Day 608 OUT OF Beijing: Why We Walk, Part 2.

 

The view of Petaluma on one of our walks.

The view of Petaluma on one of our walks.

 

Jill and I kept talking to Mitch and discussing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It seems, and this may just be confirmation bias but Jill and I both think that more and more people are trying to figure out how to do more with less.

I’ve been getting a lot of friends asking me how to minimize their possessions to maximize their life.

I’ve helped them figure out how to live on less, travel with less, take up less space in the world, and figure out how to own things instead of having things own them.

Last night, in fact, Jill and I spent an hour going through each of our check in bags and discarded about half of what we had in them.

We doubt we can get down to one check and two carry ons between us each check in will be very light since they are both only about half full.

Once we figure out where we are going to settle, in about a year, we will be able to unload more of it since I’ll know if I need my cycling gear.

Cycling gear?  Yep, I have my cycling spandex and cycling shoes (with clip-less pedals) that I’m dragging around everywhere.

This takes up about 1/4 of my bag and seems like a waste.

However, it will allow me to get around easily, when we settle down, and the cost of carrying it is much less than having to purchase it again.

This is a cost benefit analysis that I’ve done and the benefits far outweigh the costs.

My friend, Christopher Rubin, is also going to open a bike store in the next few months.

I want to help him and we plan to ride our bikes to work together and that means I’ll be needing these clothes sooner rather than later.  It is also a free way to get healthy and lose weight which I want to do also.

Mitch seems to want to have a simpler life and we all talked about how that could happen, for both him and us, and what we are doing to accomplish that goal.

This doesn’t just mean minimizing but doing what you want, when you want and knowing that you could die, at any moment, and how do you want to live until that happens.

For Jill and me, it is traveling, seeing friends and family, and exploring the world.

We’ve both simplified our lives enough that we can make this happen.

We can help you do the same if you want.

When we walk, we talk about how to accomplish this and share our knowledge.

That is why we walk.

 

 

 

 

Day 607 OUT OF Beijing: Why We Walk, Part 1.

 

The 1953 210 in all its glory!

The 1953 210 in all its glory!

 

Jill and I are enjoying our car-less travels all around the bay as we update SF Tourism Tips.

We walk about a mile to grab the first bus, in Petaluma, and then take it into San Francisco where we might walk, bus or take the street cars depending on our time and destination.

We also bus back to Petaluma and it has been mostly enjoyable.

I’d say about 9 out of 10 Golden Gate Bus drivers are incredibly friendly and love their jobs.

The ones that aren’t happy are probably just having a bad day and have to deal with a lot.

I’ve noticed, as I’ve talked to the bus drivers, most of them just say, “This job teaches you patience.”

It makes me think that most of the drivers probably practice a type of “moving meditation” when they drive and deal with people so that they can stay calm, mellow and happy most the time.

Otherwise the traffic, the people, and the on time pressure would wear them down.

Our latest driver said to Jill and me that, “I just put on a smile and keep it on.  If I get worn down, I smile and I come back to who I am and who I want to be.”  Imagine if we all did that, a little bit more each day, how different our lives would be?

As we walked towards the bus one day, we turned the corner and noticed this amazing car.

It is a 1953 Chevy 210 with some added flair (some parts from a Plymouth and taillights from a 1954 210 as Mitch liked those more and wanted more “personality”).

We immediately fell in love with it and Jill said, “My dad would love this!”

Jill’s dad, Bill, rebuilds old cars and is a blacksmith and also does leather work.

I suggested we go ask the owner if we could take some pictures and he agreed.

He stated that he hand painted it about 6 years ago and it took a long long long time because each layer is very difficult and time consuming.  He didn’t use any filler or bondo on the bodywork because he didn’t want the paint to crack or break as the car aged.  We couldn’t see any imperfections at all.

We didn’t have our camera, at this time, so we asked if we could come back and he happily agreed.

Two days later we were walking down the street and heard this rumble behind us.  It was Mitch and his 1953 210 cruising down the street.  There really is nothing like the sound of a classic car’s engine rumbling and cruising.

Mitch pulled into his shop and parked it in the sunshine so we could see it really glow.  He then he wiped it down with a cloth to get all the dust off of it.  He had just made some engine improvements and taken it for a test drive so it was a bit dusty and we appreciated his time and effort to make his baby shine!

