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Old 12-14-2011, 12:13 AM
 
Location: San Francisco, CA
506 posts, read 890,933 times
Reputation: 311

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I've been living in San Francisco for an entire five days now. Time to share some things I've noticed. (Note: coming from Chicago, here.)

1) The traffic is amazingly bad at times. At one point during the cab ride from the airport (at 5pm) I started to wonder if it was going to cost more than the flight from O'Hare had. Even outside of rush hour, it can get really slow, especially downtown or over the bay bridge. Coming back to the city on the Transbay bus, at 7pm, nearly the whole way was bumper-to-bumper due to an accident.

2) The temperature seems to change very quickly and since it's always hovering around light jacket weather, a +/-10 degree swing is the difference between not needing that jacket, or needing a coat instead. Takes some getting used to. The east bay seemed to get especially cold, fast, once the sun set.

3) Having the local store for cheap household crap be a tourist attraction is kind of a pain. I just want some dang kitchen towels. I never had to fight past German tourists to get to them back when I shopped at Wal-Mart.

4) Grocery and convenience stores have huge liquor sections, compared to what I'm used to.

5) As noted before -- stores close up and streets get quiet really early. After 8 things seem pretty dead outside. Almost nothing is open past 10.

6) There are a few panhandlers and unsavory-seeming types around, but they all tend to hang out on certain streets or corners. Very easy to avoid by just walking a block over.

7) Also, in my particular area (Lower Pac Heights) the presence of these unsavory types doesn't seem to indicate any notable level of crime. I don't see cars broken into, and old ladies, and women with children walk around alone, carefree.

8) If you don't just obliviously walk out into the crosswalk at stop signs and green lights, and instead pause to check that it's safe, drivers assume you're not crossing.

That said, there are occasional drivers who go right through stop signs and red lights. Usually while on the phone.

9) It is really hard to hail a cab. I assume people generally use an app to summon one? They all drove right past me when I waved (in SOMA), and most of them were empty. Well, one guy waved his sandwich at me like, "I'm too busy eating to pick you up," I guess. Tooooootally not like Chicago, where the cabs stalk you if you stand still for a moment. Bleah. Makes the whole carless thing a bit more difficult.

10) Two friends have already been probing my husband and I for potential recruitment. (Programming/engineering work, of course.) And it's only two so far because I haven't been in contact with anyone else yet.

11) Everyone seems reasonably friendly. People sometimes chat in elevators and occasionally nod/smile on the streets. Service in restaurants and stores has been good.

12) The hills don't seem as bad as they did when I visited. I must be getting used to them.

13) One problem with moving to a place where I am used to vacationing is that I feel like I'm on a permanent vacation! It's hard to get myself back to thinking work.
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:19 AM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 10,475,355 times
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Always take BART if you can. Yeah, traffic sucks especially during rush hour. SF really fills up with cars during the daytime, especially if you're in the northern and northeastern parts of the city. This makes riding the bus suck too. Drivers can definitely suck here, a lot of them blow through corners and stop signs, usually because they're "checking their messages" instead of paying attention to make sure they aren't plowing through a bunch of schoolkids. Either that or they try to go around a corner when you aren't done walking through it, and they honk a bunch because you aren't jumping out of their way. I assume they're lame suburbanites who "just can't wait" to go get on the bridge and sit in traffic. I give them the stinkeye when they do this. Drivers do it all the time on Market and Mission in downtown.

Getting a cab shouldn't be too bad, they mostly hover around certain streets though and don't really hang around in residential areas. There's always some blocks that are way better than others for catching a cab. There's probably an app or you could just get the numbers of some local cab companies, Yellow is 333-3333.

The lack of a one-stop shop in SF for basic household stuff really sucks, you can end up going to 10 different places and none of them have what you need. Walgreens can be pretty good but their selection is totally erratic. There's a lot of dollar stores in the Mission on Mission with useful stuff but it's a sketchy area and you never know what they'll have for sale. The Bed Bath and Beyond in SOMA is ok but overpriced, but at least it's not out in the burbs. Maybe get Zipcar and take a trip to the Target in Colma.
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:53 AM
 
Location: A bit further north than before
1,574 posts, read 2,876,451 times
Reputation: 1284
The cab problem is that there aren't enough cabs given the size of the city - they restrict the number of medallions, and cab companies have been fighting plans to increase them because it'll reduce their margins.

