04 October 2012

Road trip!

Traveling without my Macbook is tough. And depressing. And makes blogging quite difficult too. My last post left off with my imminent departure from the Bed and Breakfast to continue my travels seeing as there are so many places still left on my 'must see' list, despite the fact that I have already been in America for over 6 months now! But who's counting?

I am.

It is strange to be back on the road again after being stable for so long, it honestly took me a while to get used to it; the carrying of bags, catching buses, fending off the homeless people trying to give me directions in exchange for money despite the fact that I'm on phone call and aren't even walking anywhere at the time. With my new Icelandish friend Gunnar (whom I met at the Bed and Breakfast), we caught the long bus ride from Fort Bragg to San Francisco... wow it was great to be back in this city, it really is one of my favourite places in the world thus far. I only had a few hours to spare however because I already had a bus reserved to take me to the city called Sacramento to meet up with a friend of mine, Margaret (America).

Which I missed of course... so I caught the next one, a quick 2 hours later. During which I, and the entire bus terminal, was lucky enough to listen to a man have... quite some difficulties in the bathroom. Good times!

I stayed at Margaret's house for a few days, extremely grateful to have time to rest up after the hardship that was the Bed and Breakfast, and to basically plan my next move. Oh and she does swing dancing too! We went out to one of her classes and it was some of the best fun I have had on my entire trip, very cool indeed.

On a related note: Australian accent = awesome.

I explored Sacramento for a while:

Capitol Hall
The local neighbourhood of the city was really nice
It was a really nice, beautiful city actually. Chances are you are like me and weren't aware that Sacramento is actually the capitol of California (eg. not San Francisco or Los Angeles as one would assume) so there was some great history around the place. The tour of Capitol Hall was a real treat and highlight, the tour guide was brilliant and explained much about the history of the country that I was completely oblivious to, something I always appreciate.

Things got a little tough soon after however as out of no where Margaret informs me that I needed to leave her house much sooner than originally organized. Sigh. All the hostels were of course booked out by that stage, so yet again there was some stressful times as I tried to find somewhere to stay. Eventually I managed to secure a motel for one night (at a painful $46 for the night) and then a hostel for the following few nights.

The motel was fantastic though! It had a lovely 40cm TV with fuzzy reception for starters, something I hadn't seen in over 2 months because the Bed and Breakfast didn't have any. I watched Despicable Me (it was funny) and Good Luck Chuck (it wasn't funny). Great times. And as a special amenities option (that I was unaware of) the motel was kind enough to offer a free complementary live mouse included as part of my room (literally there was a mouse in the room). How modern! As I was watching the movies I'd see Mr Complementary Mouse pop out from behind the TV, then disappear as I try to catch him, so that was a nice unexpected extra entertainment. What will the hospitality industry come up with next I wonder.

Oh! I nearly forgot to mention my favourite part. Mr Complementary Mouse didn't just run around the back of the TV cabinet, but he also gave free back massages while you watch TV! Oh man I can't tell you how relaxed I felt after Mr Complementary Mouse ran across my back as I tried to watch Despicable Me. The guy has magic fingers or something, so effective.

For some reason I didn't sleep well that night.

Now I've had the next few destinations that I plan to travel to in mind for quite some time, so it was time to actually... like, go to these destinations. Of course I am the worst planner in history and waited too long to book a flight, so the next cheapest available flight was seven days away. Argh. I had already seen most of what Sacramento had to offer, and even returning to San Francisco didn't sound ideal as I had been there so much already as it is. I was pretty worried how I was to entertain myself for the next 7 days, especially without my MacBook with me anymore...

Turns out travel is a funny thing, for in the end I had nothing to worry about what so ever because as my strange luck would have it, it was the very next day where I made an awesome new friend: Chris from Switzerland! Our first adventure was an awesome bike ride along the American River (some big river) on a perfect blue sky day. It rocked!

Well besides us nearly getting mugged, but at least it got my heart racing! Haha!

Chris ready to ride!
Pretty sweet shot
Sacramento with perfect skies, great day for a ride
That night I found out that Chris had hired a car and was planning a little road trip, leaving the following day with the loose plan being to leave Sacramento and head to a city called Reno (in Nevada) where he will stay the night, then to a city called San Jose (in California) and stay the night, before finishing up in San Francisco.

"Umm... dude, I know we only met yesterday, but I have seven days of nothing to fill up before my next flight... can I come" was my enthusiastic request.

