We were back where we had started – San Francisco. Or “The city of fuck-off hills” as I like to call it. Dumping the bags at the hostel the four of us who had dropped off the RV headed off in search of lunch, ending up in tiny place in China Town which had some pretty amazing food indeed. With a follow up cheeky cocktail (and banana friters!) in the establishment next door.
With the issue of 7 of us sneaking into the booked room of 6 (surprising easy actually!) we couldn’t all check in at the same time, especially as Eshe was with us till the evening despite not checking into the hostel. As such Barney and I stayed outside the hostel whilst they all checked in, getting increasingly cold and bored. So did the logical thing of finding the nearest alcohol serving establishment on the corner of the street. And what a find; they offered $2 beer (which admittedly did nothing towards getting drunk at all, but who’s complaining really!) and $5 pizza and beer. We were in there for a while! Plus the other took a lifetime and an age to sort their lives out…
|Kim, Amy and Antonia|
Having finally made it back to the room and getting sorted, we all headed en mass to get some dinner. Back to the pizza place. Me and Barney were rather happy at that one! The meal was lovely – definitely recommend eating there if you are ever in San Fran (its on the corner of Stutter and Taylor). Sadly we had to say bye to Eshe during the meal, her flight to DC being that evening, and the group was whittled down to 7. After the meal Barney and Wahid decided to be old men and go to bed, so the rest of us hit the streets to find a drink (being Saturday night n’all!), chancing on a dive bar a couple of blocks from the hostel. It didn’t ID, and had a jukebox and pool table. Pretty good! We chilled out there for a few hours drinking, playing pool and singing along to the jukebox, with a rather bizarre pool match occurring between Jon and Antonia against some latinos who seemed to change the rules every shot claiming it was ‘American Rules’. Yeah right mate… Getting back to the hostel, everyone passed out pretty quick with the day being a long one.
The next day, after a disappointing breakfast with Barney and Wahid, we had a wonder around the shopping district, as Kim wanted to get a few bits and bobs to take home with her. The plan was then to walk to the Golden Gate park and chill out, but intercepting plans with Barney and Wahid (who hadn’t joined us shopping) we met up with them at a bar that was supposed to have a table tennis table. And wow what a bar… The strange thing about San Fran is how the areas can change drastically within a block, with some times a certain block can be very different to other blocks around it. This was the case with the location of this bar we arranged to meet Barney and Wahid at; the bar (called Club 21) was located in quite a poor neighbourhood (not a particular issue), except for the fact that everyone inside looked very desolate or very mean. And the place stunk of piss. Lovely…. Me being me however was still keen to go in and have a drink for the experience and story, but the others weren’t so keen, and as such we made our way over to the much nicer neighbourhood of Haight Ashbury to another bar with a table tennis table. Which just so happened to accept only passports as ID. Typical… So instead we went over the road to a little café for a drink and some lunch.
|Kim, Amy, Jon, Antonia, Me|
Haight Ashbury is a rather nice, gentrified area of San Fran with a definite quirky feel to it. Jon and the girls went shopping, whilst Barney, Wahid and I went for another drink. Standard! We ended up in this very bizarre Arabian themed cocktail bar, with an incredibly annoying American man talking incredibly loudly about politics to random people who weren’t interested in the slightest. Talk about conforming to stereotypes… Being served a random cocktail by the barmaid (knocked up there and then off the top of her head-very impressive) talk ranged from the Falklands (again), war on terror and my discovery of a homeless guy in the toilet butt naked. No joke. Feeling rather merry we left the Arabian place in an effort to find the others, and in the process Barney and Wahid became obsessed with finding a chess board (no idea where that came from!) and I realised we had missed Kim who had left to get her flight. Oops – sorry mate… We found Jon, Antonia and Amy and they proudly showed us their purchases. Chief being some natural product that is supposed to be a natural, legal high. Except it smelt suspiciously like tea… Cue a huge amount of ripping from us three there!
|Looking up into the hills around Haight Ashbury|
Dinner was at a gourmet burger place (can’t remember its name) which itself was quite an experience. On the surface it looked like quite a nice place, big burgers with different combinations. However the server (the place was like a fast food restaurant where you go up and order at the till rather than a traditional resturant style where you order at the table) was a complete bitch making a snide comment about the lack of tip. Look love, all you’ve done is punch some buttons. Ive even had to pour my own drink. Maybe when you had bought my food to me (which involved a minimal effort on your behalf) I may have considered giving you a tip. Ungracious bitch… To make matters even worse Jon and Antonia, who ordered after me, had a gratuity charge added to their order. Rude.
The meal got a touch bizarre when a homeless guy wondered in with his pants falling down not leaving much to the imagination (second time for me. Fantastic…). Obviously he was asked to leave, and so (in what I can only guess is an attempt at protest) he pushed over a chair and stormed out. Getting confused with which way the door opened in the process. Yeah, stick it to the man, mate! The evening was spent on a trip to the cinema. To be honest I wasn’t that keen on going, as movies can be watched anywhere, but I went along with it. And to be honest watching Sasha Baren Cohen lick someone’s armpit in ‘The Dictator’ wasn’t exactly a great evening. But there we go.
The next day was a pretty wet and miserable one, so after a lazy breakfast at the Sutter pub (nearest of a pub have been to in the USA and definitely recommended!) we headed back to the cinema. Yep, twice in 12 hours. Afterwards we hung out in the pizza place and the hostel again. Jon had already left that morning, and it was my turn in the evening.
Saying goodbye to the 4 left was a strange experience indeed. It was a final end to an incredable month and one hell of a journey. An incredibly enjoyable part of my year aboard, and definitely one of the highlights. From a road trip and San Fran it was onwards in my travels. Back east to the country. Rural Mississippi to be exact.