Science, Japanese Gardens & The Vaselines

Trip Start Jun 20, 2012
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Trip End Sep 02, 2012


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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, August 31, 2012

Such a rubbish nights sleep but determined to make the most of my last full day in the city. Had my breakfast and went to catch a bus to Golden Gate Park. The buses are electric like in Wellington and zip along a maze of wires. Pretty cool. Had heard that the Institute of Science was worth a visit, it has it's own rainforest, aquarium and planetarium. I wasn't disappointed. Started with a 3D presentation about the solar system which was pretty interesting. Learnt some stuff. Then I went to see the penguins who you can watch above and below the water. They swim right up to your face to check you out. Loved those guys.

Next up a film about earthquakes in the planetarium which was amazing. The whole roof is a surround screen so you feel like you're in it and moving. Having heard so much about earthquakes and volcanic activity in New Zealand, was really interesting to learn more about how it all works. Plus you felt like you were flying! Yeh I'm a big kid..

After the film went to the rainforest, three levels that recreate rainforest's from around the world. There's all kinds in there including free flying birds and butterflies which were so pretty. The lift down took you to the aquarium which was cool. Had a tunnel and all kinds of weird fish including a whole coral reef. Reminded me of diving at the beginning of my trip. I can't believe I'm an actual qualified open water diver. I think I'm going to spend a lot of time reflecting when I get home.

Went outside to see some baby ostriches who were tiny and very cute. And an albino alligator who was a bit scary. Grabbed some chicken soup for lunch and checked the map - had pretty much seen everything. Think I was in there for about 3 hours or something. Would definitely recommend it to people.

Walked outside and over to the Japanese Tea Gardens which were very quaint and pretty. As you'd imagine pagodas, bonsai trees and coy carp. Plus a really giant wooden bridge - asked a lady to take my picture on it but annoyingly it didn't come out very good. Went to the tea room for a traditional Japanese tea which was very nice indeed.

Went to catch the bus back to the city and explored a few more streets around Union Square. Tried a few things on for fun but no purchases. Back to the hostel to pack - PACK! For home! I can't actually believe it. Am a mixture of sad the adventure is over but excited to see everyone. Checked in for my flight and seat guru-ed my seat (thank you Andrea Jones!)

It was about 7pm and my last night - the one thing I wanted to do here but hadn't managed was go see some live music. I'd been looking at a venue called The Independent who show bands I like back home. I didn't know the headliner - The Vaselines - but had a quick google and thought just do it. Took me about an hour to get there and about half way I realised I'd forgotten my ID. They're really strict on it here. Remembered I had a scan of my passport on my phone and thankfully persuaded the manager to let me in! Pretty neat venue, a bit like The Fleece in Bristol but without the beams being in the way.

Support band were called Mister Loveless, they looked about 12 but were actually pretty good. A bit like a shouty version of early Bombay Bicycle Club. The Vaselines weren't quite my taste - classic rock with an edge. They were probably really good in their day but now...meh. What was more entertaining is that they're a couple who used to be together but aren't anymore. They totally jibed at each other openly to get laughs from the crowd. Turned a bit cringy in the end. I actually left a little early but so good to see some live music. Can't wait for Bestival next week.

Taxi ride back to the hostel was a first - due to how steep the hills were, as he bombed along I got that stomach in your throat feeling like your get on a roller coaster! Weird feeling to have so many drops in the middle of skyscrapers! Back in the hostel I sat down in the communal dining area before bed and caught up with my blogging finally. Got accosted by a Australian guy who was a bit annoying so made my excuses and left! Now here I am, in my bunk and in disbelief I'm leaving tomorrow..
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