Trip Start Aug 17, 2009
Trip End Jul 16, 2010

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Where I stayed
Simons & Hilarys

Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

So after being picked up by Simon at the airport he whisked us off to his and Hilarys swanky pad and we got settled in.  36 hours of travelling, followed by crossing god knows how many time zones meant that soon jet lag set in and for the next few days extreme tiredness and falling asleep in odd places became kind of normal.  Anyway we headed out for some authentic mexican food, which was scrummy then we headed back and I literally passed out in bed while Al and Simon got reaquainted. 
The next couple of days were spent wandering around the neighbourhood, Simon and Hilary live in the arts district of the city so there is plenty of colourful graffiti on the walls and quirky shops on the streets.  We seem to be doing a lot of 'jaywalking' here, which pretty much amounts to a crime.  Pedestrians really rule the roost here and drivers literally have to stop continually to let people cross the road.  Bit of a change from the UK, you are also supposed to cross at designated areas which we have been ignoring and playing dodge the cars like we do at home - hence the jaywalking
San Francisco is also bloody cold!  And as we had very little with us apart from shorts and t-shirts we had to hit the cheapie shops to stock up on some more apropriate attire.  We also discovered the local supermarket which was stocked up with so many delicious cakes, ice cream and chocolate I was in seventh heaven and I spent an extortionate amount of time faffing around in there.  Mainly due to that I have managed to gain 3 pounds in my first 5 days here, great, lets see what the total weight gain is by the end of my stay.  Im trying to resist (but to be honest not very hard) but with the size of portions and the fact they do things like put heaped spoons of cream on top of milkshakes we order means it may be hard to keep our trim figures in check:))
So america - what a country - supersize EVERYTHING!! coke cans in the uk 330mls, coke cans here 525mls, small pizzas?  feed both of us for 1 meal, plus leftovers.  Not seen too many morbidly obese people here yet as I believe San Francisco in general is quite health concious and people tend to maintain a reasonable weight here but there have been a few that have clearly outeaten their british counterparts.
Anyway our days of shopping caught up with us a bit and after discovering old series of 'rock of love' on the on demand TV we had a quiet couple of days being lazy and relaxing in the day.  We took a ride on the subway and after faffing with the nickels and dimes (took a while to work out what they were) we headed down to the business district to meet Simon from work and have a look around the more touristy areas.  Really cool 'double decker' bridge here that collapsed once during an earthquake in the 90's, squashing the lower level, looks good now though.
First weekend and we headed off to Californias Great America theme park for a day of thrills and spills.  A group of Simon and Hilary mates came as well which made the day a real laugh.  Some pretty impressive rides, that I have to admit put Alton Towers to shame, they also had ride restrictions for people of a certain size and during one queue we saw 3 people being asked to get out of the rollercoaster car as they couldnt get the bar down.  I presume this is a normal occurence here but god how embarassing for them, they didnt seem that bothered but I felt for them!  Maybe it would be a bit of a warning sign for them?????  Diet maybe??  Or maybe not!!!
Sunday brought a kind of mini festival in the streets named 'how weird' that was full of mad people and mad music.  Stayed for a bit, but it really wasnt my thing and its still too cold here for me!  I headed back to the flat to do some cooking and left Al with Simon to enjoy the day, he arrived home slightly worse for wear later that evening.
The following week was quiet, involving a lot of relaxing and a bit of sightseeing.  We did all the usual touristy stuff, went down to fishermans wharf and pier 39.  Had a look at the oversized seagulls and played on the old fashioned slot machines.  We caught the (extremley overpriced) tram up and down the streets of San Francisco and huffed and puffed our way up some hills to have a look at Lombard street which is classed as one of the crookedest streest in the city, indeed it was and very amusing to watch cars and people alike inching their way down!  We also caught the boat over to Alcatraz to have a look around probably the most famous prison in the world.  Very short boat ride, it is only 1 and a quater miles from san fran but treacherous due to the water temp and currents - it looks swimable but im guessing from all the failed escape attempts that is isnt!  Once we got there we had a short safety chat from a ranger then we wandered around the island a bit (its very small, much smaller than you would imagine) then headed into the main prison for the audio guide.  Once you get in you can choose your language - spanish, french, german or....erm....american??!!!  I think they mean english......anyway.....
Really interesting tour, very small cells and a few class pictures of the two of us posing on the cell toilet.  There was a real life alcatraz criminal in the bookshop signing copies of his book who was on our boat ride back which was also quite exciting.  Other sightseeing involved wandering around the financial district and a few of the massive shopping centres staring enviously at clothes and accessories we cant afford:((
The weekend arrived and after a morning wandering around the farmers market and healthy shops
we had a relaxing saturday night in preparation for 'bay to breakers' on the sunday.  'Bay to Breakers' is a 7mile run/walk through the streets of San Francisco, fuelled by a lot of excitement and alcohol!  99% of people were in fancy dress, and as out hosts were insistent that we participated in the game we fitted right in.  Al went as some sort of hybrid bret michaels, complete with blond wig and bandana, whilst I sported a pink wig and hotpants and looked like - well im not sure but I think it was good!  Hilary was a blond, spangly, tutu wearing superheroine whilst Simon was a grilled cheese sandwich ninja - what can I say, they are american remember!!  Anyway we joined the race about halfway and after meeting some of their mates we have a few drinks and wandered a couple of miles before getting bored with walking and catching a cab to a bar where there was a kind of 'post walk' party.  Stayed for a good few vodkas and staggered our way home anticipating sore heads in the morning.
Very quiet following day then we were on our last day in San Francisco, off to Peru and Bolivia next, but of a trip and feel slightly apprehensive about the next month but I'm sure we will be seeing some amazing things:)
Massive thanks to our hostsesses with the mostestess - Simon, Hilary and Zoe, we have really enjoyed our time with you:))
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