So it’s safe to say that we didn’t make it big in Vegas and it’s possible that we spent a little more than we intended. We were having so much fun until we turned up to the airport on Saturday, a little less than sober and apparently missed our flight!
Our travel agent had failed to inform us that almost every flight on our itinerary had been updated and our new flight time was much earlier in the day than we anticipated. We probably should have expected something like this when something similar happened when we were trying to leave Australia a few days earlier. So, without any other choice, we spent the rest of the day sleeping off the previous night on the airport floor until we could get another flight.
We’d done well to avoid the dry warm 98 Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) heat in Vegas by staying inside air-conditioned casinos. But there was no avoiding the cool 52 Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius) chill of San Francisco. For us Queenslanders, that’s cold!
Our large double room in Dakota Hostel was only two blocks from the centre of San Francisco, so we were able to easily venture about town on foot and on the nearby hop-on hop-off tourist bus. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, had lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 and laughed at the sea lions lazing around Pier 39 and 41.
During our bus ride we found out that our hostel bordered the Tenderloin district of the city, which two tour guides advised us never to visit, and another said it might be ok during daylight hours. Apparently it has some of the highest crime and homelessness rates in the state.
The tour guides told us that the Tenderloin neighbourhood earned its name from police officers only being able to afford to eat chuck steak on a normal salary, but after they was transferred to this neighbourhood they were making so much money on the side with ‘danger pay’ and soliciting bribes that now they could afford tenderloin instead. The Tenderloin district is also home to the Glide Memorial Church which is the church that Will Smith and his son lined up outside of for shelter in the movie Pursuit of Happiness. The church exists and still does as much as it can to feed and help the many homeless in the area.
After rushing to Macy’s so Dan could purchase a more appropriate jacket to combat the chilly winds, we spent the afternoon strolling through the cool, laid back Haight Street, just east of the city. We enjoyed a beer at a local pub, had an ice-cream at Ben and Jerry’s and popped into the local Happy High Herbs. Haight Street is where you will find 10 or more vintage clothing boutiques, many record and music stores and makeshift memorials to the music legends, such as Jimmy Hendrix and Amy Winehouse, both of who have sadly joined the 27-Club.
We had a very scary second morning in San Francisco which started with a tram ride and a terrifying gold-painted street performer seriously threatening to kill anyone who looked at him. We eventually made it on a tour to the equally terrifying Alcatraz.
For those that do not know, Alcatraz is an ex-US army military base (from 1850 until 1933) that was converted to maximum-security, minimum-privilege penitentiary to deal with the most incorrigible inmates in federal prisons, and to show the public that the federal government was serious about stopping the rampant crime of the 1920’s and 1930’s. During it’s operation as a federal prison (until 1963) it was home to such criminals as Robert Stroud, the so-called “Birdman of Alcatraz” and Al Capone. It was a very interesting experience, if not a little spooky.
In the afternoon we jumped off the tourist bus at a restaurant we had overheard a Melbourne woman talking about on our tour bus in LA. For those that have ever tried our spaghetti bolognaise, you might know that Dan and I have a very strong passion for garlic and like to add it to most of our cooking. So, The Stinking Rose did not disappoint! Located in North Beach, San Francisco’s renowned Little Italy, The Stinking Rose (motto: ‘We season our garlic with food’) serves over 3,000 pounds of the pungent herb each month in contemporary California-Italian cuisine that includes mains, desserts and wines. Delicious!
Then, we had fun on our first cable car ride back to our hostel, trying not to offend anyone with our awful garlic breath.
The next day we jumped on a plane (thankfully we had the correct time this time!) and arrived in NYC several hours later.
With Dan feeling a little under the weather we decided to stay in on our first night and enjoyed some NY pizza. NYC is quickly becoming my favourite city in the world. The people here have been nothing but lovely and very helpful, and the culture and history is incredible. We’re staying in a typical NY Studio apartment (probably no bigger than 35 sq meters) in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan, across from the Flatiron Building. It’s central and cosy, perfect for our next ten days in New York!
To be continued…
xx J & D
Frist Published on: May 20, 2012 @ 22:39 #12monthhoneymoon