Wooooooo! Part 2!
This thrilling blog post is a continuation from my first riveting post on my time in los Angeles Looking Back My First Crazy Week Of Backpacking Part 1: Los Angeles, So if you haven’t read that post you should totally go check it out, unless of course you don’t give a shit about Los Angeles or are all like “You don’t know me, your not my dad, you cant tell me what to read” Wow calm down there I was just making a suggestion GOD!, do whatever you want.
Just a word of warning this is a looooong blog post,so you might wanna go to the bathroom get yourself a drink, some popcorn or whatever food it is that you eat while reading long blog posts. I put lots of eye candy photos along the way though to sustain you.
Part Deux – San Francisco
Day 4 Continued
So for this part just imagine it’s being said like at the start of an 80’s tv show recapping where the last episode ended 😛
Last time on Nerd Travels Brendon found himself fighting for his life against a gang of high level Los Angeles street hobo’s, armed with only his DSLR camera with neck strap as a reach weapon and his mighty +1 bludgeoning damage laptop he valiantly fought his way to the bus and was on his way to beautiful san francisco. (Some of that is true :P).
Either way the bus was around 8 hrs to San francisco with a brief stop over at a burger king to get some fast food nastiness. The bus ride wasn’t as boring as I expected. between constantly trying to reconnect to the shitty bus wifi (you know those awesome wifi connections that drop in and out every few minutes) and checking out the scenary it was an alright ride. The funniest part was when me and the other two Australians I was travelling with realized that they only took cash and between the 3 of us had to dig through all our bags to produce the $40 bus fare each before getting off the bus.
Forward planning FTW!!!
So after an arduous journey where I collected so much XP for discovering new area’s I arrived in San Francisco at 8:30 in the evening. The first thing I noticed when I got off the bus when I looked around was people were wearing long pants jackets scarves and winter hats, Was I in the right place? Isn’t this meant to be California where it is warm? And here I was standing there in in shorts t shirt my flip flops freezing my nether regions off.
However the nether region freezing would have to wait as there was a pub crawl at 9 that I HAD to attend. So after tossing on some warmer clothes 45 of us (including a girl I was talking to as she was leaving LA hostel on the Monday as I was checking in, funny how you run into same people again) all left the hostel on a pub crawl through 3 bars near union square area in San Francisco.
We Invaded Each Bar Like a Band of Marauding Orcs
I wish I could tell you what the names or locations of the bars but I honestly can’t remember. What I do remember is that each of the bar’s where small bars with less than 10 people in them just having a quiet drink on a Thursday evening. Then we entered 45+ backpackers (Over 15 of us were Australian) all ready to party.
It was a fun night and large quantities of alcohol were consume, I got to meet and talk to a lot of other backpackers as well as talk to a lot of shocked locals who were in the bars we invaded. The night ended with a bunch of us wandering around the streets of San Francisco drunkingly trying to find our way back to the hostel at 3am, Somehow we managed to pick up a local guy and some chic that we met off the street on the way back to the hostel. She claimed was on a bike and claimed she was getting some exercise at 3am. A little bit weird but OK why not? Who am I to judge peoples exercise routine. After partying back at hostel for another couple of hours it was time to try and salvage what ever sleep I could before starting my first full day in San Francisco.
So I awoke on the Friday not so bright and early at 10am with a bit of a sore head but that wasn’t going to stop me from going out and seeing San Francisco, With my messenger bag loaded up with water and more importantly my camera I stumbled out into the lounge area of the hostel. I was greeted with open arms by numerous people from the hostel who I had met the night before on the bar crawl, Most whom I was struggling to remember. However after a brief conversation my memory was restored and me and Another Aussie guy went for a walk through downtown San Francisco and the ferry plaza market.
I’m Surprised There Are Any Australians Left In Australia, I Met So Many Travelling!
Ferry plaza market was interesting there were many fancy little stores selling things from pig parts to mushrooms.
One of the things I really loved about San Francisco was that everything was so compact, You could walk almost everywhere. This was a welcome change coming from the sprawling city of Los Angeles. That and the refreshing sea breeze compared to the dry heat of LA.
Either way after a day of walking around we decided to ride the old school cable car back up to union square from Hyde street pier, after over an hours worth of “Anticipation” sitting in giant line we finally were off. (Word of advice for people wanting to catch this cable car don’t wait an hr like us just walk the 5 minutes up to the next stop up the hill for a much shorter wait)
I made sure that I got one of the standing seats that was dangling off the side, It was a really fun experience especially when we passed another cable car and everyone had to tuck themselves in so that know one lost any limbs. I’m not sure if its the most practical form of transport seeing as it was constantly stopping in the middle of intersections blocking other traffic but it had that old time charm and was a unique experience.
After that we refueled with a delicious burger at a burger bar across the street from the hostel and spent an evening getting drunk, playing Foosball and pool in lounge area of the hostel. At about midnight a bunch of us decided that heading to a dance club was in order. After partying until the clubs kicked us out at 2 am we stumbled back to the hostel for a few more drinks before calling it a night.
