Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

Trip Start Apr 25, 2006
1
51
76
Trip End Apr 25, 2007


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, August 17, 2006

My fabulous $1 alarm clock failed to go off, once again damaging its claims of being reliable in any way. I've been looking for a digital watch with alarm, but so far have had no luck, and quite frankly there is a sick attraction to all the problems my current alarm causes anyway. So instead of 5am, Rebecca woke me at 6am for my 7.40am flight and asked "do you still want to go to the airport?" - I think more in the hope of going back to bed than actually believing it could happen. With plenty of boozing behind us the night before, at some stage I wrangled a verbal OK for a lift to the airport, so I did the right thing by dragging myself into her truck and letting her drive me as I grabbed a few more minutes sleep. Only a stone's throw from the airport, we caned it there by 6.30am and I was well pleased. Joining the check-in queue I was given a swift kick in the nads when an airline rep informed me that my flight had in fact been rescheduled to 7.10am and that their policy was for a 45min buffer before take-off. This essentially meant I had missed out by 5mins. I pleaded, but was fed some bullshit about "the machines have already been turned off" - she couldn't elaborate further.

Doing the rounds between various airlines, my options ended up being:
1. another night in Vancouver, then take the same flight the next day.
2. take an 8.30pm flight and travel for 16hrs.
3. go to San Francisco at 9.20am, fly on at 11.30pm for overnighter.

I opted for a day in San Fran, having no idea what I would actually do there. On arrival there was no information desk so I found a bus stop with "Downtown" on it and just jumped on a bus. About 40mins later the bus reached the centre of the city (aka Downtown), and not far away was an actual tourist centre for the likes of me.

Downtown seemed like a boring array of skyscrapers, with novelty electric trams and buses passing by occasionally. A well laid out and spacious city, but certainly not worth trekking the length of the huge blocks in hope of finding something vaguely interesting. The Central Park had some hippies playing music and blowing bubbles, but honestly...

Spurred into action, I jumped on the 38 bus followed by the 21 bus (as instructed) in order to make my way to the Marina area located next to something called the Golden Gate Bridge. I admit the bridge is impressive, but so are the houses around that area - Russian Hill, Pacific Heights, North Beach. Decimated in the last big quake, they were reconstructed in much the same style - and still precariously balanced on the steep slopes most famous for Hollywood spark-filled car chases.

Across the bay I recognised the silhouette of Alcatraz, which was sort of a strange feeling after only ever seeing it featured in Hollywood movies (usually involving an prison escape attempt, or perhaps the dispersion of fatal nerve gas into the atmosphere over San Fran). Perhaps more alarming was its proximity to the mainland - I don't know if all the inmates were shit swimmers, but it is certainly a doable swim.

Walking further around the waterfront to the real touristy area called Fisherman's Wharf, I was offered a boat ride up to the bridge and back around Alcatraz for a paltry $10. Considering I was on my way to fork out $21 at a different company for the very same trip, it worked out just fine (even though it was on a fishing boat rather than a "proper" ferry). Very windy day so was a bumpy ride, but the apparently famous San Fran fog descended on the bridge so I got some alright photos.

Back on dry land I soon got bored of the various tourist traps... except one! Bushman. Rather than just beg for money, this homeless bloke had come up with some ingenious street theatre for tips. He had ripped a couple of decent-sized branches off a tree and was hiding behind them, doing his best impression of a pot plant. When some unsuspecting pedestrian happened past, he would then spring out and proceed to scare the shit out of them. It worked every time, was hilarious, and he got plenty of tips. My favourite quote from him: "Your woman hasn't screamed like that in a long time!"

Next stop was "Hooters". I needed some lunch, but was naturally shocked when I walked inside to see what sort of an establishment it was! Shocked, I tells ya. The food was actually probably a little better than the girls there, but I still had a laugh at their expense and took the piss undetected. It all reminded me of an episode of South Park - the insincere smiles, a light touch on my arm, bat the eyes a little, strut with hands on hips, strike up smalltalk and reply to everything as "awesome". Classic quote would have to be when one of the girls said her favourite beer was "Stella Art-i-ose" - I tried to explain that Stella Artois was Belgian so was pronounced a little differently (the "o" is before the "i" anyway so maybe she can't read), but I sort of gave up in a fit of laughter once she straightened me out with "well that's how it's pronounced in the US".

I thought I had just enough time to ride the famous cable car back to Downtown from Fisherman's Wharf before gunning it back to the airport, but that was until I saw the massive queue of bloody tourists. I queued for 30mins, then finally hopped on one of the "trucks" only to wait another 10mins while the friggin' driver was chatting up some chick instead of doing his job and leaving. I actually had to abandon ship half way through the $5 and 15km/h thrill ride just because it was taking too damn long. I hailed a cab, and made it to the bus stop as the bus was virtually pulling out - it was the last bus I could have taken to the airport, and I got it.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: