Once a day posts will be boring, here's 3 in 1

Trip Start Dec 21, 2009
Trip End Jul 17, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, December 21, 2009

So Nic and I had a chat about how this blog thing should go. We decided that the best we can realistically do is a blog entry every few days and we don’t think that you really want to know every detail of everything that we do. It would end up being a list of, “We did this, then we did that, then we did that, then we did that....” It would be slightly monotonous an I would also run out of intros for each paragraph. Instead, we’ll try to enter the highlights of what we did over a period but include photos so if you want to find out a little more, just ask us a question on the blog or drop us an email and we will give you the details that you need.

The last few days have been taken up by us seeing the sights of San Francisco. We’ve eaten a lot of fast food, with a visit or two to Carls Jnr (my favourite fast food burger joint on the West Coast). Anyone who knows me knows how much I rave about the 6 dollar cheeseburger that really only costs like 2 bucks. The weather has been chilly and the only rain we had was on the first day we arrived. It’s cold enough to warrant many layers going out and gloves too. We’ve found the San Franciscan people to be quite kind and friendly, happy to help us with directions and ask us where we are from. It could also be the time of the year that we came (Christmas) or that most of our interactions with them are when I’m pulling out greenbacks to pay for something.

We took a twilight tour of Alcatraz. It’s much smaller than you expect it to be. It only ever housed 300 inmates at any one time so it only has one actual block. They take you over on a ferry and there are guides there that walk you around and tell you all the stories. Alcatraz was pretty cool but I’m sure it would have been cooler if we grew up in America where there is a lot of mystique, legend and drama that goes with “The Rock”. Maybe it was just the jetlag that was making me a little groggy. There was a video that we were shown just before we left the island. If I have to be honest, I didn’t stay awake for most of it.

As everyone has seen in the movies, San Francisco is full of hills. I’m sure we’ve covered most of it on foot. Actually, I can’t remember ever going down any of them, just up and up. But we needed that to work off the fat that we’ve been eating in the past few days. If only the guys I do the lunchtime hill sprints could be here to experience this. This city is a hill sprinter’s dream.
I absolutely love some of the ads on TV here. I think that some of these ads do anything BUT promote the product they are selling. Mostly, this rule applies to pharmaceuticals:

If you‘re suffering from depression, help is at hand. Try zoloflax (name made up so that I don’t get sued). Zoloflax has been shown to provide significant changes in mood for sufferers of depression. Please be warned that some cases of permanent blindness, significant hair loss and increased rates of heart attacks have occurred. Also permanent paralysis, massive liver damage, kidney failure and intestinal ruptures have been reported. Some people may experience memory loss and an increase in suicidal thoughts. Others might also experience severe skin irritation or bloatedness. In some cases, this medication might make your condition much worse than it currently is, while some people have experienced multiple psychotic episodes. If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your healthcare professional.

Wow, a drug that does all of this? You’d have to be really desperate or have a broken Risk-Reward meter to try these drugs.

Golden Gate Park and Golden Gate Bridge is a nice combo to be done together. Best to do one of the locations then catch a bus because it could be quite a walk. The park is nice place with plenty of ponds and lakes and flowing water throughout. The bridge is an impressive structure. I can see why this is supposed to be the most photographed bridge in the world. The bridge itself jumps out from the bay, with one side showing you the Pacific Ocean and the other with a very picturesque San Francisco city with all of its rolling hills. There’s also Alcatraz right in the middle of it all making it all very nice to look at. (Sydney Harbour is better though).

For Tuesday evening, Nic organised some tickets to the Nutcracker by the San Francisco Ballet company with Tchaikovsky’s music. Apparently, watching the Nutcracker is quite a San Franciscan thing to do around Christmas time. It was pretty good. So many family movies rip off the music from the Nutcracker. No doubt, those numbers were the most popular.

It was then a nice walk back to the hotel where we got to meet the homeless, drunk and drugged up San Franciscans. I would have taken some pictures but I wanted to respect them in the privacy of their own home. I’m also sure that we would be one camera down pretty soon after snapping the picture. Needless to say that being homeless in this city would be a tough gig, it’s bloody cold and windy around here.

Another touristy thing we did was to catch a cable car on the Hyde St – Powell St cable line. Nic got a great seat while I hung out the side. The cable cars here are very popular with the tourists. The cables run underneath the road and never turn off so there is always this whirring sound coming from underneath the road. When we cross the road, I can’t help but feel that I’ll put my foot through a hole and have my leg chewed off in a whirring mass of flesh and bone. That thought comes a distant second in terms of scariness. First would be the medical bill that would result from the surgery.

Dining at Fleur de Lys, the Hubert Keller restaurant was a belated anniversary gift to each other and it was a place that we have been hanging out to eat at for ages. We did the 5 course dinner and it was truly awesome. Everything was spot on, the food, the service and decor was well worth the deposit on a small house that we paid for it. That also means that now I can throw away the leather shoes and formal pants that I brought along just for this dinner.

Next stop is Christmas Day and we’re flying to Mexico City. A Merry Christmas to our friends and family back in Australia. We miss the Aussie summer and Christmas celebrations. Please have plenty of yummy king prawns for us.
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Judi on

Looks fantastic. I remember a movie called the Birdman of Alkatraz and can picture the actor but cant remember his m\name..it'll coe to me a minute after i send this for sure.
It was a cool and rainy Xmas here. Some braved the pool but the smart ones didnt bother. We missed you, but I'm sure your having a wonderful time. Love the way you are doing this blog....cant wait for the next installment.

GshM on

Alcatraz worth a visit or should we give it a skip?

travellingtans on

Thanks for the comments Jude. We'll try to keep it up. To my main Meng, it depends on how long you're planning on spending here. We spent 4 days here and we started running out of things to do. Could probably cover everything in abt 3 days or so.

Order of things to see here
1) Golden Gate Bridge
2) Cable car ride (doesn't take long)
3) Alcatraz / Fisherman's Wharf (can be done at the same time - near the wharf when you're taking the boat over)
4) General trekking around San Francisco
5) Shopping/walking around Union Square

Found some of the food recommendations in Frommers were pretty good tho. Let us know where you're staying and we can give you the down low.

If doing withdrawals in the US with Wizard, use the Chase banks. No fees. Others we found charged like Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

Andre on

Nice wide angle cell block shot. :)

Dean Becker on

SF has been a magnet for the homeless for decades.

Roslyne Franics on

Sounds like your having a great time. Thanks for keeping us informed how you are going. Have a great Christmas and safe New Year. Love to hear from you again soon.

GshM on

Good advice chaers!
Also where could I pick up a nice crisp salad? Perhaps some nice cherry tomatoes and some shredded carrot?

travellingtans on

Goldi, the best place to pick up salads and such fare would be in Australia. Don't worry about that in the States.

Saj on

Nice pics mate... Its good to see you having a go on American fast food joints Col. Enjoy while it lasts.....

Arik on

Hey mate! I have some questions about the beta...oh, and a few things from Martin and JP too. Is there any chance you could take a day off from travelling and we can talk about it over the phone? I'm sure Nic won't mind. Thanks - you're a champ.

Aaron on

What you needed to do was try some of America's finest "Mexican" fast food pit stops, so you could compare/contrast with the local Mexican cuisine. But be careful, they both can make you sick, all be it in different ways.

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