Mitch, the owner, told us this is his “daily driver” and that he also built a Comet for his wife.  We talked about the joy of doing what you love for a living and how it can be difficult to live outside the expected way of life but that none of us could go back to what we used to do.

Mitch, by the way, was born in Sweden and came to the USA to play music.  It seems he did fairly well for himself and quite a bit of touring.  He lived in Los Angeles but got tired of it and moved up north.  He and his wife now live in Petaluma and he seems to be quite content and proud of his creations.

An artist working his craft.

We talked for about 45 minutes, as we weren’t in a hurry, and it was like meeting an old friend.

There is no question that if we had been in a car, we would have missed Mitch and his 1953 210.

That is why we walk.

 

Day 604 OUT OF Beijing: Fort Point.

 

The Golden Gate Bridge as we get closer to Fort Point.

The Golden Gate Bridge as we get closer to Fort Point.

 

After we finished the Golden Gate Bridge tour, Jill and I head down to the Warming Hut for some lunch.

We took the back way, through the beautiful nature preserve that leads down to Crissy Field.

It is amazing how, just about 100-200 feet away from the Golden Gate Bridge, you no longer hear any cars or trucks or anything but wind, birds, and nature.

It is so relaxing, and wonderful to be able to have places like this after living in Beijing for the last 1.5 years and having to travel for an hour to get to some place that should be peaceful but is full of people blasting music, bumping into you, and horrid pollution in the skies overhead.

One really doesn’t know what it is like to live in a city of 25 million people until one does.

And then one can only be content and happy about pretty much any other place where one lives for the rest of their life.

We know we are and won’t take one minute of it for granted.  It is a luxury that we no longer take for granted.

We sat down in the Warming Hut and had a nice little hummus sandwich.  We did, in fact, get warmed up inside the old barracks as it was nicely heated and just the right temperature for us to enjoy.

After a nice 15 minute rest, we put back on our jackets and headed out to Fort Point.

We knew it would be closed, since it is only open Friday through Sunday, but we wanted to get some landscape pictures and just enjoy the view.  It isn’t often one can see the Golden Gate Bridge from below and we didn’t want to miss our chance.  Just another reason we love being car-less is it forces us to value our time, and choices, much more carefully and think them out since we know it takes a lot more effort to get to many places that others easily drive to each day.

 

Fort Point is only about a 10 minute walk from the Warming Hut and it is right beside the bay so we were able to watch the waves crash and the fisherman fish as we walked.

We arrived at Fort Point, took some pictures and marveled at the super structure underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, which we had just walked upon, and also at the base of the bridge, which our San Francisco City Guide Dan Tussey had told us actually went about 11 stories down into concrete to hold the cables so they won’t shake loose from all the wind, cars and waves.  By the way, the towers are able to move about 12 feet towards or away from each other and the bridge can sway about 27 feet from side to side when it is really windy.  That is some amazing architecture and engineering.  Especially when you consider it was built in only about 4 years and 32 MILLION dollars.  Consider it took 20 years to build the new Bay Bridge and almost 6.5 BILLION dollars.

We got ready to leave when one of the fisherman, who seemed to be new to the sport, was having a bit of trouble.  Another fisherman came over, showed him the right way to cast out, and then practiced with him.  I was able to get a bit of video of it and it was nice to see such camaraderie among people.

 

Day 603 OUT OF Beijing: The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco City Guides.

 

Don Tussey from City Guides San Francisco.

Dan Tussey from San Francisco City Guides teaches us about the cables built for the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

Jill and I needed to get some pictures for SF Tourism Tips and wanted to take a San Francisco City Guides tour of the Golden Gate Bridge.

We hopped on the 7:11 commuter bus out of Petaluma and settled in for a relaxing ride to San Francisco.

It takes about 1 hour, depending on traffic, and the bus drops us off right at the tool booth on the Golden Gate Bridge.

We then walk underneath the bridge, through a tunnel, and over to the side that allows us to have amazing views of the San Francisco Bay.

We ended up getting there pretty early and decided to grab some coffee and talk with the staff about the Golden Gate Bridge, their jobs, and their dreams.

There were two men there and they both talked about how they will move out of San Francisco when they retire, as it has become quite expensive.  It is sad since they love their jobs but can’t really afford to live in San Francisco anymore.  They both stated that the best part of their job is being able to interact with people from all over the world and to make so many friends.

