10 October 2012

You've been good to me San Francisco

After the awesome 3 day road trip with Chris we were now back in San Francisco! I still had 4 days until my flight to my next destination and at first I was dreading how I was to fill up all that time as despite my love for the city I have seen so much of it already thus I couldn't imagine experiencing anything I hadn't already.

Yep, I was waaaay off :)

On Wednesday I applied for my old job of hosting the hostel pub crawl, but it had been filled already, bummer. But that doesn't mean I couldn't still attend! Although, I don't know, my heart wasn't in it like the last times (which were absolutely legendary), but Chris and I still had a good time.

Yes I am well aware, and will gladly admit (with humour included), that I am looking more and more scruffy as the months go by ha! Shaving and hair cuts are too cumbersome, and having most of my clothes stolen didn't help either as I am now wearing hand-outs and second hand clothes. But whatever, I think it adds nicely to the 'long term backpacker' aura!

The next day, Thursday, was enlightening.

So as you will be aware, my MacBook met with an unfortunate... incident a few weeks back which has resulted in my MacBook acquiring a brand new feature unique to mine only where upon pressing the 'Power' button it makes noises, ticks, lights up and otherwise acts as a MacBook should, but ultimately fails to actually run or show anything on the screen. Which isn't a particularly useful nor desired feature to be honest. Sigh. Solution? Well I can either buy a new one (tempting), get my current one repaired (sounds like a hassle), or send my current one home thus not having to deal with it now (something which suits my personality perfectly really).

I went with the latter.

You always see 'Fed Ex' in American movies, so I was curious to put them into real-life perspective.

Me: "Hi, I am wanting to send this MacBook to Australia"

Fed Ex guy: "Sure, that'll be $240"

Me: "Goodbye"

There goes that idea.

Buying a new MacBook sounded awesome, but then I'd be carrying two MacBooks around with me... which still sounded tempting. Fine, I'll attempt to get it repaired I guess (I owe it to my bank account to at least give it a try before buying a new one). I walked into the nearest MacBook store... although I couldn't tell if it was a retail outlet or a music concert was taking place due to the huge amount of people in the store! One 'Apple Consultant Appointment' later and I now contained the knowledge that it would cost approximately $700 to get it repaired. Sigh.

There goes that idea too.

On the way out of the store I walked by the latest MacBook Pro models, looked at the price, calculated how much money I have with me, and asked myself a very serious question: Would I be comfortable sleeping at parks/beaches/airports for the remaining time on this trip in return for a brand new MacBook? After a lengthy debate while pacing the store, in which I eventually got a small pat on the shoulder from a rather concerned looking staff member who asked "Sir, are you okay there?", I grudgingly concluded that a roof over my head is indeed slightly more preferred than spending my remaining money on a brand new MacBook. The keyword is slightly.

The night was rounded off with Chris and I at a pub with a bunch of new friends we made that day. Although these bars were pretty expensive... I shouted the group a round of drinks and it cost me $40! But as my strange luck would have it, at the next bar we went to I found $40 on the floor haha! Win.

So that was Thursday.

Finally it was Friday... and I was to be flying out late the following day, meaning I had less than two days to fill up left. Although, it wasn't going too bad I guess, I mean I wasn't exactly bored, it just wasn't the extremely fun filled San Francisco that I remembered from my previous times here.

I awoke with a terrible hangover. Bleary eyed and half asleep I stumbled my way through the hostel kitchen, attempting to make myself breakfast which was far more difficult than it should have been really. Whilst there I got informed that a free 'walking tour' was to take place shortly. Despite seeing San Francisco so much already I figured a walk would do me good.

BestTour. Ever!

Our guide was hilarious. The tour went for an impressive three hours. I saw all these hidden gems of the city I was so terribly oblivious too. And the stories of the city's past were incredible! Wow, such a great time, I couldn't believe my luck. I could hardly even remember how I got from bed to walking tour.

Some random guy, where upon seeing us, rushed out just so he could start playing
Our awesome tour guide, showing us one of the infamous underground tunnels of San Francisco

The photos above are a small snapshot of the tour really, it went for ages and had such cool history and sights to it, that to talk about it in the depth that it deserves would take far too long thus I will spare you all. Although! I can't leave without mentioning at least one of the cool stories I heard on the way (remember, this blog is both entertaining and educational!).

