Did you shake it?

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, August 1, 2010

We woke up to a blocked toilet (yet another moan about this particular hotel) and Yukari rang up to let them know. She was told to go down to reception (we did not know what for) - I went instead and was handed a big black plunger in a plastic bag. She did it in such a way that made me think this was a regular occurrence. As I was on the way to breakfast and the breakfast is not that appetising I said that we would pick it up later. Poor Yukari got the job of using the plunger - we think that she should become a plumber rather than a schooll nurse as it pays better! 
As to breakfast, I couldn't face eggs or waaffllles (it begins to get boring after a while!) and the only table we could get was next to the toilet and people seemed to think it was OK to leave the door wide open after using it. One guy went in and made the most tremendous noise - banging and crashing. I was beginning to feel quite unwell by the time breakfast had finished. 
My love affair with US toilets is beginning to wane even more!
So with the toilet saga out of they way we drove to San Francisco and, guess what? It was foggy. I was listening to the news and they said something like "it is summer in San Francisco so that means it will be foggy". I wish I had known beforehand. We managed to find a good free parking spot (when we came back we were next to another prius) which I always do, and wandered down to the Fisherman's Wharf. On the way we saw a guy dressed in gold with a gold bag. Yukari got her camera out to take a picture and he stopped and weed against a rubbish bin. An American guy waiting with us at the crosswalk yelled out "Did you shake it?" and others were shouting at the gold bloke for being so disgusting. However, in his defence it is very difficult to find public toilets. We went to Starbucks to use their loo and there was a long queue with most people not buying anything in store. Well it is such horrible coffee you really wouldn't want to anyway.
SF was crowded and it reminded me of an old film where some guy went to London and on his return he was asked what he thought. He hated it cos he had to take a couple of short steps and then a couple of long ones and could not get into a proper stride. That is exactly how I felt - I think I would like to go there when there are less tourists. The one thing I wanted to do was ride the trolley car but the wait was over 1 hour and I hate queueing. Yukari and I decided to ride over the bridge so hired a couple of bikes and after a couple of seat fixes took off. The wind was against us and it was really cold up on the bridge but it was a fun thing to do. Unfortunately, there were a large number of lycra clad, fast bike cyclists who raced along plus a large number of slower cyclists who were all over the place. I am surprised there were no accidents. At one stage, when I went around a stanchion, the wind was so strong it stopped my bike and I got yelled at by some idiot who was right on my tail. There are no signs warning about the wind. There are, however, emergency signs and underneath these are signs for crisis counselling and 24 hour hotlines. It was a bit of a sad reminder that so many people commit suicide - when you are up there you can see why the Golden Gate Bridge is such a popular spot for doing it. 
We had the option of riding on further and taking the ferry across the harbour but time was against us so we turned around. The ride back was much more pleasant as we had the wind with us (and some of the lycra crew but not as many) and the traffic was much less. We wandered around the Maritime Museum where they have a number of boats that have been done up. The ferry actually used to be part of Hwy 101 before they built the bridge. There is a houseboat that was turned into a cottage at one stage in its life and a tug that is now the adminstrative offices. They are working on a paddle steamer and some smaller boats to add to the collection.
For fun we had a look at the Musee Mechanique which is full of 19th century arcade games. It was rather amusing. Also from there you can look out at Alcatraz. We did not really want to go there which is a good thing because at this time of the year it is vitually impossible to get on a tour.
A lot of people take game fishing tours and we watched some experts fillet the fish for their clients. They chucked the skin and bones at the seagulls who of course then fought much to the delight of onlookers, me included. The one pictured with a piece could barely hold on to it and its bum was in the air while it tried to chew off a bit - it then had to drop it to squawk at the rivals. Eventually the stupid thing let it drop and it sunk. No wonder the whole area was a little stinky.
We saw gold man again - this time he was with his silver mate doing one of those statue street performances. At least they were doing something to earn their money (I didn't give them any) - another pair just had a sign saying they needed money for marijuana, one bloke sat behind two branches and scared people - he said that if he got you you had to pay - and another guy just asked for money and then abused us when we ignored him. 
Towards evening all the hotted up cars and bikes came out. Some of them have great decorations and very loud woofers - the bikes seemed to have the loudest music! 
You can hire these little two person car things that have an automatic guide in them - we heard one say 'don't turn right, I am not allowed on the bridge'. There were masses of tour buses, ducks (they can go on land and water), walking tours, bike tours - you name it you could do it. 
So although I did not get to see much of SF, I did like it and will have to think about visting it again when it is sunny!
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Janine on

Hi Kate,
Sanitation issues nothwithstanding, it sounds like you are still having a great time. I am in awe of your diligence in keeping us all entertained an up-to-date.
All quite on the Western Front. The big event this weekend in VP was our Julia (PM Julia) dropped into my local cafe for brekkie. She and the other diners were slightly outnumbered by the 50-strong entourage of security
people and press. Quite a sight.
Take care.

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