San Francisco

Up until we booked our trip I never wanted to go America. The reason being that I knew once I got there I would fall in love with it and despite all my adventurous spirit might never go anywhere else. Having been here for 2 days I think it was definitely the right thing to do as we have been seduced by America in a way that hasn’t happened with anywhere else we’ve ever been and we have had the best day today.

We head north along HWY 101 for about 4 hours, stopping a few times for some lunch and to stretch our legs on the way. (I pinch some flowers out of the pot pourri in the restroom so Maisie and I can put them in our hair and we sing the song about going to San Francisco)We keep passing things that look so familiar and yet we’ve never been here, from small, tall thin windmills, to rusty “nodding donkey” oil pumps, to massive trucks that dominate the roads and completely dwarf us in our Mustang. The landscape is green and scrubby brown, it’s hot, with a dusty blue sky and we zip along with the roof down, my hair blowing everywhere.

As we come into San Francisco it looks exactly as I knew it would, the beautiful bay on our right and the busy narrow streets of “Little Saigon” as we head for Chinatown where we are staying. We check in the hotel, a decent enough Chinese run place (For 100 dollars) and park the car. A quick coffee and we head off out to buy a guide book. We reach the most amazing bookshop, full of arty titles and reading tables, its dark and trendy and we end up with The Rough Guide to USA. We wander all through Chinatown and then head towards Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s quite a long walk, up and down steep hills but so much to look at I don’t know where to start.

We pass through the Italian district of North Beach and gaze around at the numerous pavement cafes, the food looks just awesome and we decide we will eat here later. Past an emporium of American symbols and memorabilia , licence plates, Coca Cola stuff, a life-size Elvis, Harley badges, Route 66 anything’s ( Bottle openers, fridge magnets etc) its like stepping into America heaven!

At Fisherman’s Wharf we have a quick look at the boats before getting a drink next to the hawker food stalls, with a huge choice of seafood including clam chowder, fresh crab and shrimps it’s a lively, noisy area with crowds of people. We see a saxophonist playing jazz, the quintessential cable cars and horse and carriages.

We catch the cable car back up a few blocks and hang off the sides of it like in the movies! I wanted to just jump off but we had to tell the guy so he could stop and we make our way to a gorgeous Italian cafe where we have some amazing food. Ali and I had salmon with aubergine relish and Simon and I shared a bottle of red wine.

We walk back to the hotel, full of it; our guide book describes San Francisco as the gayest city in the world, once the literary capital of America, a city of hills where poetry meets porn. What a fantastic introduction to the US, today has been everything I dreamed it would be and better.

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