Peace and love in San Francisco

Trip Start Sep 07, 2009
Trip End Nov 17, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, November 1, 2009

01/11/2009 - Oh my god. We have been travelling for 8 weeks now, but have never slept anywhere so noisy as the hostel. We hadn't realised at first, but our room was directly below the cafe which seemed to stay open all night. The noise of scraping chairs and footsteps was pretty much constant from 6am and, being so tired from travelling, it was unbearable. On top of that, our room had a huge waste-water pipe running through it, only a few feet above our heads. Anytime anybody in the building ran any water or flushed the loo, we knew about it.

We hardly slept and, coupled with the fact that the place stank, we both agreed we couldn't face staying there another night. Before we had even got out of bed, we had sourced a hotel (through, great travel website) for the same price we were paying at the hostel ($65.00) that had en-suite, was smack bang in the centre of town, and had double, double glazing. It was a no brainer. We checked out of the hostel, got a full refund and didn't look back.

We jumped in the car and drove across town to The Mosser hotel at 4th and Market, near Union Square. The room was small but perfectly formed, but most importantly, it was quiet. The only drawback was that valet parking was $29 a day, a total rip off. Instead we drove the car a couple of blocks down the road and found a back street car lot, where I used my south London haggling skills to bargain the man down to $30 to leave the car there for 4 days.

Once we had sorted ourselves out, we decided to head out to Golden Gate Park (a bit like a SF version of Central Park), for a bit of relaxation in the warm (80 degrees !) California sunshine. I had read about a Japanese Tea Garden in the park that sounded like an oasis in the city. We took the Muni metro, which switches between travelling underground and at street level. We travelled along the SF streets and hills, and passed some cool neighbourhoods with lovely cafes, and open spaces.

When we got to Golden Gate Park, we headed towards the sound of music and drums and stumbled across a gathering of hippies jamming together on bongos and other instruments. It was so funny to actually see the hippies of yesteryear still going strong in San Francisco! We didn't think it could get much more 'Yo maaannn', but we were wrong. As we walked on towards the Tea House, we heard the sound of disco music and, lo behold, round the next corner was a rocking roller-disco. The people taking part  were all dressed up in outrageous outfits, completely in their own worlds (no doubt LSD induced!) and totally unselfconscious. I envied them in a way, they looked like they were having great fun!
After stopping to watch for  a while, we carried on past the gangs of skateboarders, towards the tea house. We had to pay $7 each to enter, but it was worth it. Once inside we headed straight for the teahouse that overlooks the gardens and had a gorgeous cup of jasmine tea. We spent the next hour or so wandering aimless around the tranquil gardens. It was just what we needed to rejuvenate us, as the last few days of little sleep and travel had begun to take its toll.

As the sun was beginning to set, we caught the bus back to our hotel and got take-out chicken noodle soup for dinner - we had had an eventful day and we were knackered!
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