Both of them said they were probably going to end up overseas, in some place like Costa Rica or elsewhere, when we brought up we were planning on traveling there in about 6 months.

It is interesting to me how many people are talking about leaving San Francisco, because of the financial burden of living there, and where they are thinking of going and what they want in their lives as they make this change.

It seems as if a lot of people are being “forced” to make a change but are also quite excited about this change as it allows them to figure out what is really important to them and their dreams.

These are the kind of people we want to work with helping them figure this out when we debut our new website.

As 11 am arrived, we walked over to the Joseph Strauss statue (no relation to Levi Strauss of Levi pants fame) and noticed our guide was already there.  Dan Tussey was a very friendly, happy and welcoming person and probably the best person to introduce newcomers, and even locals like ourselves, to the Golden Gate Bridge.  He does 4 walking tours a month, one a week, and rotates the tours so that he does each one each month.  So, this was his once a month tour of the bridge.  He also does City Hall, the Gold Rush and one other.  The City Guides also don’t get paid so this is a very generous gift that he, and the other city guides, give back to this beautiful and magical city.  They do ask for a $5 donation, to keep City Guides running (with a paid staff of 2 people) which is more than fair.  We, of course, gave $10 for the two of us at the end of the tour.

 

 

About 15 people, from all over the world, ended up being on the tour with us and Dan told us historical facts that neither of us knew.  I’m not surprised I didn’t know them but I was surprised that Jill didn’t.  Her site is so well researched that she usually knows as much, if not more, than most the tours we go on at this point.  She did, however, give Dan a few new facts that he didn’t know because he hadn’t done the tour for over 2 months and things have changed since then.  One wouldn’t think that this bridge would have many changes in 2 months, but it does, and Jill and he had a great time discussing some of them as we walked around with the crowd.

We went out to the vista point and looked over the SF Bay.  It was a very windy, and for San Francisco, cold day but we did our best.  Since we are minimizing, I only have a fleece jacket at this point.  It is something that I will probably keep as long as possible because I earned it by completing the Hopi Reservation 100 mile challenge.  This is a challenge, to anyone that wants to join, to walk or run 100 miles over 4 months time.  There is a lot of diabetes issues on the Hopi Reservation and this is one way to help reduce it and encourage people to be more healthy.  I’ve had this fleece for about 6 years and I love it.  Luckily it was just warm enough to keep me from freezing.  And I rarely get cold so you can believe the wind was howling today on the Golden Gate Bridge.

We also walked over by the cable installation so Dan could show us how many cables were strung together to build the massive main cables that run all the way across the bridge.  In case you didn’t know, each of these two cables runs the whole way, without a break, across the bridge.  They go up to the top of each tower, and then drop back down to lock into the bases on either side of the bridge.  The main cable is about 3.5 feet wide and utterly impressive.

After that, we walked on to the bridge and up to the first tower.  Dan told us more about the bridge, including the number of people that have committed suicide, which is about 1,600 at this point, and that people usually commit suicide every 2 or 3 weeks by jumping off of it.  I saw a report that 2014 had about 1 a week commit suicide off of the bridge and no one knows why there has been an increase.  I won’t hazard a guess.

The bridge is truly a monument to beauty, and for some reason, one to suicide also.  I think the reason for that is it is so iconic and it is a pull for people to memorialize themselves and “fly away” to some place better.  They are going to put in a suicide barrier, at some point, and I’m glad that they will because studies show that iconic places, like the Golden Gate Bridge, do actually represent something special to people committing suicide and when they are stopped from doing it, they don’t use other means to kill themselves.  There really is something special about places like this and spending some money to save peoples’ lives is more than worth it.

As we walked back to the vista point, we talked more about the bridge and Jill, Dan and I talked about Jill’s site and we gave him a card to check it out.  He was incredibly sweet and said, “You should be tour guides” but after we told him about our idea to do this work from the beach, he agreed that we had a more interesting plan.

Last note: I highly recommend the City Guides of San Francisco Walking Tours to anyone that is visiting San Francisco.  I would definitely recommend finding a tour that Dan is running as he is an incredible tour leader and has a wealth of knowledge.

 

 

Day 602 OUT OF Beijing: SF Tourism Tips and SiteSell.

