Don’t know what bus or street car to get on? Confused about the best way to get to Union Square? Want to find the best wine bar in the neighborhood? The best way to get an answer is to ask someone.
People love sharing their knowledge. Think about it: how often in your daily life does someone ask for your opinion or expertise? And how much fun is it when someone does ask, and you get to share your information?
The most common question concerns directions. If you’re confused, ask someone. (By the way, get a better map than the crappy one you got at the hotel. See my post about this.) They will be glad to give you the best way there. This also applies to getting on the right bus or streetcar. San Franciscan’s love to help with public transportation. It’s our main topic of conversation, right after restaurants. For fun, next time you’re on a bus or streetcar, ask advice about the best way to get somewhere. You’ll have five eager people getting involved in the discussion, and agreeing on the best way, or offering you a couple of alternatives.
The asking rule also applies to places to eat, drink, or sites to see. My wife and I were recently in New York, and weren’t having luck on The Google Machine coming up with an answer to the question that is usually first on my list: Is there a good wine bar in the neighborhood? (Yes, the Google Machine is an option, and I use it all the time. But human beings are better.) So I asked the people staffing the front desk at an art gallery. They gave me detailed descriptions of 3 wine bars in the area, explaining the differences in food, atmosphere, and selection. And best of all, they were so happy to share their knowledge of local watering holes.
You can also use the ask trick if you want to know about shopping or something interesting to do in a neighborhood.
Shy about approaching someone? So am I sometimes. I make myself get over it. Just start the conversation with “Excuse me, I wonder if you can give me advice about…………..?” Remember, they want to help, and love being asked their opinion.
Guests on their private tour ask me a lot of questions, and I encourage them to keep that up after the tour is over. Ask more, and you’ll see the city like a local, meet a local, and make the day of a local. Asking will enhance your experience of San Francisco.