San Francisco

When you read a travel brochure do you see any problems? Does it look hard or easy? All the pictures look pretty, exciting and inviting. Much like my pictures right. Then behind all the pictures is another story. One filled with organisation and plans to make things work. Lots of decisions, some turmoil and anxiety. Our world at the moment is filled with a mix of these things. We thought winging it was going to be easy. Like the travel brochures, but its not. It is peak season here so things are busy, packed and pricey. Its a total pain in the arse and frying my nerves. Besides all of that, yes we are like a happy little segment from Getaway. Maybe we would be more a Bear Grills story as his adventures look ‘once in a lifetime’ and ridiculous at the same time.

We are still working out the best way now to get around. Geoff is looking to buy a car, otherwise we will be on Amtrak. Greyhound is now not an option north of San Fran . It just means now we have to plan ahead and book things. That all takes time and money. I think our main obstacle is that it is peak season and there are people everywhere! Damn humans are so moveable these days.

So we are in San Francisco and booked the same hostel for 3 nights. It is like any big busy concrete city. We are at a hostel Downtown. Around 6pm lots of homeless and beggars fill the corners and pavements. I am talking about a whole movement, not just a few. The kids are asking all the time why there are so many people on the streets asking for money. You can flip between feeling sad and intrigued while others are obviously not well and make you feel unsafe. ‘Why are they living on the street in that box’ the kids ask. All hard questions. Are they stuck or do they like that way of life? It seems a real culture of them hanging out. They are quite organised with their cardboard bed set up, trolleys, signs, stories and some even have pet dogs.

The kids are liking the hostel. They have been playing pool and making pancakes. We are sleeping in a small room with two bunks and share bathroom with our floor. Its a six story hostel and we got the last room. We did a load of washing and the kids read a book each from the share library. Its big days for everyone and a big adjustment. Gracie has been asking for us to be ‘staying in backpackers’. Tell you what it is going to make us all appreciate even more what we have at home.

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The walk to the Marina yesterday was cool. The roads are like the ones you see on high speed chases in American movies with the cars flying through the air on vertical steps from block to block. Am am sure the locals have toned legs and dont wear high heels.

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A leg of the Americas Cup was on today. We seen the Prada yacht and some official timing boats. The whole wharf was filling with people and activities. Busking, maritime museums, people, shops and restaurants. We visited the Cable Car Museum, a submarine and some old boats. We all really enjoyed that.

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We caught the local 8x bus into Chinatown on the way home for dinner. We could have easily been in busy China. We stood out and got some funny looks from the locals. We visited fish monger markets who had turtle, frogs and every other imaginable aquatic creature for sale. Live or dried.

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We checked out the local fishing vessels to see what types of fish and crustaceans they catch in these waters. We could see Alcatraz Island across the bay.

Today we went to Golden Gate Park to see the California Academy of Sciences. We were there for the whole afternoon. It was one of those places you have to keep scooting otherwise you just dont get around. We watched a cool Plantetarium galaxy movie, seen a white alligator, living roof, Japanese tea garden, Amazon rainforest, huge aquariums, earthquake simulation and a big blue butterfly landed on my nose.

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There was a bit of thick gunja smoking rolled into long brown cigars, psychedelic dreadlocked hippy action and black dudes playing chess at the bus stop this morning. All going on like another normal day passing.

Okay I have to sign off now. There is a girl running from hostel floor to floor on the megaphone yelling ‘free beer, free beer, get out of your room, there is going to be a party tonight’. Bailey and Gracie are chanting ‘free beer, free beer’…

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One thought on “San Francisco

  1. Love reading your posts. It is like a trip down memory lane. San Fran definatly has its quota of homelessness. It is partly due to its mild climate and its social programs that have provided cash payments for homeless individuals. It is often considered the homelessness capital of the United States. I would expect in Vancouver you will be confronted with a similar scene — though the air around Vancouver will probably be thick with pot smoke. If you havent gone past Mendicino yet, STOP IN at Sweetwater Spa and Inn — even just for a hot tub and spa- 44840 Main St
    Mendocino, CA 95460 (800) 300-4140. One of my favourite accommodations in the world.

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