Lands End, probably the most gorgeous place I’ve ever witnessed. It’s almost like at a digitally drawn art piece, with colours so perfectly balanced, every tree, rock and stone placed at its position with precision and the sunny skies that magnifies the already present grandeur.

I can’t remember how long I stood at the top of the Lands End trail head, trying hard to absorb every inch of beautiful detail. It’s like there’s suddenly so much colours, tones and shades that your eyes just can’t seem to keep up with.

I knew that Lands End is one of the popular hiking/biking trails in San Francisco, and that it boasts awesome scenery of coastlines and the Golden Gate Bridge from afar. But I didn’t expect it to be so, so gorgeous. I can’t even find sufficiently appropriate adjectives to describe that place. I think I took something like 200 over photos just during that few hours when I hiked the trail, though I know viewing a million shots of Lands End can never substitute being physically there. (I’ll deal with those 200 photos tomorrow, or maybe the day after.)

At the trail head was the Sutro Bath Ruins, and to get down there (it’s seriously steep) you can take this seemingly unlimited flight of stairs, or well, slide down the spongy grass. The latter sounds crazy, yes, but I saw kids (like tiny ones) happily sitting on the grass and sliding down the grass to the area below. For a moment I panicked when I saw a couple of kids going down. That slope is insanely steep, from where I was standing, within half a second those kids disappeared into the green mash below. And their mom just sat there and watched. I didn’t know if I found admiration for the mother or for her kids.

Never in the right mind would I ever do something like that. It’s scary even just looking down from the edge, never mind treating it like some Big Splash ride. And those kids did it without harboring second thought.

I realized how brave we all used to be when we were kids. Like when I was in Seattle I was thinking the same thing while watching little kids ice skate at Seattle Center’s skating rink. Kids, though so tiny in size, have such huge courage. It doesn’t seem to bother them that learning ice skating means falling down a lot and falling down could hurt. They skate a little, fall, get up, and keep trying over and over. Some fall so hard that bystanders at the outskirts of the rink get startled, but they just pick themselves back up like it was really no big deal.

Somehow as we grow older, we lose that big courage we once had. We think and speculate what-if scenarios before even doing something, imagining worst-case scenarios and planting self-manufactured fear into ourselves. More often than not, many of the things we fear as adults are irrational and silly. We fear heights, we fear animals, we fear authority, we fear our bosses, we fear losing friendships, we fear death, we fear love, we fear heartbreaks, we fear losses. Yeah, sure we had our share of fears as kids. We feared our parents, our teachers, going to school.. But somehow we seemed a lot more resilient and brave than we are now.

I wonder if our greater capacity to think has done us more harm than good; precisely because we are more able to think, comprehend, and analyze, we end up indulging in unnecessary thought processes that complicates every component of life. They always say that kids are more easily contented. That they attain happiness a lot faster than adults. Maybe that’s because as kids we didn’t think that much. When we got MacDonald’s breakfast, we were happy. We didn’t think about that impending load of calories entering our body system. When we felt sad, we cried. We didn’t think about how crying might make us look emotionally weak and vulnerable. When we thought about something, we’d say it out loud. We didn’t think about whether what we were going to say would have repercussions on people around us, or if it would contradict the external image we were trying to upkeep.

As kids, we didn’t care as much about the world; we cared a lot more about ourselves, and we were honest with ourselves. Maybe that’s just all we need to be happy — a little bit of selfishness, and a little more honesty.

So the city came back to life. It’s so scary that the world can be gone in one day and come back the next. Like some mega vacuum cleaner landed on Earth and sucked everyone away and later realized they got the wrong stuff and threw everyone back. Okay that’s a crappy illustration.

I think you can fall in love with every city and say they are all nice but each city has its special definition of nice. I’m not being very objective here, yes I know, but coming from Seattle you can’t help but make comparisons.

San Francisco gives you an older city feel. Buildings, streets and transport systems here honestly seem a little less aesthetically pleasing, like the city has gone through wind wind rain rain (do direct translation to Chinese). It’s like San Francisco’s this big brother city that has gone through and seen more of the roads of life ahead. Nevertheless, that’s first impressions. Maybe I’ll correct that after 4 nights here.

I love San Francisco’s street cars (or maybe street cars in general). They make you feel like you’re on some retarded roller coaster ride. You can close your eyes and almost imagine the car suddenly diving down a steep drop. I like the sound of the street car wheels screaming against the metal tracks when the car turns around a corner. The clanky sounds are like those you hear from old-school bumpy roller coasters. Add that to the fact that I got myself a Muni pass, so I practically spammed street cars all day long.

I realized that all I need is to visit just one awesome place and that makes my day. I could chiong 10 attractions in one day but that has no meaning if none of them made my heart smile inside out. Traveling to me isn’t about ticking off iconic, must-see attractions that you’d find within the top ten To-Do’s on Trip Advisor from your list. I could just visit one special place, even if it’s just one street, and I’d feel like this trip was a blast.

Visiting Lombard Street totally made my day. That street has an insanely steep incline, probably 45degrees, and the famous zig-zag street down Russian Hill was crazy. I think that would be the ultimate course for a driving test. Kudos to the urban planners of that area. Living up there must be like being at the top of the world.