Day 2 San Francisco

After my loneliness drama last night, I had an okay – ish sleep.
The room I’m in, if you leave the windows open it’s so noisy because we’re right next to the street.
If you close them than it just ends up being stuffy and hot! The girl who was sleeping next to the window shut them so I kept waking up in a sweat from the heat 😥

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My first Hostel Dorm Room

I ended up waking up before my alarm and went and had a shower. A cold one might I add! I was shivering under the cold stream and couldn’t bring myself to go fully under. It was 7.30am and they’d already run out of hot water 😣 I did however accomplish shaving my legs.

Once I was all ready, I skipped breakfast (still not feeling too hungry) and headed on my walk to meet the group for my day tour with Dylan’s Tours which started from fisherman’s wharf.
Along the way however, I passed the  Dylan’s Tours shop (where all the buses are) and ended up meeting my tour guide for the day. His name was Eli and he needed to get some ‘gas’ before the tour started so I just ended up going with him.
I don’t think i will ever understand the difference between gallons and liters here if I owned a car! Back home we don’t even call petrol ‘gas’. We call it Fuel or Petrol haha!

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We picked up everyone else on our tour and then headed off to the Mission district. I learnt that the Mission is often more warmer than other parts of San Francisco. The micro-climates of San Francisco create a system which means each area can have different weather at the same time. Where The Mission is located, it’s more sheltered from the wind and the fog which comes in from the West so ends up being warmer.
It’s also famous for Mexican food and homeless people unfortunately…
Our tour driver was telling us that you can judge if a Mexican place is good because it’ll be open till 3am and there’ll be lines out the door.

They amount of homeless people here is crazy. Apparently years ago there used to be medical facilities/homes for disabled people with no money and now that the government has stopped funding that there’s more homeless people on the street then ever before. It’s apparent when you drive through there as there’s many people with shopping trolleys and people sitting on the sidewalk  😯

To continue on with the tour, we drove through Castro which is in Eureka valley and one of the first gay neighborhoods in the USA. It also hosts the GLBT History Museum which is the first stand-alone museum of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history in the United States.
I can’t remember the place where we stopped but we did have a walk through an alleyway and saw heaps of cool murals and paintings from local artists.

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After our stop to look at the murals we drove up to Twin Peaks which are two prominent hills in the center of San Fran. I took some pictures of the wonderful view from the hills and of Twin Peaks Boulevard which runs a figure eight around the two peaks.image

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Once we’d finished our sight seeing at the peaks, we drove through Haight Ashbury and looked at all the nice houses. Haight Ashbury is like the ‘hippie’ scene of San Francisco.
Throughout the 1980s the Haight was more of a ‘comedy center’ when a small coffee shop opened and became a full time comedy club which helped launch the careers of Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg.

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After that we drove through Pacific heights and I took some more pictures of houses!
I swear I’ve taken so many in San Francisco that i’d love to live in.

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We also stopped for a short break and I got a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream 🙂

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I made friends with a couple, Ross & Kathy on my tour bus. They’re in their 60’s (so a little bit older than me ;)) but they were so good to me the whole day. They pretty much took me under their wing and made sure I was alright the whole time as they knew I was travelling by myself. When we stopped, Ross bought me my ice cream which was around USD$8 For 1 scoop!
I felt bad! (that’s like $11 in New Zealand dollars, more than a whole tub!)

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Mrs Doubt-fire House

I also got to see some pretty expensive houses on the drive!! I saw the Mrs doubtfire house from the movie ‘Mrs Doubtfire’ with Robin Williams. If you’ve never seen it before, it’s basically about a man called Daniel (Robin Williams) who’s wife suddenly divorces him. In the divorce the judge grants the wife custody of the children since Daniel hasn’t got a place to live or a steady job.
Daniel soon finds out that his wife is looking to hire a house-keeper so ends up going under-cover as a woman and applies for the job so he can see his children all the time.

This house ended up selling for 31 million when it went on the market. 😮
The person who bought it was a top plastic surgeon who specialized in transgender surgery. (Funny considering who Mrs Doubtfire was portraying)
Recently a disgruntled patient of the new home owner (a transgender woman) tried to set fire to the house as they were unhappy I guess with their services but they’ve since been arrested.

We also did a drive through this place called Presidio which served as a military base for 3 nations. It’s so big! When he said military Base I didn’t realize there would be so many houses.

