One of San Francisco’s writers visits – Life in Russia

Today I’m very excited to introduce you to my very first guest blogger.

She hails from the great city of San Francisco,

I’ve had the pleasure of reading the posts on her blog where she shares about the different places she has been around the world. She has a great writing style and can weave a great story. So without any further ado I will allow her to finish her introduction and share more about the blog she writes.

Hi, I’m Jet Eliot and am honored to be a guest blogger on Steve’s blog today. On my blog,, I write short essays of my favorite travel experiences with hopes of bringing awareness of wildlife and wilderness to a rapidly urbanizing world. My occupation: I write mystery novels in exotic places across the globe, weaving the local culture and wildlife into the plots. My new novel, Murder at the Golden Gate, is due out in 2014 and is set in San Francisco.

Jet-at-GG-Bridge 2

I’ve lived in San Francisco and around the Bay Area for 32 years. As a birder I’ve watched shorebirds, counted hawks, saw my first puffin, observed sea lions, dolphins and whales. As an outdoor enthusiast, I’ve explored wetlands, hiked mountains, ran along the beaches, and enjoyed dozens of boat rides. As a host of the City I’ve entertained guests with boat tours, cable car rides, and given airborne driving tours on some of the world’s craziest hills.

Bay-Bridge 2

Recently we had a new major bridge built in San Francisco. It was an evolution of repairs and changes and after years of studies, repairs, and billions of dollars, it was open to the public last month. The new span is actually only half of the Bay Bridge, the other half was repaired. The trouble all started in 1989 when we had an earthquake so powerful that it tossed the upper level into the lower level, fatally crushing people who happened to be crossing the bridge at that terrifying moment on October 17. Twenty four years later, you can see the new span that looks like a sailboat, and the old span to the left that will be dismantled in the years ahead.

Then there’s the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, the icon of our City. These two major bridges link the City of San Francisco with the East Bay and North Bay communities, allowing passage to the rest of northern California. Nearly 400,000 cars cross these two bridges every day.

SF-Golden-Gate-Bridge 2

The Bay is the pulse of the entire area. But thousands of residents never use a car to get around. By water alone we commute to work, visit friends and family, and attend numerous activities in San Francisco from baseball games to farmers’ markets. There are two major commuter ferries that are used daily, packed with tablet-toting commuters headed to the Financial District. Commuter ferries, sail boats, water taxis, cruise ships, tug boats, fishing boats, commercial ships and barges use the Bay regularly. San Francisco Giants fans have a special ferry on game days.

SF-Ferry-Building 2

And if we’re not crossing bridges or travelling on the water’s surface, we are speeding through the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) tunnel that crosses the expanse under water. It’s a tube that transports commuters, including their bicycles, all over the Bay Area on high speed electric trains. Some people glory in the ease of it, some people complain of faulty telephone reception.

The America’s Cup race was sponsored on the San Francisco Bay this year, and was a big attraction for world visitors as well. Oracle Team USA, and challenger Emirates Team New Zealand raced wing-sail catamarans for the 34th America’s Cup match. The fastest boats in the world, all summer long these enormous sailing vessels could be seen practicing and racing across the Bay, culminating in the final races in September. Many Bay Area residents viewed the races, especially as Team USA came up from behind in a titillating victory.

Alcatraz-with-boat 2

I was on the Bay this past weekend, though it was a somber affair, saying goodbye for the final time to a dear friend. His family chartered a catamaran and early on a Sunday morning before the bay filled with boats, we sailed out beyond the Golden Gate to release his ashes. As we sailed, I stood next to an elderly Swiss man I didn’t know. When we passed under the bridge, he confessed to me he had never been under the Golden Gate Bridge before. As we stretched our necks up, taking in the underbelly of this famous bridge, the utter thrill made us laugh really hard. We all threw flowers in, after the ashes, and a minute later a sea lion playfully poked his head up through the swirl of white roses.

What do I like best about this magnificent Bay? I like that it changes all the time. Tides, coastal fog, earthquakes. The sweeping winds, the setting sun, barking sea lions, squawking gulls, and the endless moaning of the fog horns. For all of us who live or visit, this really is where we leave our heart.

(All photos by Athena Alexander, copyright.)

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If you are interested in being a guest blogger please contact me to talk about the particulars.


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