 

Jill's Success Story on SiteSell.  Picture by yours truly.

Jill’s Success Story on SiteSell.

 

Jill has been building her SF Tourism Tips website, and business, for about 5 years.

It has become successful enough for us to do it full time and for me to quit my job as an “office based psychotherapist.”

I may, at some point, start doing psychotherapy, over the internet, but I doubt I will ever work in an office again.

After working for a few major corporations, Jill also doesn’t want to be stuck in an office anymore.

The company that hosts her site, and her business, is called SiteSell.

From what she’s told me, using their website, and learning all about SEO, how to build a site, and how to find succcess, has been invaluable to her.

There have definitely been tough times, and times when she did want to give up, especially while we were in China and the internet was almost impossible to use, but she didn’t.  I made sure she knew that this was her future and that she had spent so much time, and energy, that to quit now would have been a loss and going back to the corporate world, working 80-100 hours a week, just to make money to accumulate things we don’t want, was a major step backwards in our future plans together.  I was working and making enough money for use to survive in Beijing so even if she didn’t make any money, it would have been okay with me.  As long as she believed in what she was doing and kept at it.

Luckily for both of us, she did.

Actually, luck had nothing to do with it.

It was 100% perseverance, determination and a desire to not fall into a past routine that would have made both of us miserable and unfulfilled with our lives and choices.

Jill has also been using SiteSell’s forums to help other people achieve their dreams and figure out how to better their business/website models.  This is something she does for free and one of the true benefits of using SiteSell: They have a massive forum that is very lively and people really try to help each other succeed.  I haven’t seen this on the other web hosting sites and I’m glad Jill decided to use SiteSell when she started.

According to her own knowledge and experience, she jokingly states that she has almost achieved a Master’s degree in building a business online without having to go to college and have massive student debts.

The beauty is that anyone that wants to do this can do the same.  It does take a lot of hard work, and effort, but most goals worth achieving do.

Jill’s hard work is really starting to pay off.  She had her first $5,000 month in December.  Not only that, but after she posted that on the forum, she actually ended up making a December total of $6,600!

Consider that in February, she only made $150 and yet 12 months later, she was not at $6,600!

The owner, Ken Evoy, noticed this and decided to write a blog post about Jill.

After writing the blog post, he decided to feature her as a “Success Story.”

Jill is now featured on their Facebook page!

Jill is now featured on their Facebook page!

This all happened in just the past few weeks and it was because Jill decided not to give up, to keep working hard, and to be okay with some failure as long as the long term goals are still in focus.

That is what it takes to run an online business and not give up.  Lots of perseverance.

There is still a long way for us to go to get to our dream level of “success” but we are on the right path and will continue to do whatever we need to get there.

If you are interested in learning more about how Jill was able to do this, check out the article linked below and feel free to contact us.  We want to help others live their dreams and figure out what is right for them and how they can achieve it.

Jill’s Success Story on SiteSell.

And if you want to sign up for SiteSell and start your own website, click on this SF Tourism Tips – About Jill page and it will take you directly to the information page for SiteSell once you click it.

 

Jill at the Golden Gate Bridge for SiteSell’s Success Story article.  Taken by yours truly.

 

 

 

Day 600 OUT OF Beijing: More Minimization And 600 Blog Posts.

 

The rare, and gorgeous, albino peacock.

The rare, and gorgeous, albino peacock.

 

I’m going to take a little break in our San Francisco Tourism Tips update day and jump forward in time one week.  I’ll return to our dairy of what we did in San Francisco after this post.

I also realized that I’ve done 600 blog posts in 600 days.  What started out as a fun idea has continued for over 1.5 years and I’m rather amazed at how well it has been received by my readers.  Thanks so much for your comments, support and questions.  You continue to inspire me to write of Jill and my experiences, dreams, and travels.

It is one of the fun parts of writing this blog in advance of it posting, instead of the same day, so I can change it up or add things that I believe will interest people reading this website.

Jill and I have been working on minimizing, as many of you know, and she finally emptied out and closed down her storage area.

