Day 7: San Francisco - Early impressions of confused Scotsman
I visited San Francisco once when I was ten years old. My only memory is of very tangled traffic intersections and a weird variety of mayonnaise on the sandwiches my parents gave us for the journey that caused my younger sister to throw up on me while I was asleep.
Happily, this visit began in less traumatic fashion. Americans have the kind habit of numbering their streets and only building on exact right angled grids with the consequence that you can find your way without much struggle. (Though the generation Yers are still glued to their phones)
If you are looking at this for any sort of touristic perspective, I'm afraid I will disappoint. I was combining my trip with hustle on work opportunities and the slightly crazy opening gambit of a new romance that involved levels of proximity that married couples would balk at - weirdest 13 day first date ever.
So, as far as touristic activities, I achieved the following:
1. Saw the golden gate bridge... vaguely... in the distance, and to be honest it could have been anything as it was really cloudy.
2. Ate Brussel Sprouts as a snack in a pretentious bar. Apparently, after having flown for 14 hours and with a solid nine hours of Jetlag, the thing your stomach wants most of all is brussel sprouts as a bar snack. Note, this was a reflection, both on any city that would offer that as an option and also the person that thought this was a good idea.
Having said that... The sprouts were really good. I'm not sure, but I could have become a person who finds this manner of deployment of sprouts acceptable. Time will tell.
2A. Watched an Asian tourist eat a hamburger that was actually two sugar doughnuts either side of the meat. Admittedly, she only licked the outside of it with her flickering reptilian tongue then spent 20 minutes photographing it for instagram but the whole thing was still a horrifying experience.
3. Went to the Apple Store. Because my computer died. They didn't fix it, and they made me feel untechnical and slightly like a failure as a human being. Pretty similar experience in the UK only the person in the Red Shirt doesn't even bother with pretending they find your IT jokes funny.
4. Walked down the Zig Zag street. It's a Zig Zag and a street, on a mad hill. Unfortunately, the person I was with really needed the bathroom so she was already zigzagging before we even got to the street which rather took away the suspense but greatly increased the comic value of the activity.
5. Tried to break into the YMCA to use their tennis court: This needs no explanation, I will try to do this wherever I travel.
6. Went to find an alternate court and almost got eaten by rats... Well actually only one rat, and he didn't make any sudden moves because he saw we had tennis rackets. Increased feelings of bitterness towards the YMCA as their court was more than likely rat-free. The Village People lied to me. I was 'in a new town' and I still feel like I'm young.
7. Rode with libertarian UBER drivers and listened to their views whilst trying not to engage in any form of intellectual discourse they might find threatening... in case they shot me... as is their right to do as a technical stranger in their property. (I really hope that's not true...)
8. Went to a non decadent Facebook party. They hired out a whole American Football stadium, filled it with food, alcohol and music and about 8000 of their employees. It was widely agreed to be a terrible party, though I did queue for an hour to bounce in a giant snow globe. At 33 I thought the chance might have gone to achieve this.
It should be added that I was so well looked after in SF that I had to do very little thinking for myself. As a consequence, I went to many nice places that blurred into a general feeling of bonhomie because I didn't need to further engage with where I actually was or why. In short, a beautiful girl spoiled me completely.