You think it's bad now, wait until New Years Eve!
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
24,986 posts, read 24,786,498 times
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Try Uber.com to get car service. You text and one shows up in 10-15 minutes. The price doesn't seem too awful.
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
24,986 posts, read 24,786,498 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isebiel View Post

2) The temperature seems to change very quickly and since it's always hovering around light jacket weather, a +/-10 degree swing is the difference between not needing that jacket, or needing a coat instead. Takes some getting used to. The east bay seemed to get especially cold, fast, once the sun set.
This is especially try over the hill. In Oakland/Berkeley it is not so bad. Go to Walnut Creek/Concord/Dublin/Pleasanton/Lafayette and they have relatively frequent frost on winter mornings.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:07 AM
 
Location: In them thar hills
12,825 posts, read 17,600,869 times
Reputation: 10667
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isebiel View Post

2) The temperature seems to change very quickly and since it's always hovering around light jacket weather, a +/-10 degree swing is the difference between not needing that jacket, or needing a coat instead. Takes some getting used to. The east bay seemed to get especially cold, fast, once the sun set.
Relative humidity is often widely varying between morning (high) and nightfall (low). That results in very rapid loss of heat from the lower atmosphere into the upper atmosphere / space.


Quote:
5) As noted before -- stores close up and streets get quiet really early. After 8 things seem pretty dead outside. Almost nothing is open past 10.
City dwellers - gotta get up at 5:30AM for my run / yoga / zumba / mumba bumba! All that partying stuff is for the Neanderthals I left back East! /sarc

Suburbanites - gotta get home to catch all the GREAT STUFF on my big screen TV, before it gets too late at night! / sarc
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:28 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
1,472 posts, read 2,715,012 times
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Big town with lots of variation. I hop on the L line MUNI out here in the Sunset, ride to my job downtown (which takes "only" 45 minutes if I'm lucky), reverse the order at 4:30 PM, cook dinner at home and play video games after. On Wednesdays I might hit a local restaurant on this side of town. The weekends I'll go to the Inner Sunset or Castro, but that's about as far as I get. I almost never go downtown when I'm not working. The only time I do traditional tourist stuff is showing out of town friends around.

Some of us live pretty darned ordinary lives (especially when you're from here and aren't affected by the place).
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:36 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
330 posts, read 587,323 times
Reputation: 321
A few remarks:

-Regarding the weather, I've realized its almost useless to look at the temperature alone without evaluating other factors. Yesterday I was sitting on Ocean Beach, enjoying the scenery and the waves crashing, in no more than jeans and a cotton t-shirt. Probably the nicest day I've seen on OB in my 10+ visits there, over a stretch from April to the present.

Then I pull out my phone and check the temperature, and it says "52 degrees". It sure as hell did not feel 52 degrees. But since the sun was shining, and no wind, it felt beautiful. I've been thru days here in July where weather.com will tell you its 65 degrees, but since its fogged over and windy it feels like about 40.

Obviously this phenomenon (where factors like sun, fog, wind, etc...have more bearing on comfort than temperature) is not unique to San Francisco. BUT, I do think it plays a MUCH bigger factor here.

-I love Lower Pac Heights/The Fillmore. Cool neighborhood. Love walking down Fillmore street and catching a jazz show.

-Regarding the lack of all-purpose big-box stores: This didn't really hit me until I slacked on doing my laundry and was thus looking for a pair of underwear. I seriously think there's not a place in all of North Beach or Chinatown where you can find a standard pair of men's Hanes underwear. I certainly looked. Learned my lesson on that one!

Coming from a suburban environment, I definitely took Targets and Wal-Marts for granted. All things considered though, I'm still glad they don't have them in SF.
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:28 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 10,475,355 times
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The weather will literally change block by block. In summer, Kearny is usually sunny and warm while Montgomery is really windy and cold. Even when it's sunny it's so windy that it's still cold, SF is just really windy especially from spring until late summer. September and October are generally the hottest months of the year though you probably already know this. This last October was amazing, it was 75 to 80 almost every day except for a few cold rainy days early on.

The air here is just really dry, I think that and the wind patterns from the Pacific are why it gets so cold at night, no matter what time of year it is. Even if it's warm during the day in Oakland it's pretty much always chilly at night, sometimes in August I gotta turn my heater on for a few minutes here and there.
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:56 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
801 posts, read 1,920,305 times
Reputation: 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Try Uber.com to get car service. You text and one shows up in 10-15 minutes. The price doesn't seem too awful.
Especially since they bumped up the cab fares earlier this fall. I did a price comparison of using Uber to get to the airport from the city and the flat rate that they charged was just a touch more than what we paid for our cab (fare + tip).
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