She had it, amazingly, for almost 4 years.  This includes the last 1.5 years of her living in China with me and not having any ability to even use anything inside of it.  That means major need for minimization since almost everything in it would have been deemed as “wasted space and material” according to my “if you don’t use it within 6 months of packing it up, it is to be donated/sold/recycled” rule.  This rule is based on the idea that if you pack something up, thinking you need it at some point, and yet don’t need it within 6 months, you can get rid of it.  I actually am down to a 3 month rule for myself but I’m pretty hardcore about minimization.  Jill agrees with me on the 3 month rule also.

Jill spent the weekend clearing out her storage area and donating about 2 car loads of clothes to charity.  She also got rid of electronics like a massive old tv and other stuff.

We gave her friend, Leslie, a fantastic mattress and bed set worth about $3,000 since she let Jill stay with her, and is letting us stay with her, for free.  We feel that a major part of being upwardly mobile vagabonds is to pay your way.  This means if people won’t take payment for staying at their houses (and most of our friends and family won’t) you either buy food, resources or give them things that they want and like that we don’t need.  This way everyone benefits and things aren’t wasted.

Leslie had an old bed that she wanted to get rid of so this was a perfect fit.  I put the frame and mattress up on Craigslist.org’s free list and the frame was gone within minutes.  The mattress?  Not so much.

We waited a day and no one wanted it so we took it to the San Anselmo dump.  We tried to recycle it but they wouldn’t take it and it was pretty beat up so we decided to throw it away.

After we did that, we started to drive away and saw this amazing collection of peacocks that live around the dump and just hang out there.  There were also some chickens walking around and a pig farm right down the road.

It had to be the oddest collection of animals, around a dump, that I’ve ever seen.

As I was taking pictures of the peacocks, Jill started pointing to my right and telling me, “Look at the white one!”  I wasn’t sure what she meant but then I scanned over and saw this amazing white peacock.

Sadly, it didn’t flair out its tail and show its feathers to us.  Maybe if I go back again it will.

 

Day 595 OUT OF Beijing: Cable Cars, Alcatraz and Clam Chowder.

 

A cable car getting ready to leave on its journey.

A cable car getting ready to leave on its journey.

 

As Jill and I hopped off the bus, we knew we had a number of places to visit today and needed to be time sensitive since we had so much to do and research for SF Tourism Tips.

The first place we needed to visit was the Aquatic Park area and get a few pictures, and videos, of the cable cars there.

It would be a long day of walking all along the Embarcadero and this would be a perfect first stop.

The Buena Vista Cafe, which is world famous for its Irish Coffee was right across the street but we decided we’d wait a bit and take our time before imbibing as we planned to hit a few of the new breweries later in the day.

The cable cars were running, on their usual 10 minute schedule, and we were able to get all the pictures we needed.

We enjoyed just hanging out, watching the fog roll away, and seeing the signs of pure joy on the peoples’ faces as they began their journey on the Cable Cars through the San Francisco hills.

 

Waiting for the journey to begin.

Waiting for the journey to begin.

 

After getting what we needed, we headed down to the waterfront, to grab some breakfast. We had left the house around 6:45 am and it was already about 10 am and we were starting to get a bit hungry.

One our way, we spied Alcatraz prison, off in the distance and shrouded in fog.

As people say, “It is a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

It always amazes me how close Alcatraz is to the shore and yet how desolate it feels when you are there.

It is definitely worth a trip, if you haven’t gone, and worth visiting again if you have!

 

Alcatraz peaks out of the fog.

Alcatraz peaks out of the fog.

 

We walked down Jefferson Street and listened to the barkers as they called out different attractions people could enjoy, like renting bikes or little go-carts, to travel around, and finally got to the area where all the fisherman sell their clam chowder in sourdough bread baskets.

We both love these delicious treats and missed them greatly while we were away.  The clam chowder was delicious and the bread was nice and toasted.  All in all, a perfect way to start our getaway in San Francisco.  It also only cost $7.07 for a meal that filled us both up and warm us up at the same time.

Doing research can be wonderful if you love your job as much as Jill!

 

Delicious Clam Chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl!

Delicious Clam Chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl!

Day 594 OUT OF Beijing: You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til It’s Gone!

 

After coming through the Marin Headlands Tunnels approaching the Golden Gate Bridge.

After coming through the Marin Headlands Tunnels approaching the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

Jill and I ventured into San Francisco today to do more research for SF Tourism Tips.

We love taking the bus in, relaxing while we ride, and just watching the traffic as we pass by it.

