Soaked and sunned in Sunny San Francisco.

Trip Start May 07, 2011
Trip End Nov 09, 2011

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What I did
Bus ride over Golden Gate bridge
Walked all over place!
Went to IHOP
Got soaked
Walked up to Coit tower
Drove down and walked up the Crooked road on Lombard Street
Got bitted by a duck
Rode the cable car

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 1
We arrived in San Francisco late morning and checked into another motel. Had a tasty chicago style pizza and then got on a 'hop on hop off' tour bus - bad idea! As soon as we were on the bus it started raining icey cold spikey rain drops .... on an open topped bus. Matthew's passport is now all crinkly. The bus took us to see the Golden gate bridge and Sausalito and then dropped us off at Fisherman's Wharf. No one really wants to see these places in the rain. It's really cold. At this point we're a bit defeated and walk back to our motel... in the rain.

Day 2

We decided to drive around the other tour bus route in our nice dry luxurious Taurus, before we return it to the airport (bye, bye nice luxurious car). Before we started though, Alison insisted on refueling at the IHOP diner across the road from the motel. Who would believe that there's a whole chain dedicated to sweet breakfast and puddings? Matthew looked on horrified whilst Alison did her best with a pile of cinnamon pancakes whilst trying not to touch the greasy seats. Alison managed about a quarter. This is the first place we'd seen (What's the polite way of saying fat?) people with good appetites since we arrived in America. These people ate similar dishes to Alison's as a starter before a whole omelette meal followed by a mound of syrup covered pudding. Impressive. 

We then drove down the famous crooked hill in the rain. Fun. Lots of tourists taking photos at the bottom who weren't afraid of cars. It's a shame we didn't have the GTA soundtrack with us. Actually maybe that's a good thing... Golden gate park was nice even in the rain and mist. 

After dropping the car off and getting the Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART) train back to town, we ate lunch at a sushi bar in 'Japan Town'... delicious, tasty and about the cheapest thing we have eaten so far. Japan Town has a cool Japanese shopping mall with lots of shops selling things from Japan. After lunch we walked around San Francisco some more in the rain. We went to China Town (which apparently has a whole underground tunnel thing! Brothels, human trafficking, opium dens, Lo Pan, girls with jade green eyes, etc). Some more walking around in the rain then we went on the 'night' tour bus (which is done in daylight all year round ?!). The tour guide girl on the bus was exactly how we were expecting a San Franciscan to be like. All new age, told us interesting 'sciency' facts about good energy fields and haunted houses, really she was very nice. Did you know that San Francisco is only 7 by 7 miles but has 85 Starbucks? They've passed a law banning any more. After another day in the rain we bought some nice olive bread and ate it for dinner (with cheese and tomatoes of course).

Day 3
We woke up today to see sunshine! At last!!! We miss-timed it but needed to do some washing so that's what we did this morning. Incredibly clean laundromat in Cow Hollow. Laundry done, we ate lunch on Chestnut behind our motel in a nice deli place full of locals. Terrible table service but good food. 

We then wandered down to the Marina and watched sea birds play. Having binoculars is great; we watched pelicans and cormorants fish, the usual sea gulls and a very friendly duck which nipped Matthew. Went for a nice walk along the sea front to Pier 39 which was mega touristy - and no sea lions which the bus girl promised! On the way up a steep hill to Coit Tower we met a lost older couple from Austin Texas. Had a nice chat before climbing to the top. There's a nice view of the city by the tower but no parrots which the tour guide girl also promised us! We walked back down a steep hill and had a nice Italian meal in 'North Beach' (Little Italy). We walked back to the motel via the crooked hill on Lombard Street, this time in the sun. The sun was setting and it put a nice soft light all over the city. 

Day 4

It's our last day in San Francisco and we needed print our next hire car voucher and hotel booking. We had a leisurely morning and ate lunch in an old fashioned 50s burger joint. Each table had a jukebox selector and all the servers had thunderbirds style hats on. Burgers weren't bad either!

After a bit of internet research finding the closest internet cafe, we set off on our mission to print. On the way we walked past many nice houses with beautifully tended rose gardens. San Franciscan's really take pride in their homes. Immaculate gardens and beautifully painted houses. We must have picked the only internet cafe without any computers or printers! This turned out to be a good thing and we ended up the Fairmont Hotel. This place must cost hundreds a night. It's incredibly grand with a jazz band and marble floors in the entrance. The concierge directed two floors down to their own UPS store and we printed our stuff. We snuck a quick look around on our way out but couldn't get very far since we are a bit conspicuous in our backpacking clothes.

Since we were now downtown, we decided to look around a bit. First stop was Saks Fifth Ave then on to a nine storey shopping mall with circular escalators which Alison found very exciting. The great thing about so many escalators is that you don't have to do any walking! Since we can't fit much else in our bags, we didn't buy anything. 

The highlight of the day was the cable car ride home. Being savvy backpackers, we got on at the second stop thereby avoiding the hour long tourist queue at the bottom. This also means you get to stand on the outside! This gives the best view of the city but you have to watch out and duck in order to miss wing mirrors. At one point we got hit by some plastic street furniture. There were some crazy locals on the cable car shouting out "You gotta suck it in. You GOTTA suck IT IN! Don't TUCK it in, you gotta SUK'ID IN". This highly entertained some rotund fellow riders who joined in whole heartedly "Oh YEAH,  that's what they say. You gotta SUCK IDIN not TUGIDIN". A nice way to see San Francisco, especially in the light of the setting sun.

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