Thursday, July 26, 2007

i left my bart* in san francisco.

I didnt really know what to expect from San Francisco.

I was staying in Union Square which is as good as any other place to be.

I stopped here one night because my flight home came via S.F. and it seemed like a good way to break up the homeward journey.

By the time I settled into my hostel room and got the shopping out of the way (it was my mission to buy 4 new pairs of Levis as they are about a third the cost of in Sydney and Macys was 2 blocks from where I was staying)it was getting late in the day.

As I think I mentioned early in this blog I loathe clothes shopping. So the buying experience was a bit like using a public toilet in India - hold your breathe, race in, take care of business and race out before you lose consciousness.

It was all over so quickly the sales girl didnt even have a chance to focus on me. She was so happy that I bought 6 pairs of jeans (they work on commission I found out) she gave me an extra 11% discount on already discounted goods.

So that done, I was left with pretty much all the next day to sight see.

It was fairly predictable - walk from Union Square over Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill (getting the picture yet?) to Fishermans Wharf - the SF equivalent of Darling Harbour thought much more "lived in" (read: shabby)

The famous fog was omnipresent which gave the city a haunting quality which had the effect of putting everything in soft focus thus abrading a lot of its hard edges.

I took a boat tour which whizzed me around the bay, under the bridge and around alcatraz and back again in an hour. (The aquatic equivalent of the shopping experience) I figured it was probably the best way to actually see the bridge as from more than 100 metres away one could see zilch.

I was particularly unmoved by the bridge, despite it looming out of the fog in a Stephen King kind of way. I guess I would have liked it to have done something. Fallen down maybe - or at least swayed. However I was momentarily entranced by the antics of a nearby seal for a few seconds. And by a small bit of paper that drifted by in the wind.

Back on shore I wandered around some other bits of town that I recognised from songs and then it was time to go. SF didn't really feel like part of my trip as it is on the way home. I liked the feel of the place I just think I need to spend more time there.

One thing that particularly struck me was the number of homeless people and beggars.

After all the time I spent wandering through Mexico, Cuba, Belize and Guatemala I dont remember seeing many or any beggars and homeless people. I had to come to the Land of the Free and the centre of Democracy for that.

*BART - Bay Area Rapid Transit - a zippy little rail system which gets you from the International airport to downtown SF

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