San Francisco

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Nov 24, 2006

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

So, I've finally recovered from the exhaustion of writing my NY entry... now I've sufficiently rested I thought I could attack the SF diary (before I forgot what I did!

Here it is.....

Mon 31st July
Arrived in Oakland airport and met Hyl my best friend from high school and her boy Scott picked me up and we drove back to Stockton. We spent the rest of the night catching up and eating Mexican for dinner.

Tues 1 Aug
By this stage of the trip, I had caught Paul's cold - so I had a bit of a sleep in to re-fuel- and a quiet morning. We spent the day in Stockton, Hyl lives there now and works as a substitute teacher pledging her allegiance to the flag every morning! How bizarre that would be! Anyhoo, we spent the day in Stockton taking photos of white guys with hugely lifted trucks - see attached pics (you'll know which ones). Scott took the ladies out for lunch (to Wendy's - big spender! ;-) and we did a bit of sightseeing and some shopping. Scott cooked the yummiest fish tacos as we sat by the lagoon at his padres place for dinner.

Wed 2 Aug - Yosemite
We had an early night and headed off very early the next morning for a day trip to Yosemite. We bought yummy breakfast from 7/11 (see attached) and hit the road. It's still just as beautiful as I remember it. Saw an awesome sunset in Stockton when we got home... One thing Stockton does have is fabulous sunsets.

Thu 3 Aug
Thursday Scott went back to work, and Hyl and I spent the day in Oakland. Back in my old stomping ground... We met Vicki for lunch at my old work Adventure Center, and saw a few of the old faces. Bill, Richard (can I uh, join the paRty?), Maz, Alan, Sonja and of course the loverly Vicky. The whole place had been reno'd - new paint, carpet, and they may even have cleaned those blinds that made me sneeze every time the wind blew! Green machines are now GONE, and even noticed they had Windows XP!! Boy, have they moved with the times! So we went to have lunch at Emeryville markets - just like old times, and of course had to get one of the world famous burritos from the Mexican dudes! It was just as good as I remember - and just as big!

We dropped Vicks back at work and headed to Lake Merritt to wander around the old 'hood. We drove by my apartment - and I think the lovely young ladies that I used to share with are still living there... (the big tree was still in the lounge) I didn't stop in... (shocking). We walked up Lakeshore and Grand, stopped in a few of the ol' shops. Most of the restaurants were still the same, Mijori, Spettro, Mezza, Philly Cheese Steak, Peets, The burrito shop etc.. but alas, no Imperial anymore... :o(

We went for a little walk along the lakefront and saw a woman with a goatee. She smiled at me when I looked back a second time in horror (thanks reflexes) and said hello, which made Hyl look up and say hi back (and then look back a second time in horror) - it was quite a traumatic time for both of us. Apart from the terror of that goatee, it was quite a pleasant walk - and a beautiful day. Not much has changed at all...

About 3pm we left (coz as Hyl informed me, if we don't get out by 3 - we get stuck in traffic) which incidentally we did, and it took us 3 hours to get home. (welcome to America eh!)

Fri 4th
Friday I caught up with my old pal Amy. She was the singer of Utah Girl, and had since had a baby - who I met for the first time. Sam. He's a cute little blonde boy, who I thought was 5 - by the size of him, but he was only 3. (see pic) Amy is still up to her normal tricks (for those of you who know her). Working with parents of SF area schools on positive language with children ie - "please walk in the house little Johnny" rather than "Don't run in the house little Johnny" - so she's really enjoying her work. She's recorded some of her songs, but is a bit 'wishy washy' about where she wants to go with it. It was great to see her.. we didn't have much time together, but it was good to see what she was up to.

I met Vicki at work and we headed back to 'the creek' for the night. We had a atkins diet dinner and then went to a club called Spoontonic in Walnut Creek where we had a few drinks and a bit of catch up.

Sat 5th
I spent the morning shopping at the Walnut Creek shops and met Jason for lunch. We had Mexican (which I'm sure comes as a shock) and caught up on 5 years of gossip. He's up in the air about if he's going to move to Nashville to really push his music and get into that music community. Traci his girlfriend isn't really too keen to go, so they are deciding what to do. In the meantime, Jason is playing in a metal cover band and recording songs when he can.

I met Vicki after her pottery class and we went to her sisters place where we discovered the most fabulous show on cable. It's called Flavor of Love. Picture this: Flayva Flave (the wholesome character from Public Enemy who wears the big clocks around his neck) having a reality TV show like the Bachelor, but with hoochie hoochie black chicks fighting over this OLD rapper dude. It was a train wreck!! They had to cook his momma fried chicken - and these girls didn't' know what they were doing (not that I'd know how to make fried chicken anyway) - but one chick was crying coz she was scared of chickens, and never eats it - coz of this childhood horror story of being chased by a chicken. Poor hoochie. So, they were having a 'Flayva Flave marathon' so we caught a few episodes and at the end of the each show, he had to kick someone off - and instead of giving the girls a rose at the end of the episode for the ones he wanted to keep - he gave them a massive clock to wear around their necks. Chicks were spitting in each others faces, slapping, fighting - it was CRAZY! Then right at the very final episode, he chose his 'chica' and usually the girls would get an engagement ring, he had a jewellery box and handed to his chosen hoochie, and she opened it - and it was a set of GOLD TEETH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've never laughed so HARD in my life!! I mean, who cares about diamonds? I'd MUCH prefer gold teeth!

