The sound of cable car bells chimed in the distance as the gripmen practiced for their annual bell ringing contest, and the air outside smelled of chinese food from a small restaurant on the corner. Well, chinese food and gear grease. We were in the middle of everything, right on Powell, the same street the cable cars ran on. The street where I found a new type of freedom – hotels, Union Square, downtown, Chinatown, North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf. You name it, I’d explore it! I went everywhere. I knew which hotels had the best views of the city, and which had the glass elevators that rode on the outside. I knew the back alleyways of Chinatown, and where the little Chinese ladies folded hot fortune cookies by hand. I knew the stores that had a dish of free candy on the counter, and which cable car conductors let me ride for free. I found the funnest hills to skateboard on, and knew which to stay away from.