In Frisco

This article was written 15 years ago in 2005 when I was just 20, so I ask you not to judge the writing too harshly! The text is as it was originally published.

Probably using a nickname which the locals totally disapprove of, James and I have arrived in San Francisco. It's been pretty cool so far, jet lag hasn't quite set in and our flight was OK as they didn't decide to plant any screaming kids near us.

Our taxi from the airport was driving by Ray, who reminded me of Ray Charles, which really as comparisons go, he shouldn't be driving anything. We arrived late afternoon at the Commodore where our tour will leave on Monday. They couldn't supply us with a room on Sunday so we stayed our first night and will be staying Sunday night there but we are now residing in a hostel around the corner. We are sharing with two Germans whom we haven't met yet, but that adds to the excitement.

We thought an early start would be good and got ourselves down to Union Square by about 8am. We caught one of those famous street trams down to Fisherman's Wharf and booked our boat trip to Alcatraz for Sunday as all the tickets for today had gone (we were told if we got there early enough we could get one of the unreserved tickets). Once this was done we grabbed breakfast at some cheap cafe - a heavily grease impregnated burrito) before hiring bikes to go on a day trip around the coast. 16 miles later and we had gone over the golden gate bridge (spectacular), visited a civil war fort (think Fort Boyard without the breasts) and seen some pretty impressive houses.

People seem to be friendlier than I remember from Seattle a couple of years ago, however there was a bit of a push to get on the less-than-hourly ferry with it's bike limit of 25 and a queue of well over 50.

After getting back we wondered about the wharf a while longer before getting into a queue for a tram home. Unfortunately there was some delay and we ended up hanging around for ages. There was some entertainment provided, but most of the amusement provided since we got here has been the sound/look of other English people making themselves obvious tourists. James and I have both become paranoid about using the words "Cheers", "Mate" and "Ta".

Some other things of interest were that we have found that they are phasing out SubClub tickets over here, so using the standard law of physics - "Everything they get in the US we get sooner or later" means that you need to start cashing in on your free subs when you can. This is a public service announcement.

Also there was a fantastic excuse for a street performer working by the docks today. All his was doing was crouching on the pavement clutching a load of branches and posing as a bush, then jumping out on unsuspecting passers by. Amusing, but really just an excuse to scare the crap out of tourists.

James found a store which I was immediately wary of. Anywhere that uses that genuine old-style version of the word Shoppe is clearly worth avoiding and indeed it was. We left fairly quickly and found ourselves watching the resident sea lions on the other side of the pier. All good.

Apart from the fact that today has marked the most exercise I have probably done since I left school it has also been quite entertaining. I think there is some national obligation for everyone around here to jog (there are bloody millions of them) and federal law that they own an iPod.

Looking forward to a tour of the city tomorrow, assuming it goes ahead - we need another three people to sign up.

For anyone interested we are 9 hours behind and the movie on the plane Monster in Law was mediocre.

This post was first published on Sat Aug 27 2005 originally on justbeyondthebridge.co.uk, my former personal blog

Andy Higgs
The author

My name is Andy Higgs and I am a business founder, design leader, occassional surfer and travel enthusiast based in the UK.

More of my travel and business writing can be found here, or you can subscribe to the feed for these posts here.