Wednesday, September 17, 2003

San Francisco

Tom is busy putting the photos into a gallery so I'm afraid you'll have to read my second rate writing on San Francisco.

We're in a pretty cheap hostel here. The first room we were given was a bit of a state but we got them to change our room and it's fine now. Our walk downtown isn't the most pleasant, a lot of people cart their stuff around in shopping trolleys. We have seen places like this before but the scale of the poverty here surprises.

We had a bit of a sleep on arrival after the overnight Greyhound. When we got up, we headed for Union Square and the main shopping area. We saw another Frank Lloyd Wright building - a practice for the Guggenheim in New York with similar curves.

We climbed up some steep hills whilst cable cars trundled past. We reached the Transamerica Pyramid, a tall pyramid shaped building which you can see all over San Fran. We visited the City Lights Bookstore - apparently it was the first paperback bookstore in the USA. We also walked through the busy streets of Chinatown.

On our way back, Tom could not resist the lure of the Sony Metreon. It has a shop full of Playstation games you can play. I had a go at one but the results weren't pretty!

Yesterday we spent the day by the beautiful San Francisco Bay. We walked quite a long way around the bay starting from the Bay Bridge. We stopped at the various piers on the way. A highlight was pier 39 which sea lions have taken over. You can watch them bake in the sun, swim and play. Awww cute!

Across from the bay we could see the infamous Alcatraz. You can make out a building on it which presumably was the prison. We did want to go across but it was very expensive. We gawped at a former Alcatraz prisoner who was on the pier instead.

We caught a bus out to the Golden Gate Bridge which I really wanted to see. It didn't disappoint; it was very impressive. It's so big, they paint it continuously with 'International Orange' (red to you and me). I was a bit worried we wouldn't get a good view of it as if you are only a little way away from it, the fog obscures your view a bit. However, when we got there it was clear and I took too many photos! We walked along it a bit - it's big.

On the way home we took a bus and a trolley back. One bus ticket lasts 90 minutes and you can transfer as much as you like. The trolley was fun. They are from Milan where they were phased out. San Francisco acquired one and people liked them so much they have a fleet now.


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