Last Sunday we caught a shuttle bus from LA to San Francisco. As usual for bus journeys we took extra layers, as although it was boiling outside the air con on buses is mostly set too strong and its very cold. Not on Sunday though, the bus' air con hardly seemed to make any impact on the rising temperatures outside. To make things worse we got stuck for 2 hours on the highway because of a brush fire and then another 30 minutes later on because of an accident. So when we arrived in San Francisco we were glad to get out of the sauna having lost a couple of stone through sweating buckets!
After having such a manic time in LA trying to fit in all the sights we had a bit of a relax on Monday just exploring Union Square where we were staying, which is also the centre of San Francisco. So we had a wander around the shopping malls and went up to Union Square itself.
On Tuesday we went down to book our trip to Alcatraz and had look round Pier 39 which has lots of tourist shops and a good view of the bay from the end and a few resident sealions. Then we walked further along the waterfront to Fisherman's Wharf which is also a really touristy area, full of tacky shops. In the evening we went to the cinema to watch Live Free or Die Hard (obviously Marc's choice).
Wednesday was Independence Day, which is actually a quiet public holiday over here, not a party day as everybody thinks. So we did as Americans did and had a look round the shops and then went to the fireworks display down on Pier 39 in the evening. The fireworks were brilliant, much better than at home and the atmosphere was really great too.
On Thursday we caught the cable car over to Japantown so that I could visit the Benefit makeup shop and stock up again!! While I was having a bit of a makeover, Marc had his hair cut and then we had an explore of this side of town, having a wander through Chinatown and a look at the nice residences of Nob Hill. In the afternoon we went into the Mission, one of the more "gritty" (as the Lonely Planet says) areas! In other words, a bit of a dump so we didn't stay long!
Friday we moved hostels, only up the road a bit, as we wanted to extend our stay for a couple more days. After lunch we took on a bit of a hike up over the hills and through the posh residential areas to Lombard Street, the world's most crooked street! We then walked down to the Bay to see if we could get a better view of the Golden Gate Bridge as we were a lot closer to it. But as per the usual San Francisco weather it was too foggy to see past the end of the pier! On the way back we came back through China Town again and had a look in a pet shop there at the fish - all the same as the ones we had seen in the wild in Fiji and the Cook Islands!
Today is our last day here. This morning we went to Alcatraz to have a tour of the Prison. This was really interesting as you get an audio tour to take you round which is told by former prison officers of Alcatraz and some former prisoners are also interviewed on it. Really interesting day, if not a bit sinister in places.
San Francisco is a really diverse city with lots of different things to look at and experience all the different cultures. As with LA some bits are really nice, and others are really horrible, you just have to try to avoid the nasty parts!
Tomorrow we fly to Las Vegas, the weather reports are saying that there's a massive heat wave and temperatures are up at about 42 degrees!!