Taking a break from holidays.


Yesterday was long – so long that by the time I got back to the hotel it was too late to think about blogging.

Holidaying can be exhausting don’t you think? It’s not like taking a couple of days off from work and escaping to a house on the beach for a leisurely weekend of reading and board games.

No, overseas holidaying is further, it’s more expensive, and you can’t just pack up and do it in a weekend (well not your average person anyway), and so you need to make sure that you suck every moment and experience that you can out of your time in another country.

It’s my last night in San Francisco and tomorrow we head to Tucson. I would love to stay in San Fran for the rest of my holiday, although I’m hoping to find a nice quiet spot with a view in Tucson where I can get some writing done. There’s also going to be some walking through the desert, watching derby, and maybe checking out some artwork in a plane graveyard (if I can find it).

So to take a moment of reflection I thought I would make some lists, because that seems like a fairly straightforward way to summarise my time in San Fran.

Things I saw/did (in totally random order)

  • Saw/photographed a bunch of amazing street art, from downtown to the Mission District to Haight Ashbury
  • Hunted down City Lights bookshop, an iconic American independent bookshop. I also found The Booksmith in Haight Ashbury, which I fell in love with immediately and a scattering of other eclectic and wonderful shops with books on their shelves (blogged about in my earlier posts). I didn’t leave City Lights until midnight and it made me especially happy that there is a bookshop that stays open that late.
  • Did the touristy things (Alcatraz – creepy but interesting, Ripleys – interesting & interactive, the Wax Museum – um, the Aquarium – small)
  • Ate a (vegan) hotdog from a street vendor.
  • Saw the Sea Lions at Pier 39
  • Saw a 60-year-old lady do magic and acrobatics next to a giant carousel at night on Pier 39
  • Ate amazing pie from Mel’s Drive-In (American Graffiti) although unfortunately you can’t really drive into it.
  • Walked to, looked at, ate in the Mission District
  • Browsed the vintage stores of Haight Ashbury
  • Ate a good combination of delicious vegetarian and kitschy diner food.
  • Caught the historic F-line tram, the Cable Cars (both lines) and figured out how to use the Muni system.
  • Made some new friends (from Australia and San Fran)
  • Went on the ferry. Didn’t throw up.
  • Saw the ‘tree-man’ scaring children at the wharf & other amazing street performers

Things I missed/want to do next time.

  • Eat at Millenium & The Stinking Rose
  • Spend more time in the Mission, Castro & Haight Ashbury
  • Visit Golden Gate Park
  • Play at the Exploratorium
  • Go on a ferry cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Climb Coit Tower
  • Go on a tour to the Muir Woods
  • Hang out at the Beat Museum
  • Visit some of the islands (Angel Island etc)
  • Eat at Forbes Island
  • Visit the zoo
  • See a squirrel
  • Visit the cable car museum
  • See some theatre

There are some things I wouldn’t have bothered with, given my time here over, but I’m happy with the amount that we’ve packed into a few short days, and am leaving feeling a little less like a green tourist fresh of the plane than when I arrived. As well as the beautiful art, scenery and architecture, what will stay with me from this trip is the attitude of the people here, and how much I felt at home. I don’t know how worldly that makes me, since I’ve essentially flown overseas to visit a more expansive version of my own city, but I’m glad to have been here, and can’t wait to come back.

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