Today there are still ferries coming in and out of the dock, but the building is now mainly a shopping center for foodies! We enjoyed all the free samples of various types of olive oils, chocolates, toffee, bread, cheeses, and so forth, and bought a few things for lunch (including sourdough bread and fancy cheese...you can't go to San Francisco without eating sourdough, right?!)
The rooms were very humid, and were all kept at slightly different temperatures to accommodate the types of plants that were in each one. We tried to stay clear of their carnivorous plants (not that they could really eat us, although it reminded me of that "The Little Shop of Horrors" movie with the monster plant). We enjoyed seeing the plants with enormous leaves (like 3 feet across), and all the orchids. There was a Buddhist monk in his orange robes touring the exhibit the same time we did, which was kind of fun. There was also a guy sitting outside playing the drums, also something I don't see every day.
But, maybe that's part of it's attraction...in a world full of practical, functional things (which I appreciate in my daily life), it can be a nice break to see something that exists solely for beauty, for whimsy, or for fun. That's the type of thing that's just right for vacations.
I've run out of time again today, so I'll tell you about the rest of our trip in a later post.