Day 19: Towed Away and Sailed Away

It pains me to write such an unexpected adventure. I'm still not laughing about it and if you knew how much we had to pay, you'd stop the chuckling pretty fast. Only the guy towing away our van has permission to laugh and shake his head. And I'm not in the mood to meet him anytime soon!
The short of it is that we wanted to take Aunt Lindsey to Chinatown and didn't have much time. And instead of paying the price for public transit, we opted for the cheaper route of meter parking on the street. I did notice a public parking garage that charged $7.50 per hour and knew we could do better than that. So we settled in between two cars on the street and filled the meter with $3.50 in coins to give us a glorious one hour of parking.
Now, I've lived in the city LONG enough to know that you read the signs around you and remember the cross streets of where you parked. So I noticed Grant and Sutter Streets and that I only had one hour. I also noticed the signs up on the street posts that said the times and days for street cleaning and knew we were good there.
WHAT I didn't notice were the stickers down the post of the meter that said "commercial loading zone" and a phone number hotline in case your car is towed.
So we looked closely at our watches and enjoyed the next 54 minutes in Chinatown!

To my regurgitating stomach and shocked eyes, the van was NOT where we left it! I knew it was either towed or stolen and after I read the fine print down the metered pole, I knew the outcome.
I had no cell phone reception (which is very common here in the city) so Lindsey had to call and tell Ben and call to find our van. In a matter of a few hours, Ben had retrieved our van from the Auto Return Yard and had paid the hefty fine. We took public transit back home and did enjoy this sight along the way...

What is say?
A Russian Warship that has docked very close to our home in the SF Bay. It's been 147 years since a Russian Warship had been in the bay. Just this week the Russian President met with our CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at a local hotel in the city.
Even though the day was gloomy and I made a mistake I will not make again, it's the little things like the view of the Russian Warship surprising us on public transit before it sailed away the next day.