I woke up 9:55am in a rush as I realized the walking tour of San Francisco that left from the hostel was leaving in 5 minutes. Hungover and still wearing the same clothes from the night previous I managed to grab a bottle of water and forget everything else including my camera as I staggered towards the front of the hostel to meet up with the tour group right as they were about to leave.
At the time I was seriously debating on whether I should have just stayed in bed and gotten some more sleep so that my body didnt hate me quite so much. But I’m glad I didn’t because what follows is one of my most memorable days in San Francisco. I just wish I had more pictures but without a camera I was left with only a few pictures I managed to take on my Iphone before it came to its untimely demise and ran out of battery.
Our tour took us through chinatown where we got to visit the first fortune cookie factory “Golden Gate Fortune Cookies” We even all got a free flattened fortune-less fortune cookie 😛 guess you cant complain about it not having a fortune when it was free :D. After that we saw a Chinese barber who was in the movie “The Pursuit of Happiness” playing the musical instrument the Erhu. It had a really unique sound and was quite impressive to listen to.
From there we walked up to the coit tower where we got to see some amazing views of San Francisco, The whole time I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera, but luckily I managed to get back up there there day after and take some awesome photo’s, so for this part we will just pretend I took these photo’s on the tour :P.
After that the tour ended down at Pier 39 I met a lot of new people on the tour and as a result a bunch of us decided to get some fish and chips and check out the sea lions down at the wharf before returning to the hostel.
We must have spent over an hour there watching these Sea Lions, they are an endless source of entertainment they just laze around in the sun barking and starting fights with each other. I loved it so much that I came back down to Pier 39 a second time and spent an extra hour watching them and taking these awesome pictures.
We then returned to the hostel to pick up some much needed supplies, namely my camera and not the same clothes I was wearing from the previous day :P. Now feeling less like a smelly hobo the six of us headed out to “The Mission” area to check out some of the street are and the big party area in Dolores park.
We where told by a local that Dolores park is the equivalent of San Francisco’s beach and was where everyone goes to relax and party in the sun. So we bought a few beer’s at the corner store and headed there for an afternoon of drinking and basking in the sun, It was a really fun atmosphere there must have been hundreds of people there all kicking back and partying. We encountered many interesting people including a guy that was trying so hard to look tough but it was all ruined by the fact that he had a cat on his shoulder, Props to him though seeing as there were a stack of dogs around and he managed to keep that cat in control pretty well.
The day ended with a nice Thai dinner with some friends I’d met and hung out with over the day before returning back to the hostel. This is where I should have taken an early night and got some sleep, but it was Saturday night and there was free sangria rum and vodka at the hostel so there was no way that was going to happen. So lets just say another drunken night of Foosball pool and general shenanigans occurred at the hostel till 5am. 😛
I woke up and it dawned on my this was the final day of my trip, there was so much I needed to do, I ended up spending a day by myself taking photos of seals and other things around San Francisco and got some shopping in for some cargo pants that I’d been wanting to do before I left. It was nice having the day to myself .
My last day in San francisco could’t have ended on a more perfect note, I had the Alcatraz tour at 6:45 and all the fog had cleared making for some astonishing photos of the sun setting behind the golden gate bridge. This pretty much made my whole trip, also helped me complete my main quest objective which was to take an amazing photo of the golden gate bridge.
The Alcratraz tour was pretty great, We each got a self guided audio tour which was really well done. It was especially creepy standing in the solitary confinement cell by myself at night. However what really made Alcatraz for me was the amazing night views of the city that I got from the island. Truth be told I spend more time outside with my DSLR and gorillapod testing my hand at some night photography, I ended up having a ball even though most of the time I had no idea what I was doing.
I totally recommend the night tour of Alcatraz to anyone planning on doing it especially if your a photography geek.
The night ended with a few quiet beers in the lounge (I had beers in the fridge I couldn’t let them go to waste now could I?) before going to bed.
I think San Francisco has to be one of my favorite cities I have ever visited, From it’s people, its steep hills and just style I instantly fell in love with it. I definitely want to go back to San Francisco to visit. Hell I might even consider living there if I got the chance.
Completely exhausted I rose like some kind of krakken from the depths at 5:30am to get the shuttle bus to San Francisco Airport and start my day long journey to get back to Montreal where I crashed HARD That said I wouldn’t have changed anything. My first backpacking experience was an absolute blast. I cant believe that travelling and staying in Hostels has never been a priority for me sooner. It really has opened my eyes and my mind to the world. This trip has really given me a great amount of confidence both in myself and in my decision to leave my life behind in Montreal and go traveling. I feel like this is a new chapter in my life and I can’t wait to make the most out of it and explore all this amazing planet has to offer.
Oh and Iwill totally be going back to San Francisco in the future
Note: Bonus points If you got the lord of the rings reference hidden in there 😛