Despacio, Despacio.... A trip through several states of the USA ( and Mexico - sort of)

Published: January 12th 2013EDIT THIS ENTRY

Dec 21


Eager to get an early start we get up early, minor issue arises- the shops aren't opening until 0930. Decide to go out for b/f and end up at Cafe de la Presse on Grant (our street) near Union Square. Turns out to be a good move- decent coffee, Christine, Geoff and I split a breakfast basket and fruit platter and still have left overs. As in virtually every other food place the portions are huge. The coffee is served in a cup as big as a cereal bowl (actually that's not a bad thing). Tip. Leave and Christine and I head towards the shops. Geoff is on a bird mission so goes his own way. I make it as far as Old Navy and emerge an hour and a half later. We have been pretty restrained with our buying to this point due to luggage/weight restriction but now we are on the home strait and Qantas allows 2 cases (60kg)- each. It's hard to spend much in ON- everything is cheap, it's all discounted by 40% (today only...) and somehow stuff gets marked down even further at the cash register. Not complaining. My cardigan

mostly love it
collection has now hit high double figures- you can never have enough, can you? No. Hit GAP, American Apparel and that shop that smells good and is too dark to see anything but has nice shopping bags- Abercrombie and Fitch.

Have to take a break to go meet Geoff and Lachy for lunch- we go to Stripe and get the grand tour- it's really fantastic, great building- warehouse loft style- exposed brick, etc. Lachy is in a great place; good people, lots of energy, lunch, dinner- very cool. Leave him to it and continue the mission. Make my way back to Westfield Mall- phenomenally large multi-storey shopping mall guaranteed to bewilder. It's hard to decide where to go first.... so we go to Ghiardelli and have icecream instead- I will personally vouch for the peanut butter sundae with chocolate fudge sauce- SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY awesome. Christine is weighed down with her shopping, she also now has enough OPI nailpolish to start a small business.

Walk back to the apartment to meet for dinner.

Dec 22

Rain? Grey sky, a bit cold, and yes- rain. Today is our designated Alcatraz day and we aren't going to be put off by weather. Head up Grant Street to Mo's Grill and order breakfast. It is an interesting assortment of customers - little old ladies, big blokes, other tourists and us. Big food, half of it goes into takeaway boxes. Umbrellas at the ready we venture out and decide on a suburb walk and to tackle some big hills. Take another hundred or two photos of the doors of SF and other random things. We end up at Coit Tower in Telegraph Hill- interesting landmark building 64m tall, art deco style. On a clear day (yesterday and the 2 days before that, for instance) you can see the bay and Alcatraz- today is a white out, but who cares- I love rain and wind. The steps and steep roads are fantastic- lots of exercise. Maybe that is why the people here aren't overly large compared with other cities we have visited? Any way, it's very nice, I love all these little gardens and steps, etc.

Eventually get down to the pier to get our tickets to Alcatraz. We had hoped to do a night tour but left it too late and tix were sold out. The tour cost $28/adult- includes return ferry ticket (non-fixed return time) and an audio tour on the island. The water is churned up and it's still raining but we sit out on the upper deck anyway. Quick trip across and we spend the next 3 hours over there. The audio tour is very well done- it's really informative and lots of anecdotes from ex officers and prisoners on the cassette. It's a pretty bleak place. Exit through the gift shop Disney style. Nope- we do not need an Alcatraz tin food tray, souveneir cup, coffee table book or TShirt. As we are walking down to the ferry through the gardens we spot a humming bird- beautiful green bird flitting from flower to flower. As it turns it reveals a crimson pink display of breast feathers- it was such a beautiful sight. Spend about 20 mins getting the perfect 100 photos.... we miss the ferry back. However, it works out well because we go for a walk around the island- the wind is howling and its freezing- but have I mentioned that I really love this weather? Lots of sea birds. Good views back across the bay to the city. Summary- don't miss this if

The first cloud on the horizon
you are in SF- really great thing to do.

Walk back to the apartment up and down hills. Find a good Italian coffee shop.

Dinner is at Town Hall courtesy of my parents- thankyou- a great xmas pressie for the 5 of us. The menu is upscale Southern, looks very cool. Food is awesome. We have a good night. An observation- mains all sub $30, desserts all sub $10, and the quality was amazing, the staff were all really good too- they knew the menu and were friendly- wish it were the same in Perth!

Dec 23

Time to go home.

Another rainy day, another French patisserie (Brioche). Another quick shop and then it's time to pack the stuff. We have to leave the apartment by 12 MD for the next guests but we can leave our luggage in the cupboard under the stairs- Harry Potter style. The rain has gone away and the sun is back out. We meet up with Lachy for lunch and a walk. Geoff and Christine visit SF MOMA, Callum, Lachy and I walk around (taking more photos for something new and different). Out of nowhere it starts raining again, escalating to a hail storm. Shame the umbrellas were packed. We say a wet goodbye to Lachy in a mad rush in the rain and that's it... Holiday over

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Felt right at home

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