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After that, we went and took some pictures outside the golden gate bridge!! 😄

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The wind was blowing too much in my face for a good photo. And this bloody fence was getting in my way haha.

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When we’d finished taking some snappies, we headed over the bridge to the cute neighborhood of Sausalito which is at the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge.
We only did a drive through but it looked like it had some good shopping! It’s a ferry ride away from the main city of SF otherwise you can drive across the bridge.
Sausalito also has lots of houseboats, more than 400 houseboats in fact!

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Then it was off to Muir woods!
Its a unit of the National Park near the Pacific coast and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation area. It protects 554 acres of old growth Coast Redwood with only a few still remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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There were 2 walks you could go on, a 30 minutes one or a 1 hour walk.
I ventured off by myself and did the 1 hour walk which actually only took me 30 minutes.

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We had to be back to the van by 3.15pm so we could head to another look out and get an awesome picture of SF according to our guide.

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This is a picture of me and the friends I made on my tour, Kathy & Ross!

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When the tour was over, we had a choice of where to be dropped back to and when we got to fisherman’s wharf Kathy asked if I’d like to join her and Ross for dinner so I happily accepted and got off at the same drop off point as them.
Ross wanted to get a free chocolate from the Ghirardelli chocolate store so we went there (as when you walk in you get a free chocolate haha)

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We then headed off down the road along Fisherman’s wharf and stopped for drinks at a restaurant.
I felt very spoilt as they paid for all my drinks and food all of tonight!
It was funny because I ordered a cider at one of the places we went to and Ross assumed I wasn’t drinking and kept insisting I get a wine or something. After much confusion, I realized he thought I meant an Apple Cider that I’m assuming kids in America get in their lunch boxes that have no alcohol in them.
However Cider in New Zealand is a very popular alcoholic beverage for my age group. It’s cheap and a lot nicer than beer (in my opinion) they come in flavors like Wild Berry, Strawberry & Lime, Pear, Apple and Orange & Ginger.
Eventually the bar tender found an alcoholic Apple Cider at the back of the fridge somewhere. I now know to order a Vodka and Soda from now on to be less difficult.

When it came time to grab some dinner we walked along the pier until we came across a Japanese restaurant. I hate seafood (even fish) so you can imagine how hard it was to find a place on Fisherman’s Wharf that didn’t sell seafood.
Poor Ross and Kathy probably thought I was the fussiest person in the world. The Japanese place we found was good though, we had wine and edamame beans and some other Japanese dishes which were really good.
I don’t think we left till after 9pm as we kept eating and drinking.

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imageBy this stage we’d all talked our ears off so we left and walked along the pier a bit more. I stopped and bought a magnet for my travel collection and also a magnet for them so they can hopefully remember me!:) It was the least I could do especially as they’d been so generous towards me.

We all took a taxi back and they dropped me off so I got to my hostel safe and sound.
Kathy has my email address as I don’t have a SIM card yet so hopefully we will do something on Saturday together.
Ross is a Dentist so he’s here for a lecture for a few days – hence why they’re in San Francisco.

I’m going to Alcatraz early tomorrow morning. It’s like 11pm here and I’m so tired I hope I have a good sleep tonight!
When I got back to the hostel 2 new girls from Australia arrived but they’re heading to Las Vegas tomorrow. I talked to them for like 20 minutes and we got along really well so I’m gutted they’re leaving now. (Look at me getting all excited when I make a friend haha)

Anyways, shower time!
I hope there’s some hot water 😯
Xx

(I uploaded this the day after I wrote it coz the Wi fi at the hostel was so shit!)

Day 1 San Francisco

*sigh*
I haven’t slept properly since I got on the plane yesterday (NZ Time) and that’s why I think I’m feeling all weird.

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My flight to Los Angeles made me a bit nervous with all the turbulence at the beginning but I took a little anxiety pill and it made it all better. Plus the lady next to me was really nice to me the whole time. She was with her husband and they were visiting NZ and Australia from Canada. She stayed with me till I got off the plane at LAX and then we lost each other when it was time to sort out visas. I never got her name.

When I got to the visa line, I made friends with this girl called Angelique (I saw her passport haha otherwise I’d never have gotten her name). We waited in line to get our fingerprints and eyes scanned for nearly 2 hours. I was fretting I was going to miss my connecting flight to San Francisco and she was off to New York so we were in the same ‘hurry up’ boat.