The first is about the legends of the San Francisco underground tunnel network. To this day there is believed to be a highly elaborate network of underground tunnels spread through the entire of the city, originally used for smuggling contraband both in and out back in the late 1800's. Myth tells us that there are a few entrances to the tunnels still existing today underneath China Town, but the Chinese keep them a secret, and the picture above of my tour guide in the tunnel is the only officially known entrance to the tunnels, cool! But it is blocked off so you can't explore the rest of the tunnels. All very fascinating I thought!

Oh, then there is the story of how hundreds and hundreds of sailing ships would sail into the bay back in the late 1800's, where the crew would abandon their captains once docked and head into the hills to search for gold so the entire bay was jam packed with lifeless ships! These ships eventually floated their way to shore, broke apart, and are now buried underneath the buildings and roads of San Francisco. Every few years when a new building is being built a new ship is discovered buried below, way cool!

And there was a lot about the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fire which annihilated virtually the entire city. The rebuilding afterwards and how it forever changed the dynamic of the area. And... well, just so much more. It was really good.

Whilst on the tour I became good friends with two absolutely incredible people. Will (America/Japan) and Pam (America/World). Will was 49 but had spent the last 21 years living in Japan, thus could now speak fluent Japanese (yet he couldn't speak any when he first decided to move there!), and is now back in America in pursuit of a completely new career move. Very cool! Pam I would say was around 55 (Will and Pam were not a couple), could speak fluent French, Spanish and Japanese, and had spent more time of her life living abroad than in her home of America, wow!

Will took us to his favourite vegetarian restaurant, it was amazing.

Having lunch with these two people was simply brilliant. To be in the presence of such people who have lived such diverse and fulfilling lives, who had so much knowledge and skills between them, and a similar view on life that I myself like to hold, was just incredible. The conversation was... I think I will go as far as to use the word 'electrifying'. Yes, the conversation, for me at least, was truly electrifying, and a real treat too.

That night Will, Chris and another friend David (Swiss) had awesome plans for the night, for I had tracked down a pub in town that was to be showing the AFL Grand Final!


Beers! Watching the footy! Explaining to my foreign friends what the hell was going on haha. And I was surrounded by other Australians too! Spent the night chatting away with a bunch of people I met who spoke English that I actually understand, and who obviously understood and appreciated AFL. Great night indeed!

Oh! So I was chatting to some bloke I met there for quite some time, he knew a lot about AFL and was just a great all round guy. After a very long time I found out who it was... he was Terry Daniher! Captain for the Essendon Bombers AFL club in the 80's, including which time he won two Grand Finals! Woah! At the time it didn't sink in but now that I think about it, it was damn awesome to have had met one of the greats of the game, let alone of my team, the Essendon Bombers! So that was cool.

No... I am an idiot and didn't get a picture with him...

So all that somehow happened in one day, it was ridiculously amazing. To think that I had originally woken up with a terrible hangover with not one plan in mind for what to do for the day, to then somehow have every minute of the entire day taken up with such great times, was just surreal.

Finally Saturday had arrived, the day of my flight, although seeing as how times were going so well all of a sudden I honestly wish I didn't have to leave now. Sigh. Even more so because of what I had in store for my remaining time in San Francisco.

My plan on how to spend the day?

Meet Clare:

She refused to let me take her photo, this was the best I could manage haha
She's awesome.

We had met briefly on Thursday afternoon, didn't have time to stick around and talk so we made plans to meet up the next day or so. The next day was Friday, which was the day I just described above, so that kind of didn't turn out how I was expecting, thus Saturday arrived (the day of my flight) so first thing in the morning I sent her a text to hang out. She gladly welcomed the company.

Our time spent together can be summarized quite easily: You know you are in good company when it takes you over an hour to finish the apple you are trying to eat.

It was a really nice time. She will be missed.

Time to catch my flight I guess. How I started the week not having a clue as to how I am going to spend my days, to somehow managing to have a road trip, then a blast in San Francisco yet again, is beyond me. I honestly thought I'd be reading books to pass the time away!

I have a strong feeling that this is to be truly the last time I am to see San Francisco. Well, on this trip anyway. It is time to move on, with my next destinations not a simple bus ride away this time either, for now is the time to do some serious travel! I won't reveal where I am off to just yet, to be honest I hardly even know myself sometimes, but mostly I don't like to jinx it.

With a warm goodbye to Clare, and of course one to Chris for we had had an epic time together, it was time to leave.

San Francisco... I have no words sufficient enough to describe how awesome you have been to me.


Post a Comment