Once in a while we get stuck in the traffic, since even the carpool lane is full, but most of the time we have a pretty fast ride and we enjoy sitting in the front seat so we can talk to the bus driver a bit and see the best views.

Most of the other riders are usually reading on their tablets or phones or working away but we prefer to be present in the ride and the enjoyment of being back in Northern California.

You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

We do know what we have because it was gone and now we are back.

At least until February 28th when we head off to Los Angeles.

We’ve already set up plans to see lots of friends and relatives down there and can’t wait to hit Cancun so Jill can see her sister and her sister’s family and I can finally meet some of Jill’s family in person instead of on Skype.  Being that we met 8 days before I left for China, I’ve never met her family, in person, and she’s never met mine.  This will be a fun trip around the USA!

The Bus driver, this morning, seemed a bit grumpy, which was oddly out of place since he looked a lot like Santa Claus with a huge white beard and big belly.

We thought he’d be friendly and happy, since basically every driver we’ve met on the Golden Gate Transit system is incredibly happy and friendly, but he wasn’t.

Since I started out using a silly phrase, might as well use another one: I guess you can’t judge a book by it’s cover also.

We made sure not to ask any questions and just took some pictures and said “Hi” to passengers as they got on and off the bus and most of them replied with the same.

We weren’t in any hurry to get in since we knew exactly what we wanted to do, what times the places we wanted to visit were open and when we wanted to be home.

It is a wonderful way to live a carefree life and even though it seems as if it is all easy, it isn’t.

Jill puts in many hours of work, especially over the last 4 years, to make her site well respected and easy to use for tourists and locals alike.

She receives a lot of compliments, on her page and on her Facebook page, about how well it is put together and how “real and down home” it is.  That is something Jill specifically worked at instead of just being the generic, “This is what you want to see and do” kind of site that so many other people have built.  It took many hours of walking, busing, and hiking around San Francisco and it still continues to each day.

The fact that she continued to build the site, and her business, while living in China for 1.5 years just goes to show that incredible research, photographs and knowledge that she had stored up in her mind and her computer.

Now that we are back, we will be updating a lot of stuff and building even more pages because we are so excited to help people see more about San Francisco and see it through our eyes so that they can then see it through their own.

 

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Karl the Fog in the distance.

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Karl the Fog in the distance.

 

Day 593 OUT OF Beijing: Hidden Gems of SF Tourism Tips.

 

A close up of the Giant Buddha on the second level of the Hua Zang Si Buddhist Temple.

A close up of the Giant Buddha on the second level of the Hua Zang Si Buddhist Temple.

 

Jill’s site, SF Tourism Tips, is in a never ending process of being updated and improved.  Jill wanted to update her “Hidden Gems” page and so we decided to head into San Francisco for the day.

I really admire Jill’s trait of never being happy with “enough” and always wanting to better her site and the experience for the people that visit it and want to learn more about San Francisco and how to improve their trip to our lovely city.

We went into San Francisco, by Golden Gate Transit from Petaluma, and then walked around the rest of the day.  We did have to catch one bus ($2.25 USD) to the Columbarium in the Richmond District, but otherwise all our travel was on foot and for free.  Since we are car-less, we didn’t have to pay a toll to get into SF ($6 USD on the GG Bridge), parking ($2-3 USD per hour) or deal with worries about car crashes, gas, or tickets.  The cost to get into SF on Golden Gate transit was $10.75 per person.  A very good exchange for comfort, relaxation and 1.75 hours to either talk or check emails as we rode in on a very comfortable and clean bus.

A longer shot of the bridge with the new movable divider on the left.

A longer shot of the bridge with the new movable divider on the left.

This is also part of our frugal living in that we want to see how realistic it is to live car-less and only use mass transit.  We actually really enjoy mass transit and we’ve met some wonderful people who are traveling around the world and living a upwardly mobile vagabond life like we are at the same time.  I also had a great conversation with a bus driver that will be retiring in one year and his hopes to do a ’round-the-world trip right after his job is over.  We talked about where to go, what to see, and I sent him some links on how to get great deals on flights and cruises.  I’m hoping we catch the same bus he drives, again, and we can see how he has progressed on his plans!

