11 June 2012

Typical tourists of San Francisco

After our epic day yesterday of seeing Kings Canyon National Park and then finally arriving in San Francisco, and with my parents only having 4 days left of their holiday before returning to Australia, we were eager to get out and about immediately. Already we knew San Francisco was going to have a great few days ahead for us.

To get the most of our limited time we took a sight seeing bus that drove around the entire city, hitting every classic landmark, with one of the coolest tour instructors I've ever had. She was hilarious and highly informative, making for a really great day. These were the best photos I managed on a moving bus.

Union Square... I think.

Such classy looking streets

Our brief drive through Golden Gate Park.
This park, according to what I heard from our guide, is bigger than Central Park in New York City, which I thought was rather impressive given the rather small size of the city. It is almost half the length of the city in fact at 3 miles across, with the city itself only being 7 miles by 7 miles.

It's history was also highly interesting, which I have the desire to tell you all about right now. Note that this is going entirely off my memory so is probably off but whatever.

To begin: After a massive earthquake in 1906 which flattened most of the city, the city council demolished the rubble and wanted to turn this area into a park (perhaps to remember the day?). Immediately however they encountered the problem of the soil and ground being too acidic (or something) and mostly sand thus restricting substantially the growth of foliage, so they hired the same guy who developed Central Park to come in and turn the place around. He agreed and got straight to work, however after doing some tests and evaluations he basically declared that it can't be done and quit the project soon after. The city then turned to two other botanists for help, whom after many tests and investigations discovered that there was the perfect solution rectify the soil's health: Eucalyptus Trees! (Go Australia!). Those trees do something to the soil that allowed for the fertility needed for plants and grass to grow, allowing for the amazing richness and diversity you now see in the park today.

All of which I found very interesting!

To further provide you guys with some interesting facts about the park, I shall continue! (Hey, it's my blog, I can ramble on if I want). So while one of the two botanists who originally worked on the park moved on elsewhere, the other loved it so much that he decided to stay to work on it further so he built a little house for himself in the park itself and would spend day after day tending and improving the park. During his work he was met with challenges however, especially from the city who (like all councils who for some reason always like to ruin things) wanted things like roads in and through the park. He fought against roads as he believed that if people drove through the park they would miss out on all the parks beauty (which makes sense to me), but the city wouldn't budge and he eventually lost the case. But this story is not without hope, for this man was very crafty and as such he ensured that all the roads were narrow and curved thus forcing motorists to slow down when driving through, brilliant!

His other battle with the city was his strong reluctance towards having statues into the park. I can't remember his reasons, but he absolutely hated statues and hated the idea of them being in his precious park. The city refused to budge on this issue and came in and placed statues all around anyway. Again, being the clever man that he is, he didn't accept this decision without retaliation and came up with the idea to plant trees and grass around the statues that could grow large to eventually cover the statues entirely, another great idea! It is believed that even now no one truly knows how many statues there are in the park because many of them have been lost in foliage. Ha! This battle continued however, and reached a peek in intensity when the city, despite his continued crusade against statues, went ahead and put a statue of the botanist himself into the park to honour him as the parks creator. A few days later after the statue had been erected however it mysteriously went missing! It wasn't until decades later when the botanist eventually died and the city were cleaning up his house to turn it into a monument of the park's existence that they stumbled across the missing statue of the botanist buried in the botanists own backyard. Ha! Classic!

Anyways I thought it was a fantastic story. Here are some more pictures.

They are all rather random and spread out photos because we never really stayed in one place long, nor did we have the luxury of exploring as much as we would of liked. Although already I am really starting to love this city, it is friendly, cool, modern, clean, small (yet big at the same time), is highly diverse and I feel is somewhat unique in every aspect, it really is a city that has everything.

Now skipping ahead in time a little bit, the above pictures and stories have taken place over a really great 3 days here in San Francisco with my parents. We saw all the major sights and had some really good times together, alas it is time for my parents to head back to Australia so tomorrow they will be taking a flight to Los Angeles where they will stay for 1 day, then head back home the following day.

It was really awesome having them here, despite the impression that my pictures and blog posts and Facebook updates may suggest, traveling solo is damn hard, stressful, and can at times be extremely lonely, so having them with me for over a week was really refreshing and just what I needed. We saw some absolutely amazing sights, with our few days spent in Las Vegas, flying over the Grand Canyon then our really awesome road trip from Las Vegas to a town called Bakersfield, to our absolutely legendary day spent at Kings Canyon National Park and driving onwards to San Francisco, to finish up with seeing, what I believe, is one of the best places America has to offer.

It already feels a little weird to be on my own again, while traveling solo is absolutely amazing in that the freedom I have is unparalleled to anything I have had before, there are of course very many drawbacks also. I have absolutely no idea when I will see them (or home for the matter) again, so it was a bittersweet goodbye.

So, yep... wow, what an amazing week it has been. It wasn't too long ago that I hanging out in a hostel in Los Angeles, and now so much has happened in such a short amount of time.

I am not entirely sure what my next step will be, I can either stay here for another few weeks and look for work, or fly over to the East to Atlanta, Georgia to visit my amazing friend Vanessa, or go straight to New York City... which was the original goal and plan of this entire trip.

For now I am going to relax, reorganize, see some sights and just see what happens.


Tom said...

Getting very jealous of you right now and contemplating hopping over to America myself this Summer. I assume it would be a stupid idea to not plan to hire a car (I always assumed public transport in America, cross-state, is terrible?).

New York sounds like a plan via your good friend?

Tania said...

I have family in San Francisco. I went there when I was thirteen. It's such a nice city! Much, much nicer than Seattle was.

It's so funny that you call it a small city when its population is more than 7 million, though. The city I live in has a population of 80 thousand. Canada as a country has not quite 33 million. So in one city, it's more than a fifth of Canada's entire population. :P

Azz said...

Tom - Do it man, you won't be disappointed there is heaps of awesome things to do and see :D Nah the cross-state transport is surprisingly alright, and goes to all the major places (I went from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for $20), and you can even catch a bus to head from the West to the East.

All depends what you want to do, if you want to see for example the Grand Canyon then up to Yosemite National Park, then you do have options to go with a tour group, but a car could be better for obvious reasons. A car is becomes expensive when dropping it off in a different state that you picked it up from.

New York is always a good plan ;)

Tania - Oh man you must return soon I would say =D Especially with family here it'd be perfect.

Ah, well I was more referring to its geological size, as I agree that 7 million people is huge! The whole country of Australia only has 22 million haha!

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