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San Francisco adventures

semi-overcast 20 °C

The last few days have been spent in a strange haze. I'm halfway between wanting to run home screaming, and wanting to hurry up and begin my South American adventures! I landed at midday on the 10th, after a very bumpy and scary flight through the massive storm.
I slowly made my way to my hostel (The Green Tortoise on Broadway, which I thoroughly recommend) and had many kind people offer me advice on buses/ trams/ walkways. I think seeing a girl wandering through the city with a backpack and a stuffed rainbow sock monkey certainly attracts attention!

My hostel is nice enough, and strangely I spent my first night with a Kiwi guy from Wellington who was on his way back to New Zealand after a year living in New York. How strange we both thought it was to have coincidentally put two Kiwis together, one on the start of their adventure and the other at the end! The Green Tortoise is right next to the City Lights Bookstore, opened by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I checked it out, and Dad told me I had to have a look at the alley behind it to see where Bob Dylan filmed Subterranean homesick blues - which of course I did!

Bob Dylan's Subterranean homesick blues alleyway

Bob Dylan's Subterranean homesick blues alleyway

I had also decided I wanted to visit Pier 39 to see the Sealions. They were so gorgeous, all sprawled out over the docks, lapping up the sunshine! Every time a bird flew past, they would all go crazy trying to get at it, their heads all flipping the same way at the same time. I watched them for ages and found a favourite who looked just like my cat Bob. He was the biggest sealion and he was all sprawled out across his own dock, which coincidentally was also the best of the bunch - figures!

sealions at pier 39

sealions at pier 39

sealions at pier 39

sealions at pier 39

like bob!

like bob!

At Pier 39, I was suddenly reminded of the America I remember from my childhood. For some reason, I had forgotten how amazing this place is when it goes all out to impress. Every single shop had a theme - including Leftys (selling only items for left handers), popcorn stores, ice cream stores (multiple of these), donut stores, stores selling only charms for bracelets, or crystals, or magic tricks, or clothes for pets, or things that change colour in the sunshine. Walking through Pier 39 made me remember what it was like to come to the United States as a child with my parents - completely overwhelmed by colour, smell, taste, and just the multitude of choice!

pier 39

pier 39

But before I actually got there, I walked the wrong way and ended up at pier 9 so I ended up having a MASSIVE walk today! Probably a good thing as I stopped off at the Ghirardelli Chocolate factory and tried one square of each flavour where cinammon crunch won the competition! I saw Alcatraz Island and decided not to go. It was not the best weather today, kinda cloudy but warm enough that I just noticed my chest is slightly sunburned! However, the wind in San Francisco is not pleasant, and when the sun wasn't out I really wished I had my coat!

out to alcatraz

out to alcatraz

Chris Sorenson had told me all about Fisherman's wharf, just along from Pier 39, and how I had to try clam chowder served in a bowl made from sourdough bread - well I did, and it was absolutely delicious! I got to watch them make the sourdough bread in the factory, and I saw different animals made from sourdough bread too. It was at a factory called Boudin's. Everywhere along Fisherman's wharf sold clam chowder in sourdough bowls, but I wanted to get it from the best place in town!

sourdough friends

sourdough friends

YUM - Boudin's clam chowder

YUM - Boudin's clam chowder

YUM clam chowder bowl

YUM clam chowder bowl

The Golden Gate Bridge definitely did not want to show it's entire self to me, so I decided not to walk even further to see just as little of it. I mananged to get completely lost finding my way back to the hostel, where I ended up climbing the most steepest streets of my entire life! I thought I was going to die! The footpaths even had tiny steps in them, to help people climb up as it really was an intense climb! I can't even imagine driving up or down it, I think Trixi would just give up halfway! However, at the top of Russian Hill I did manage to get a tiny glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, so I do know it exists!

spot the Golden Gate

spot the Golden Gate

And then on my way back to my hotel, I stumbled upon another gigantic hill, this time with a view over towards the CBD

San Francisco

San Francisco

I made the last minute decision to head into chinatown for a massage before heading back to the hostel. The massage itself was average, and then it all went worse when I forgot to give a tip. How much of my life have I spent in this country, yet I still forget to tip every single time? Anyway, when I tried to explain what went wrong and why I forgot, the man started yelling at me in Chinese/ English mix. I tried to ask him how much I needed to tip and he just yelled and tried grabbing my wad of cash. So I gripped on tight and ran right out of his shop! There was no way I was going to tip him after that behaviour! I ran outside and stumbled into a young Mexican boy with his mother, neither who could speak English. The young boy was scared of this crazy blue man who was frozen, waiting for money so he would come to life and sing and dance. I helped the boy understand he needed to come and push the button around the blue man's neck, that he wouldn't dance or sing until we did that - despite him already having put money into the blue man's money jar. The boy was so scared of the blue man, and I loved being able to help him and his mother!
I like how in many shops/ markets here in San Francisco, a lot of people speak Spanish so I get to practice everywhere I go!

musical friend

musical friend

I finally made it back to my hotel at 5, where I joined up as a volunteer in the kitchen to help cook the free dinner that is provided to everyone who stays at the hostel. We were making Tacos, and it included the full works! It took two hours, and there were about 10 of us helping. The main chef was this absolutely CRAZY Italian man who had lived in Colombia and various other parts of America Latina. He took a shining to me and we spent most of the night laughing and joking in Spanish with another girl staying at the hostel, travelling from Barcelona. The hostel is mostly full of Germans, Polish, and Danish travelers at the moment, so I have found myself only having anything in common with theses two Spanish speaking friends.

I have enjoyed San Francisco but it certainly isn't my favourite place on earth. Maybe it's because I am now getting really excited to go to Colombia tomorrow. I know that is where the real adventure begins x

Posted by chasingsummer 20:56 Archived in USA Tagged san francisco sealions pier_39 clam_chowder

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