Anyhoo... back to reality... we got dolled up - those of you who know Vicky, know she's a Tevas and shorts kinda gal... well, I got both the Papa girls in dresses AND heels for the night. We went out for dinner at North Beach to 'Steps of Rome' - spent about 45 minutes backed up trying to get over the Bay Bridge (god bless America), then spent around another 45 minutes trying to find parking and then probably another 45 minutes walking from our car to the restaurant! Hahaha! Why did we wear heels again? Oh, and we were the only ones dressed up in the entire district. I saw one girl in a skirt... although, in retrospect, I think it had holes in it... hmmmm. We decided it best that if anyone asks - we're going to the theatre... Anyhoo.. we had a pleasant dinner oot and aboot - Vicky had her eye on the bus boy... well.. we all did (hehe!) and headed home just prior to pumpkin time.

Sun 6th
Sunday morning Vicky and I headed back into the city by BART and wandered around the Financial district, took some photos and were generally tourists. We caught the bus up to Haight St and came across a very interesting individual. He was probably 100 years old, and mid-transit decided that he wanted to clean his ears out. Luckily Vicky and I had front row seats to 'the show' and watched him pull out his little Q-Tip case with 3 little Q-tips and gave his ears the cleaning of a lifetime. It was pleasant for us.

So, we arrived on Haight St, and looked in all the shops and checked out all the interesting characters. It started getting chilly and so we ducked into a pub and had some beers while we waited for Hyl and Scott to meet us for dinner. We had Mexican (noticing a pattern yet?) and swung by Treasure Island on the way home for a few night photos of the SF skyline, and then cruised back out to Stockton.

Mon 7th
Hyl and I headed to Fisherman's Wharf first thing in the morning and spotted none other than the very famous SF icon The Bushman. We told him that he was famous even in Australia and he posed for a photo. I'll attach a pic of his antics. Unfortunately this camera doesn't have sound - so you don't get the whole effect of his 'show' - but you can find him on if you search for Bushman - and you can see heaps of his vids uploaded. He's very famous.

We caught a cable car (after another huge wait) and did more touristy things around the city. Ate Blondies pizza (yummm) in Union Square, and then ended up back at the car very very late for the airport.

We raced out there, thinking we were never going to make it in time and arrived - only about 30 mins behind schedule... Little did I know, that my troubles were only beginning...

I was flying United Airlines (never again), but AirCanada was operating the flight - so I went to United, and their signs were saying all Canada flights were leaving from the domestic terminal. By this time Hyl was long gone - so I had to leg it to domestic. Once I got there, a very friendly (not) man asked me what I was doing and I told him I was told to come to domestic. He told me that "Obviously this person doesn't know how to do their job, because you are going to Canada which is international, so you need to go back to International" - so I run back to International laden with bags and suitcases FREAKING out. I have to line up again at International - and I called Hyl stressing out telling her what had happened. One of the ladies over hears my conversation and asks me if I'm going to Canada and she apologized but told me I needed to go to domestic - that she was really sorry, but there is nothing she can do. I have to go there. So I asked her if I needed United and she said yes, but domestic.

So down I go again to domestic. By this point - I'm not messing around in lines... I bailed up a United employee and told him in no uncertain terms that I was DONE being messed around (I was amazed at how tough I can be when I'm stressed) - this is the 4th time I've been back and forward - and he said - I need to go to Air Canada Domestic... (Which if he's wrong I will miss my flight for sure - as it is 2 terminals away and a 10 minute run) - so I bail down to terminal 1 - hoping this guy knows what he was talking about... and a woman in the middle of one of the abandoned terminal asks me if she can help me. Clearly stressed I told her what happened and that I needed to get to Air Canada ASAP and showed her my itinerary. She was very calm and told me that I'll be ok, I'll make it - just keep going this way until I find it. By this time, I'm on the verge of tears about to tear my hair out - and thank her for her help to continue my journey.. when she begins to tell me that she's collecting money for a hospital charity. I COULD NOT believe it. I nearly threw my suitcase at her! I didn't give her a penny and ran off to find my gate. Where I was bailed up by another person wanting money. Finally I found Air Canada - lined up and checked my stuff - and he told me - the plane is 2.5 hours delayed. So it was all for NOTHING. Perhaps the 17 imbeciles telling me to go from gate to gate could have told me not to hurry.... Thanks United.

So... I was pleased to arrive back in Canada where people were normal, and competent.
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