Family vacations can feel like a boring obligation. Especially with teenagers who would rather spend their summer days on the beach tanning with friends than on a vacation with dear old mom and dad. Being an expert on this subject, I expected no less of the vacation to San Francisco that my parents planned to take me and my little brother Alex on. Yet, I was about to discover that my last family vacation before going off to college would be the best.
When I arrived in the heart-stopping metropolis of San Francisco, I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing. Located in Western California, San Francisco is a peninsula that lies between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. The weather ranged from a high of 65 degrees to a low of 54 degrees. I knew I was a long way from humid Florida the moment I stepped off the plane!
The rich diversity that the city offered was a culture shock for my brother and I. Every place we encountered stressed equality of all people and peace throughout the world. The Golden Gate bridge is a majestic icon that proves to be as breathtaking as the Empire State Building. It tells the story of The Gold Rush that transformed the small port town into a thriving metropolis. Haight-Ashbury is the historic site of the 1960’s “Summer of Love” and hippie movement. My parents lived through the 1960’s and shared their memories of this time. This brought us closer together on our trip.
A must see of San Francisco’s many treasures is Chinatown. Chinatown is known for it’s inexpensive shopping, but also has a rich history. It is a great way to experience China without having to travel the distance. Swords, dragon decorations, and lo mein noodles are just some of what can be found at the variety of stores. The people were friendly and helpful.
Another amazing experience my family encountered was the mode of transportation. We got to ride a cable car up and down the elevated terrain of San Francisco. Lombard street, the most the most crooked in the world, is difficult to even walk down. Imagine riding a cable car down or even living in one of the house on the street!
On our last day we visited Japan Center. All around the area there were wishing trees. On these trees, people hung pieces of paper with inscriptions of wishes they have for the future. These were so inspirational that each of us decide to write one. My parents each wrote how they wish the best for their children and that we accomplish whatever we want to in life. Alex wrote how he wished to do well in school, make it into the All-State band program, and go to college. I wrote a simple poem that described what I wished for the future.
“I wish I wish I was a fish. A giving tree or a sweet, soft kiss. The summer breeze, a red-yellow leaf, the sun that shines, a light that guides the human race to a better life. The truth, the light, and the way.”
I will never forget the places I explored, the things I learned, or the people I encountered. Most of all I will never forget the unbelievable fun I had with my family and how important family vacations really are.
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