Once we got through, we got our bags together and then fast walked to terminal 7 (we both had the same airline) which was like a 10 minute walk through LAX.
I felt so gross when I finally checked in because I’d been on the plane for so long. I thought I was going to be late but the United Airlines lady at the desk was really helpful and put my bag through to me and showed me how to get my boarding pass on the computer etc.
Then it was off through the body scanner and into the boarding area to take my flight to San Francisco.

When I was all settled in my seat on the plane, I started talking to the passenger next to me who was called Karmin. He was telling me all about San Fran as he travels there all the time for work and also mentioned how I was very brave going in this trip by myself!
However I wasn’t feeling very brave when my plane left New Zealand the previous day haha.

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When I landed at San Francisco Airport around 4.30pm I had to wait for a shuttle and didn’t get to my hostel until after 7pm.
There’s a baseball game on tonight at the A&T stadium so there was heaps of traffic driving into the city.
As I was taking a shuttle, I had to wait as we dropped each passenger off one by one and I ended up being the last one! 😐
Even though it felt like it took forever, I did have a nice shuttle tour around the city of San Fran and the driver explained quite a lot of stuff to me.
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When I eventually got to my hostel in San Fran, the guy at the reception ended up making me so irritated. He was so slow at talking which was making me frustrated which in turn probably made me come across as impatient and rude.
I just wanted my key and to be shown where my room was so I could take my heavy bag off and have a shower to wash my sweat off me! I even said to him “sorry my bag is just really heavy from carrying it up the stairs and my necks hurting” and he’s like “so we have breakfast every morning, we have bagels and cream cheese and jam and nutella and there’s also some butter to use and the juice is just over there and we also have eggs you can make throughout the day. You can also use the fridge if you want to store any of your perishable items blah blah blah” 😠😠

Once I finally got to my room, I had a shower and rummaged through my stuff to find something new to wear. When I was getting ready I met one of my room mates who seems friendly but she was just about to head out for the hostel Pub Crawl so couldn’t stay to chat long. I didn’t go because I’d just hopped out of the shower and didn’t think I would be ready in time.
Kinda gutted coz after I was ready there was like 1 group of people at the table in the common room playing cards and talking but they didn’t really seem like they wanted to socialise with new people so I headed off down the street to get some dinner and check out the area which I was staying in.

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I decided on a slice of Hawaiian pizza from a pizza parlour for dinner and sat all by myself! (The start of solo travelling haha)
I wasn’t there for very long, I left as soon as I’d finished. I really would have loved to walk around San Francisco tonight but the area where the hostel is in is very stripper friendly and i didn’t feel super safe walking by myself with so many seedy guys around. I went back to the hostel instead.

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I ended up heading back to the common room (which is a set up at the hostel with tables and chairs and couches near the kitchen). A couple of guys from Italy invited me over to their table and talked to me for a little bit but I didn’t hang around for too long. I’m feeling all strange and new at the moment, probably to do with nerves of starting my trip and I haven’t had a proper sleep in 2 days. I didn’t eat anything on the plane either up until I had my Pizza slice so I’m running on low energy.

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I’m going on a SF tour tomorrow morning with a company called Dylans Tours. We’re meeting at fisherman’s wharf so I’m going to pack my bag and cuddle down for some sleep time. It’s just after 10pm here so I probably need to get with the sleeping time zone anyways.

Overall, my day has been a 4/10 as I’m tired and haven’t had a chance to be settled quite yet.
I love San Francisco so far, I just need to explore on my feet instead of from the inside of a shuttle car haha.

X

San Fran Bucket List

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My trip isn’t too far away now.
I’m excited but I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet how soon it is. I’ll be getting butterflies on the plane I bet! 😯
In the mean-time, I’ve been writing a bucket lists of things I want to do and places I want to see!
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♡ Walk across the great Golden Gate Bridge!
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♡ Obviously ride a cable car at least once
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♡ Do the audio tour of Alcatraz
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♡ Visit Muir Woods
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♡ Walk/run up Lombard Street
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♡ Devour an ice cream sundae at Ghirardelli Square
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♡ Eat a burrito in the Mission (anyone got any recommendations on where to go?)
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♡ Explore San Fran’s China Town
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♡ Check out the Sea Lions around Pier 39

As I only have a few days there, I think this list is doable! 🙂
xx