The Sun Is Out

 

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So are the people of San Francisco who love their terrasses. No matter how cold it might be, if it's not raining, you'll find people on terrasses. On a sunny day like today, you'll have to wait to get a spot.

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> Wednesday, January 04, 2006: Pacific Heights View

 

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Among other things, Pacific Heights is renowned for its gorgeous mansions located on hilltops. Those mansions offer to their lucky residents some of the best views over the bay. Those views are regularly featured in magazines and movies. Just not the movie called "Pacific Heights" though, in that movie, the views were from another neighborhood if you can believe that, so maybe "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" is a better example (and a better movie?). Anyway, in some spots, there are gaps between houses that let you sneak a portion of the view, and this is one of them. We're almost on that terrace, aren't we?

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> Tuesday, January 03, 2006: Morning Ritual

 
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Dog walking is one of those morning rituals that I witness almost every day before work. You can always catch a few dog walkers in parks at around 7am. It would appear that walking your dog in your neighborhood park is also a very effective way of meeting your neighbors (starting with the dog talk and then moving on to something else!).

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> Monday, January 02, 2006: Christmas Ornaments

 
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One last look at Christmas ornaments before they are put away until next year.


> Sunday, January 01, 2006: Flower Delivery

 

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I found these flowers at somebody's front gate in the neighborhood with a card. I guess the residents weren't at home when they were delivered. But I felt they looked pretty good there, so I photographed them to share them with you. This is my way of wishing all of you a happy new year and welcoming you to my photo blog!

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