Back in the Bay

Trip Start Nov 14, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, May 19, 2008

San Francisco is the first and only place on the whole trip I have been before. The reason for my return was to visit my family in Paolo Alto, a University suburb of the San Francisco. Another reason was to do some of the things I couldn't afford to do when I was last here, on a summer long tour of America during University. This time round I got to visit Alcatraz, which was worth the wait. The tour gave a comprehensive insight into what life was like for the inmates and guards. Also more interesting, was the account of the guards families that lived side by side with Americas most dangerous criminals. I got to meet a woman that was brought up on the island as she was doing a book signing. She was even wearing a Blue Peter badge, I asked whether she had collected a load of aluminum cans in order to get the sought after badge but it was actually because she had appeared on the TV show to talk about Alcatraz. I never really felt sorry for the harsh life inside ´the rock´ the prisoners went through as I had just endured the traumer of reading Pappillon. What that guy went through on the French Guiana Penal Colony made time at Alcatraz look like a  walk in the park. I took the obligatory walk around the very commercial Fisherman's wharf and was disappointed to find Buba Gump Shrimp being refurbished. Another place I really wanted to go. I ate in the Seal Cafe and spent a good hour or so being entertained by the seals out on the floating wooden platforms. In my opinion San Francisco´s best attraction. 
I spent the night in a small, cosy hostel called Pacific Trade-winds and went out for a drink and a dance at a run down blues bar with the people form the hostel. The band were in their 60s and 70s but still knocked out some great tunes with a lot of energy. We stayed up pretty late then had to wake up not long after to catch the Champions League final. Not bothered who won, I stuck to winding up the supporters of the team that was at that point losing the match. Makes it much more interesting.

After the game I caught the train out to see the Varda family. It was fantastic to see them again, my cousins were now all grown up and with their fantastic new house came a very comfy couch, fridge full of food and a gigantic by humongous inch TV screen to make up for what luxuries I have missed over the last year and a half. My Aunty Kathryn made sure I was never without a cup of tea and lovely food, and for the few days I was there I enjoyed walking the dog, watching scrubs, catching up on sleep and telling them all about my travels. On the day of my flight to South America we went out to the coast for Fish and Chips, then back to the house to indulge on scones with cream and jam several cups of tea all in front of an old repeat of Lovejoy. A perfect English Sunday afternoon in America. 

I said farewell and Kathryn sent me off to Peru armed with a bag of PG Tips and a box of Walker´s Shortbread.

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