San Francisco

Trip Start Sep 14, 2007
Trip End Oct 05, 2007

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, September 15, 2007

Have you ever walked into a place feeling like you had been there before, and yet it didn't seem familiar? That's what it felt like landing into San Francisco. The city 'by the bay' felt like being back home in Sydney in many ways, with its harbour and bridge, but different too. Cable cars, green paper money, and always forgetting to look left when crossing the road made it feel foreign. Not to mention the always present crowd eccentrics, many of them bannering some form of politic message. One guy stood outside our hotel window for three days, holding a sign to remind me that Jesus loved me. Perhaps we should have told him his message would have been better off at the Golden Gate Bridge, where many people end their life by jumping from the main deck. And although we had heard of people ending their life there, we never thought we would be there at the very moment someone would decide to jump off!

It was on our second day in San Francisco. We had decided to hire a bike for the day and visit all the usual tourist spots... Fishermans Warf, Golden Gate Bridge etc... We had cycled around the bay and up onto the Bridge when we decided to stop and take some photos and video. Stephen took off his bag and rested it on his bike and get out his video. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a guy lunge towards him. Thinking he was going to steal his bag Stephen grabbed onto it, however the next thing he new the guy was throwing himself over the railing. At this time I was about 10 metres away taking some pictures and suddenly heard Stephen yell out and started waving frantically to me. When I got there Stephen pointed out the guy who had fallen and hit the water by now. Not really knowing what we should do Stephen rang 911 and within minutes the police had arrived and the Coast Guard was on its way. Amazingly the guy survived! He lay in the water still for a few seconds then started to kick and move. One leg looked broken or injured in some way as it just seemed to lay there. His pants were torn by the impact of the water. I took a few shots of him below. I still can't believe this happened, and even more amazed that he survived (you can see how far he fell in the photos). Anyway, by the time the Coast Guard arrived he had managed to paddle to shore but was getting swamped by the waves. Eventually the Coast Guard pulled him on board we assume is OK now. The police interviewed Stephen for a little while and I took some video which we will show you all when we get back. It was pretty amazing and quite often we still think about it. I think it is something I will remember for the rest of my life.

VIDEO: Golden Gate Bridge, Suicide Jumper
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