Crazy San Fran
Trip Start Aug 12, 2011
9Trip End Sep 08, 2011
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The drive to San Francisco was just as spectacular as the route from LA to Las Vegas. This time we all took turns to drive and we managed to do it in just over 8 hours and we stopped off for some breakfast, refuelling and toilet stops. The views were very similar, and we were surrounded by nothing but dry land, which was beautiful
Such a smooth ride with barely any traffic, and we arrived in San Fran with no hiccups but then the road to the airport, where we were dropping off the 4x4, was completely blocked. So we followed the diversion but managed to get a little bit lost, but it was quite good otherwise we would've forgotten to refuel if we hadn't driven past the Shell garage! We then took the connection to the airport terminal in order to find the taxis, with all of our SHIT. I have never seen so many bags for just 4 people, unbelievable! We stacked all the bags up on the airport trolley and I pushed them along, just about, as well as having the big FO bags and Waddo's converse tied onto my backpack cutting up my legs, haha what a sight!
We arrived at the hotel via taxi after driving up the Ghetto streets full of homeless people having arguments and fights, wow. Never seen anything like it before, nothing like the poverty in South America. Such an eye-opener, it was just dirty. Could be described as pure filth. Not the people, but the awful conditions they had wound up in. Shell and Waddo's faces just dropped! It was really quite shocking... and although we were close to the centre, we were also a couple of blocks away from the homeless shelter. We absolutely shat our pants, excuse the expression, as we ran the shortest distance ever across the street to get a Subway for some late dinner. There was even one homeless person who was sleeping outside our hotel the entire time!
We woke up fairly late the next day and didn't leave the hotel until 2pm as we all had plans to make, flights to book and lives to sort! None of us had any clue as to what we were going to do next! Waddo needed to get back to LA to fly back to Aus, and Shell needed to somehow make her way up to Canada, Steph had to sort out where to go next before her flight back home and I hadn't even booked a flight home yet! Luckily for us, the day we left Miami to fly to the West Coast was the day that Hurricane Irene started making its destructive path through the Bahamas (so lucky our cruise was just before all this devastation!) This meant that all the flights had been back logged and so I when I went to book the only dates available were in a week's time or in a month's time! I obviously went for the earliest one, as I had University to return to!
Spent the day visiting Union Square, Powell Street and Westfields which was huge- 8 levels of shops! Union Square was, to our relief, much better than the blocks leading up to it... saying that, we did walk past a fresh pool of blood- nasty! I bought and spent quite a bit as usual- top and hoodie from American Eagle, top from Forever 21, and of course a sports top from Adidas. I ate a really nice, and much needed, pasta dish for lunch/dinner from the food court in the middle of Westfields where there was so much choice
I woke up fairly early and managed to skype the family and then Hannah, a girl from uni which was amazing :) We then jumped on the famous San Francisco trams and made our way to Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. Wow what a difference a tram ride makes, it was a much nicer area, way more upbeat than the centre where we were staying. There were a lot more tourists, nicer shops and a great atmosphere by the sea. Fairly windy too! My spending continued here where I bought a really nice UCLA hoodie, bright blue and so comfy, a Chicago Bulls lanyard and a Lakers basketball hoop set! The pier was so pretty, the shops were all close together, made out of wood and decorated really nicely. From here we could see the Alcatraz prison and the Golden Gate Bridge which was awesome. Unfortunately, the tours to the Alcatraz were fully booked for the 4 days we were there :(
We continued walking down the pier to Fisherman's Wharf and we passed so many street acts and performers including amazing Saxophonists, drummers and this really cool spray painter who had an entourage playing pumping rap music from a boom box
We then found this DIY Clothing shop which was amazing, and we all bought a pair of custom made trackie bottoms each with really cool designs. I bought grey trackie bottoms with the California and the Bear logo on top of it down one leg- amazing! Fisherman's Wharf was pretty cool, full of shops and attractions for tourists. We then took the tram back to the centre and ate dinner in Westfield's food court again and I had the nicest Rigatoni Bolognese- mmm.
Again, on the walk back we walked past so many homeless people, even the homeless shelter where they were all lined up and they constantly asked for money and shouted abuse at us, even though we did pretty well to just keep walking and not staring at them... "dykes" was a particular favourite... So many pigeons in the dirty back streets too- ewww.
Well San Francisco is ... different.
Woke up earlier the next day and packed ready to leave tomorrow. We hit up Starbucks as usual as we worked out how we could get to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a boiling hot and beautiful day and we worked out that it was pretty simple to get the two buses to the famous Golden Gate Bridge. It is also famous for the fact that it is constantly cloudy over the bridge and it stayed true to its reputation. It was crazy how once we arrived there, the weather suddenly changed from being a beautiful sunny day to a ridiculously windy and foggy day. We couldn't see a thing- ridiculous, yet hilarious at the same time! We visited the gift shop and I bought a random map of the World, impulse spending again, and we were about to give up on the bridge, but then we bumped into one of Shell's friends from Australia who had just riden across the bridge on the bike and said that it was much clearer on the other side. Straight away we were on the bridge, full of optimism, and started walking. Bless Waddo, who was scared of heights, and her a long way to go as we were told it would take around 45 minutes to reach the other side! Overall it was probably an hour round trip there and back. It was such a windy walk but it was a lot of fun, bit nippy at times, but a good walk :) Looking down at the raging water, you realised just how high up we were! On the other side of the bridge we could actually see the red structure of the bridge, it was pretty impressive, yet we were still fighting the wind which was pretty funny!
We were then waiting for the bus and it was probably the most crazy bus journey of my life, of all time. Absolutely mental. First Waddo and Steph weaved their way onto the crowded bus, but just as Shell and I were about to get on we asked the bus driver where it was heading and we realised that it was the wrong bus, so we got off, and shouted for them, but then it was too late, the doors had closed and we were left just waving at them as they drove past
This was an even crazier bus journey. There was a poor old man sat at the back of the bus with, yes I admit, a slightly strange combination of glasses and some sort of sunglasses shield. He was being harassed by a group of pretty intimidating teenagers who were too ghetto for their own good. The man eventually got up to report it to the bus driver, who then called the police and stopped the bus at the side of the road, but the man didn't tell the driver that the kids had jumped off by this point. So, we were all waiting for the police to arrive and then when the bus driver realised the kids had gone, he went mental at this poor old man! What a nightmare!
We then carried on our journey and these 3 schoolboys jumped on at the back of the bus, and they were hilarious and we were just joking around with them, but they didn't really understand our humour haha hilarious! THEN, there were these 3 cool black girls, who were amazing, and we were all just listening in on their conversation and laughing with them. Something about "nah, you have to always moisturise your elbows before going out, you don't want flakey elbows" haha they were hilarious!
Wow San Francisco! Mental. Strange place.