"Sure!" was Chris' equally enthusiastic reply!

Road trip =D

The very next day we packed our stuff and headed off first thing in the morning, wow was it good to be back on the road! With music playing and beautiful scenary it was such a great time.

Now that is a great view
And along the way to Reno I got to fullfil a huge goal I've had in mind but never ever thought I'd ever be able to achieve... seeing Lake Tahoe! Although it appears my photos do not give it anywhere near the justice it deserves. Plus there was cloud. But still, being able to tick it off my 'must-see' list felt really good.

Eventually we arrived at Reno, Nevada, which immediately looked like a dull version of Las Vegas really. A very dull version of Las Vegas. Basically it was like Las Vegas' younger weird brother, where despite being family the two were nothing alike, and you kind of just let him tag along else you'd never hear the end of it. Chris and I looked to be the youngest ones around by a good 30 years too.

Although we did get our own hotel rooms for a very reasonable price, with mine being on the 20th floor with an amazing view of the city below so that was pretty sweet.

How exciting...
The view from my room of Reno below. It was so peaceful to sit by the window and just stare at the city lights down below, the silhouette of the mountains in the distance, the moon light bright. I ponder a lot during these times. 

And... well, besides that there wasn't anything else worth writing about to be honest, the view really was the highlight of our time there haha.

The following day it was time to hit the road once more to return back to California to visit a city called San Jose, but this time with perfect skies and even better views along the way:

San Jose is about an hour or so South of San Francisco. It was okay I guess, and we just checked into a random motel for the night.

The reception guy at the motel upon discovering my name is Aaron and that I am from Australia, laughed to himself and said this:

"Haha, you're the same as that governor"

"Umm... huh?" was the best reply I could conjure at this stage.

He continued. "You know, the governor, Aaron something! He used to govern California"

"Umm. Oh... you don't mean Arnold do you? As in Arnold Swartzeneggar?"

"Haha oh, yes, well, same name as yours really"

"Not really"

"Well he is from Australia so you are both still similar at least"

"He isn't from Australia, he is from Austria"

"Yes, Australia, that's what I said"

"Not Australia... Austria"

He was now confused.

We spent the next 5 minutes trying to educate him that Arnold Swartzeneggar is in fact from Austria, which is a completely different country to Australia. Sigh... well done America.

I was particularly excited to be around the San Jose area because it is close to the famous Silicon Valley. For those of whom are unaware what Silicon Valley is exactly, it is basically the geographical area between San Francisco and San Jose that has a very high concentration of high-tech companies' headquarters; such as Google, Intel and Apple. If we had more time I would have loved to visit and perhaps even tour these buildings! But I soon got told that there isn't really much to see and is in no way as exciting as the idea I had depicted in my head, so... yeah.

That didn't stop us from driving around of course, and I had heard good things about a town nearby called Palo Alto where apparently a lot of the people who work at said companies live.

It was a very classy area and really cool... which made me question if I have spent my time wisely on this trip, yikes! I am here on a 1 year work Visa, meaning I am legally allowed to work here in America, yet I haven't worked an official job not once yet (ha!).

My original plan of coming to America with this Visa had been to get a job in New York City, which going by the fact that I am over 6 months into my trip and I am currently writing about my time spent driving just outside San Francisco, it isn't hard to guess that that idea didn't quite go to plan. But what I could have technically done is tried a hell of a lot harder and gone for some computer programming jobs whilst here, perhaps even one day becoming one of these people who work at those awesome companies like Google or Apple, and live in these super nice neighbourhoods such as Palo Alto or even in San Francisco... what a life!

If only I had applied myself...

Then I realized I am thinking all of this whilst walking past scores of people in suits, all of whom are eating lunches on what I assume are their far too short lunch breaks, inevitably destined any moment to return to their desks to work far too hard and with too much stress, while Chris and I are about to jump back in the car, cruise the rest of the way to San Francisco, with plans to grab some beers at my favourite pub upon arrival.

In other words, I regret nothing =)

Hello again San Francisco! Did you miss me? I missed you!

I've got 4 days until my flight, bring it on.


Tania said...

Hahaha. Austrian and Australian accents aren't even remotely similar sounding, either.

Ooooh America, your school system has failed you.

Azz said...

I didn't even mention accents actually, if he didn't even know the geographical differences I didn't hold much hope that he would have known about any finer details haha.

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