Historical Landmarks You Can Ride

San Francisco has a number of iconic landmarks  –  the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, the Ferry Building  –  but only one is also a transportation system.  The famous San Francisco cable cars have been around since before the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, taking natives and visitors alike from the spine of The City, Market Street to the edge of the Bay, or what was once the western edge of San Francisco itself.  Although what you see today is only a fraction of the system that once served much of the hilly city, riding the cable car is, for many, a San Francisco must. When I was a boy (and you could ride the bus or trolley for 10 cents, the cable car was just a more fun way of getting around.  It also just cost 10 cents, and was used by ordinary people as public transportation.  If you wanted to get to Nob Hill, Chinatown, North Beach, or Fisherman’s Wharf, and didn’t want to drive (or didn’t have a car), you took the cable car.  Well, the price has gone up a bit (to $5), and there are a lot more tourists than San Franciscans now, but if you visit SF, whether as a student at EC San Francisco , or just to see the sights, if I were you, I’d spend the money and ride this bit of Living History.

Amazing Thai food (veggie) near downtown San Francisco

Thai Ideal (Polk St. near Eddy) came about because of the number of requests at the traditional Thai parent restaurant in Foster City for vegetarian/vegan entrees.  I found the Foster City location nearly by accident, when I was looking for anyplace to get vegetarian/vegan food near San Francisco airport.  While Foster City isn’t “near,” the drive was well worth it.  While I haven’t tried the SF location yet, I can’t imagine it would disappoint. Simply put, this is the best Thai food I’ve ever had.  For a vegetarian, the security of knowing that there is no meat in the kitchen adds tranquility to the meal, as does the elegant decor and soothing music.  When we went there, we were hoping for an OK meal.  We got an unexpected treat.  I’m looking forward to a chance to try the Polk Street location.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll meet you there.

Stock phrases and phrasals, from your friends at EC, a top San Francisco English school

After the basics of grammar are mostly in place, the ongoing work is in vocabulary.  However, you can’t negotiate English without fairly extensive knowledge of phrasal verbs, and stock phrases, and these vary considerably from one English-speaking nation to another, or even regionally within one country.  So, here are some American idioms, phrases and phrasals using “egg.”  (I just chose this at random.) You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.    [in doing something good, you may cause some harm to the innocent] to egg on                       [to encourage a behavior]        The crowd egged him on. an egghead                   [an intellectual]                           Conservatives criticize Obama for being an egghead. to egg (something)     [to throw eggs at]                         His house was egged after he lost the game. a rotten egg                  [something bad]                          She thought her boss was a real rotten egg. don’t put all your eggs in one basket                              [don’t depend on only one resource/investment/romantic hope, etc.] don’t count your chickens before they are hatched     [don’t depend on a future that may not happen]  –  Okay, it’s not eggs, but it’s related! I’m sure there are more, but it’s late.  For more hints and help, follow this blog, and visit our website.  We’re part of the EC English chain, and we are happy to serve you as a San Francisco English school.

A Big Day for EC San Francisco!

We are a young school, just a few weeks over 3 years old.  We started with our Center Director, Cindy (who is still with us), one support staffer, two part-time teachers, and a handful of students.  So it’s a big deal for us that this week, for the first time, we topped 200 students taking classes with us in our lovely San Francisco facility. At the risk of sounding like a cheap advertisement, EC San Francisco is simply a great place to study English!  I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, and this is far and away the most ideal environment for student growth that I have seen.  Our facility is up-to-date, with good technological support, our teachers are experienced, motivated, and responsive to student feedback, and our support staff is warm and helpful.  And all of our students are now learning “smarter” and faster with our interactive “Smart Boards.”  Follow this link to EC San Francisco , to find out more about our school, or check out other EC locations worldwide, where you can get the same great support for your English learning needs.

Off the Beaten Track near Yosemite

Yosemite Valley is justifiably one of the “must see” places in California (or, indeed, North America) if you love mountains.  But “The Valley” represents only a tiny fraction of Yosemite National Park, and Yosemite itself represents only a tiny fraction of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  And while most of the “high country” of the park can only be reached on foot, one can drive up out of the valley, and across the mountains over the highest Sierra pass, to arrive close to the Nevada border, on US Highway 395, which goes from the Mojave Desert in Southern California, all the way to the Canadian border.  While this highway provides fantastic scenery for its entire length, this “Off the Beaten Track” will concentrate on the area near the junction with the road from Yosemite, the Tioga Pass Road. The Nevada side of the mountains is dry, and one of the scenic wonders of the area is Mono Lake.  Although several streams run into the lake, none run out, but evaporation keeps the lake from rising.  The desert environment of the Mono basin gives the lake a stark beauty, very different from the meadows, trees, river, and waterfalls of Yosemite Valley.  A few miles from Mono Lake is the June Lake Loop road, the leads past several semi-desert mountain lakes to the popular tourist town of June Lake.  Anyone wishing a bit of variety on an extended trip to Yosemite will find the Tioga Pass to Mono Lake (and June Lake) journey well worth while.  For those wanting a longer road trip, 395 southbound will take you through the lovely town of Bishop (great bakeries!), and eventually get you to Los Angeles.  Going north, you can reach Lake Tahoe or Reno, Nevada in half a day, or continue on to Susanville, looping … Read more

Rising to the challenge at EC San Francisco English school

This week has seen a transit strike by the heavy rail carrier (BART) that carries 400,000 workers, students, shoppers, and tourists to San Francisco and around the area every day.  Our staff at EC San Francisco English school has done its utmost to provide EC students with the high quality, reliable instruction that is the standard of EC worldwide.  My normal one hour round-trip commute has become three hours, and one of our teachers today spent 4 hours getting to class to teach a 3 hour class.  We are getting up earlier, and getting to bed later, to guarantee our students that they will leave EC San Francisco feeling that their experience was both positive, and memorable. At the same time, the area is experiencing an unusual heat wave (San Francisco temperatures close to 80 F, inland as high as 110), and we are proud to have gone to a more complex summer schedule as our relatively new school has surpassed 200 students at one time, for the first time in our 3 years.  Students and staff alike are taking all the changes in stride. No matter what complications arise, ECSF is dedicated to serving the needs of our students.  We are therefore proud to announce the opening of our own student housing, located in the historic and vibrant Mission District.  Take a look at our web page for more details.  I’ve been there, and it looks great.  Don’t miss the wonderful 360 degree view from the roof!