Tuesday, 17 September 2013

West Coast Part I

San Francisco

Well I don't even know where to start with this post. Apart from the usual "the trip that changed my life" crap.  It was nine months in the making, I felt like it was a bloody baby!
When we boarded on the 24th August California Dreaming, I couldn't quite believe how quickly it had come around. United Airlines had upgraded us to Premium Economy after a slight complaint regarding something or nothing, and a quick mention it was a joint honeymoon. Worried they thought we were a weird four way couple... We aren't.

On to important matters, the films on the plane. There was quite a decent selection. I believe I watched Friends (obvs,) Girls, 21 Jump Street (mega hilare) and probably other stuff that I cannot remember. Food was shite. Natch.

We touched down eleven hours later and connected incredibly smoothly to San Francisco, one of my most anticiapted destinations. My ongoing obsession (paranoia) of "my suitcase going missing" bored the entire party, but lo and behold suitcase materialised unharmed. We caught a taxi to our first Airbnb place. This was the first airbnb I have rented, everything appeared incredibly easy thus far. We got out the taxi and the first thing I noticed was the strong smell of piss. Nice one San Fran. Dan tried to work the infamous "lockbox" but none of us could open the damn thing, but fortunately our hosts neighbour rocked up just in time to show us how said lockbox is accessed. The apartment was a beaut. Big moose head thing x 2, 60's light fixtures, bullets, the usual. And a distinct smell of gas. Now, I had been awake for 24 hours and was still standing only thanks to adrenaline so Paul told me I was paranoid. But I would not rest. So knocked on neighbours door, who said it was indeed an ongoing issue and turned off the gas. YOU ARE WELCOME PAUL, FOR NOT BEING GASSED IN YOUR SLEEP. We headed out to Mission in search of a burger. Harder than you may think! We had a drink then started seeing triple. Jet lag was setting in, so we stumbled home and fell straight asleep.

Our first full day, we hit Divisadero for breakfast and then walked up towards Haight to do the tourist thing. We visited Amoeba, the Golden Gate Park, then trollied over to the Beat Museum. The Beat Museum was incredible. We popped into City Lights bookstore then we ventured into Vesuvio, which is said to be the bar where Beat poetry was founded. After Dan smashed a glass we headed out to meet one of Paul's friends Nathan, who originates from Brighton but has been in San Fran for a few years. Nathan took us to some good bars and a dirt cheap Mexican takeaway, which Rachel compalined contained too much calcium. 

Monday was Alcatraz. We took a cable car up to The Embarcadero to walk along Fisherman's Wharf. Rachel and I shared a HUGE Sundae, and then had a hotdog. Back to front eating right there. We then took the boat to Alcatraz. The audio cell tour was so good. You could go inside the cells, including the isolation cells which were petrifying. Totally ghosty. That night we met Nathan in a cute Italian before he went to LA for a few days. It had a Mickey Mouse in the bathroom, which was a bit weird.

The last day we headed to the Castro and then the Golden Gate Bridge. We walked to the Castro to an amazing restaurant called Little Orphan Andy's which has been there since the 60's. It was right next to the Twin Peaks bar which was the world's first glass fronted (as opposed to opaque/ hidden away) gay bar. We had ourselves a little pancake party, and Paul got his hair cut by an old school barber and then jumped on a bus to the bridge.

I recently read that on average one person per week kills themselves on this Bridge, making it the number one suicide spot I believe. Apparently people are so in awe of the beauty they choose to end their life there. It really is beautiful. But thankfully no one chose to end their life and we came back a four piece. We were lucky enough, in my opinion, to be there when the fog started to come, so we watched the bridge become engulfed by this fog. It was eerie. And all of a sudden very cold. We walked along the bridge, and all the way along there are signs such as "It's not too late." "Call this number for help..." etc. which is rather unsettling. We then headed back to our favourite cafe in Divisadero for our last lunch in San Fran. That night we ate Mexican and Dan nearly got headbutted by a homeless guy. Always making friends. Such a northern charmer.

I loved walking around San Francisco. It is such a small city, but feels so full of culture and life. It's memories and its stories are rife and you can still feel it. The history, I suppose is not that vast, but I liked feeling it's purpose in history is still very present.