Taken from one of Rhiannon's pre travel emails:
I am really worried about traveling, I hope you can help me. I think my main worries are:
1 - What do I do if i'm kidnapped?
2 - I'll miss Hollyoaks
I'm not sure what the answer was hopefully along the lines of "it could be worse you could be kidnapped and forced to watch Hollyoaks."
With weighty worries like these hanging over her it began to look like the trip was going to be called off at the last minute until I was able to administer a massive sedative Mr T style and carry her on with one arm draped over my shoulder a la 'Weekend at Bernies'.
Anyway San Francisco. I was really excited to be arriving in the home of Uncle Sam and practically ran through airport security humming 'Born in the USA' and Hulk Hogan's "Real American" theme tune to myself. I have to say that given we were entering Calafornia firstly it was raining and secondly there were no Arnie statues decorating the city. Or Dirty Harry statues for that matter. Surely an oversite that Arnie will rectify soon I expect; a twenty foot statue of The Terminator would really add something to Union Square I think.
As I said, it was raining and it did for nearly the whole stay here which literally put a bit of a dampener on proceedings, but being British we perservered although it did mean resorting to wearing pack-a-macs and looking like berks. In fact throw in me wearing my glasses and you've got a guy you really wouldn't want within a hundred yards of your children, or anybody elses for that matter. Rhiannon swears she heard someone in a bar refer to me as looking cool but no matter how hard I try I can't help but think that either Rhiannon or that girl was taking the p1ss a touch.
We started with the Round the City bus tour in an old London bus which had definately seen better days and leaked in parts which meant that you were as wet inside as outside of the bus. Our guide was the kind of overweight young American that i'd been hoping we'd see lots of throughout our stay in the States. At 23 (co-incidentally also his weight in stones) the sole knowledge he seemed to possess about his home city was where his mates lived as he'd start each well rehersed anecdote with "and thats where my mates Steve lives, just up there about a hundred yards". SOme people took photographs. To our amusement he felt the need to mention his girlfriend every eight seconds for some reason, but he did it so much that it became all I could focus on until in the end I had to interupt him:
"Excuse me. Jamie. Look please stop mentioning your girlfriend, we all know you haven't got one and you're just embarassing both us and yourself with your lies"
"I have got one her name is Debbie"
"You're making it worse"
"She's from Dallas"
"Debbie? From Dallas? You really are pathetic aren't you, listen pork chop just admit you are single and get on with the tour, no-one will think any less of you"
"I have got a girlfriend"
"No you haven't"
"I have.......alright then I haven't"
"Finally. Now would you like a biscuit?"
It went something like that anyway. The City is actually really nice and it's a shame that the sun wasn't shining as there is loads to do and despite being very hilly it is small enough in the centre to walk around.
On our second full day four inches of rain fell on the city (sorry to keep mentioning the weather but it was bad) and even hardy guys like us had to take a break and go indoors, the nearest place just happening to be an 'all you can eat' pancake place (we also hit a diner, a burger bar and a chinese in our culinary tour of the city). This was the one time I felt a little bit ashamed of myself, not for the venue, but because of the poor showing I put up when eating. Only three re-orderings put me in the pensioners category when it came to chowing down and as the super fatties shook their massive heads at us and turned away we slunk red faced out into the rain jealously glancing back at the mammoth gastropods eat a whole pancake in one bite.
We went to Alcatraz that evening and it was well worth doing, the prison itself having previously been home to Al Capone, the Birdman of Alcatraz and of couse Clint Eastwood in Escape from Alcatraz. Once again no statue or even Clint based display showing a real lack of gratitude from the city to the big man. Nevertheless we had a good time, although by this stage we were soaked through and every step was a squelch into sodden shoes. We had chosen the evening trip to get nighttime views of the city but despite it only being 1.8 miles away you couldn't even see the city. We ended up calling it a day after Noah came sailing past the prison yelled across that we had to repent or drown and then got his animals to moon us out of the windows.
I won't bore you too much more with actually facts about what we did as opposed to my own ramblings, please email us if you want that sort of thing. We covered all of the sites; the Golden Gate Bridge and Fishermans Wharf areas were excellent and the sun shone on us when we did them. I managed to pose for my Dirty Harry shots outside City Hall despite whatever those pen pushers inside thought, in fact on the flight to New Zealand they had the film on which was another bonus. We went to the Farmers Market and ate lots of free fruit/cheese, hit a few bars, walked endlessly and saw a crooked road and lots of other stuff, basically if a guide book mentioned it we did it.
We ended up spending four days in San Fran and that was enough for me really, I'm not sure I could live there probably due to the Americans that reside there already. They take themselves very seriously and the ones we spoke to seemed to believe that the world outside America was some make believe place akin to Narnia comments like "really? you have that in the UK aswell?" seemed to pepper every conversation. Having said that everyone was friendly so i'm probably just being picky as after a couple of days I was saying that I could live there so who knows.
I'm sure I had loads more to write about but seeing as how i'm two weeks behind on this blog i'd better leave it there.
More nonsense, this time from New Zealand later.