San Francisco (by Kez and Andrew)
Time to lose our hearts (straight from the off you know Kez is the author of this particular article). As you'd do with all Greyhound Stations after dusk, we don't hang around too long and make a bee line for the busy streets of Downtown for some grub. Whilst wheeling our suitcases through Downtown we notice that the 'The Bravery' are doing a gig that same night (this ostensibly superfluous piece of information becomes salient later).
Pistol Pete and The Bravery's Supporting Act: 3 Drunks and a Ginger
We meet our couch surfing host Pete, who shall hence fourth be named Pistol Pete (the least apt nickname in the history of nicknames). He's a law student at a Law School Downtown. A brief tour around his dorm room and the revelation that Pistol Pete is a Mormon (can't drink, can't do anything fun) gave us enough reason to hit the town early. A few of the local ales in a tiny Irish pub with live band gets us in the mood to put on our wellies in search of some serious talent in the big clubs. Obviously we aren't going to pay for this pleasure, heaven forbid. We agree that the most realistic plausible back story likely to get us in the club for free is that we are The Delays, an English four piece supporting 'The Bravery'. The bouncer almost buy's into this story after 10 minutes but unfortunately a brain cell finally kicked into gear and he decided only big bucks would get us into this particular establishment. (Also, I distinctly remember him tying us up with logic: if you've sold a million albums then surely you can afford the ten dollar cover mate. touché).
Girls Football, Golden Gate and Stabby Joe
The next day we decided to complete the following itenary.
Spend an hour watching an intense Peewee Soccer match between 'The Stars' and 'Dolphins' at the Golden Gate Park. Check!
Walk the coast line to Golden Gate Bridge. Check!
Walk onto the Golden Gate Bridge. Check!
Throw pennies at Sea Birds relaxing 500 ft beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Check!
Meet a knife wielding maniac (hence forth named Stabby Joe) on a Downtown bus. Check!
Stabby Joe had a knife that would see off Crocodile Dundee himself so we all felt safe under his wing. He He also kept looking back and staring at me with an expression that made me feel like the apple of his eye.
So seriously, the scariest f***** moment of my life. Stuck in an enclosed space with a lunatic (who looked like that Mexican rapist from the film 'Con Air') brandishing a Rambo knife. Stabby Joe generously nominated me as his one-way ticket to the electric chair. Fan-bloody-tastic! I share my concerns with Andrew that we should get off the bus immediately. Andrew replies "nah. We're only a few stops away. It will be fine". (In my defence, I couldn't see him from where I was sitting and more to the point, I was hungry.) Nevertheless we do get off the bus as soon as Ben voices his shared concern. Ollie also realises the seriousness of the situation when he spots stabby standing up by the exit doors, brandishing the knife and eyeballing everybody that went past.
We feel obligated to call the police and 5 minutes later we hear from a guy who was on the same bus that it all kicked off a minute after we got off. Apparently a passenger shouted "knife" and a struggle ensued between our friend Stabby Joe and the Bus Driver presenting the opportunity for a few brave rotund Americans to sit on Stabby whilst everyone else got off the bus. They locked Stabby in the bus and the police arrived with shot guns. Game over Stabby Joe. We'll never forget you..
The next day we hit Alcatraz. We toured a big rock that used to have a prison on it. Apparently a lot of other s*** went down there as well. Alcapone checked in there for a stay before going mental from syphilis. I could imagine him touching other inmates food and saying "my germs". The most amusing feature of this tour was 'guard tower' duty. Some poor b****** use to have the solo task of overseeing the Island on a 50 ft tower exposed to the biting cold wind for 8 hours. We believed the appointed officers reactions would be similar to that of ours in the coming weeks when it's our turn to empty the 'Cess pit' of our campervan in New Zealand!