Our first stop was the Columbarium and it was magnificent.  It is one grave site in San Francisco that is taking interments and it is kept up beautifully.  Harvey Milk’s memorial is there as is Carlos Santana’s father’s ashes.  There are also many other people, and memorials, that are stunning and touching.  It sounds a bit strange to think of this as a place to visit and enjoy, but it is, and we actually were there during an interment and the family and friends were quite joyous and happy.  If you are interested in seeing it, make sure to call ahead and ask for Emmit to give you a tour.  He has been with the Columbarium for many, many years and knows stories and the history like no one else.  We will have a tour when we go back next time with him to learn more about this amazing structure and final resting place.

We walked over to Pizza Orgasmica and had their lunch special of salad, beer and a pizza for $10.50 each.  It was delicious and utterly filling.  I also was able to check in on one of my favorite apps, Untappd, and add the beers that Jill and I tried for lunch.  It is a fun social app and keeps track of how many beers you’ve had and gives badges for different categories.

Jill's pesto pizza.  Yummy!

Jill’s pesto pizza. Yummy!

 

We then headed down to Hua Zang Si Buddhist Temple.  This is a Buddhist Temple in the middle of the Mission District.  That, alone, would make sure it is a hidden gem.  It was originally a Lutheran Church and later became a temple.  We were blown away by the two Buddhas, especially that massive one on the second level, and the friendliness of the monks that were at the temple that day.  Most of them didn’t speak a lot of English but they seemed so happy and content that words weren’t needed to express what they were feeling.  As we walked back outside into the Mission District, we saw this gorgeous mural of Carlos Santana.  The cultures are so different and yet they are side by side.

 

After the temple, we headed down to Southern Pacific Brewery in the SOMA district.  Again, this was all just walking around and seeing the sites so we could experience it as if we were tourists and make sure to give people a “true to life” impression of what they can expect as they cruise around the Streets of San Francisco.  By the way, where are Mike Douglas and Karl Malden when you need them?

Our refreshing beers at Southern Pacific Brewing.

Our refreshing beers at Southern Pacific Brewing.

 

This brewery is only about 3 years old and it is inside a very cool tin roof hangar type building.  The beer is good and the food seems to be fairly priced.  We didn’t eat any food while we were there but had a great time talking to the bartender and just digging the atmosphere.  It will be added to a new page Jill is writing about all the different brewpubs in San Francisco.  Did you know there are over 15 at this point with 10 more scheduled to open during 2015?

By the way, this was also the same day we say the Austin Healey and the Tiny Tesla I’ve just posted about.  There is so much to do in San Francisco when you just walk and observe so check out SF Tourism Tips and find out all the newest information for all your San Francisco tips!

Day 592 OUT OF Beijing: Frugal Eating Habits and Mi Pueblo.

 

buritto1burritoJill and I continue to hone our skills at being frugal and living the life we want to live.

This includes eating out and having food that is delicious and adds to our enjoyment of life.

As we stay in Petaluma, there is a wonderful Mexican restaurant about 1 mile from our house.

Mi Pueblo is a privately owned restaurant, at about 5 locations, and the food is very fairly priced.

Jill and I are also trying to get in better shape, and being around guacamole and sour cream, which we love, is not the best way to do this.

Luckily, as most of you know, in the USA, serving portions are HUGE.

This is especially true at Mi Pueblo.

They also give you free chips and salsa when you sit down.

I can not say enough positive reviews about the chips and salsa.  There are also about 6 different types of salsas you can choose from and tempt yourself with before your meal arrives at your table.

My favorite is an avocado mix that is utterly delicious.

Since we know that the burritos are massive at Mi Pueblo, we ask them to cut it in half so we can share it.

They were more than  happy to oblige and even served them on different plates with the extras smothering our carnitas burrito.

It was more than enough food for both of us and Jill wasn’t even able to finish her burrito.

The total for all this food?  About $12 USD.

We didn’t have to eat for another 5 hours because there was so much food and it was so tasty.

It also gave us time to slow down, relax, and enjoy the meal and the freshness of the food and quality of the ingredients.

This is another part of being healthy, mentally and physically, that we are working on each day:  Slow down and accept what is given to you.  And, if you don’t like it, move on and make a change.

We are accepting and making changes at the same time.

We will also be teaching people how to do this, with our new website, when it is ready to show to the world in a month or so.  Our books will be a part of this and also using online seminars and groups.

We are excited and can’t wait to share it with everyone in the near future!