Delays, Hills and More Hills


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Published: December 9th 2017
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Today starts yesterday, but bear with me. After a free burger dinner, finding out that my bus leaves at 11:59 not 11pm and being bored with every aspect of Chinese politics from a new friend it was finally time to abandon Isabell with him and get my Uber. I get a $15 free first ride, so I figured why not, especially after today's incident. You pay if it waits for you, so I grabbed my shit and headed down stairs to retrieve my main backpack from storage. Everything was going perfect, until I clicked confirm and then the Uber app kept sending me error messages, I turned my phone off and on, I shut the app, I logged in and out, I tried removing my free ride code, literally everything and nothing worked. It was already too late to catch the metro, in fact it was 11:15, which is when I was planning on being there (never too early). I'm not sure who was freaking out more though, me or the receptionist on my behalf. Eventually, I was able to download the Lyft app (same thing) and get there by 11:30pm. Phew. Finding the actual bus is easy enough when everyone
speaks English (despite responding to my 'hello' with 'hola'). Everything went perfectly from then on, almost on-time, not too many people on the bus (I was lucky enough to be the only person with someone next to them - lucky me!) At 2:30am we made a 20 minute stop at a massive truck rest zone. I ended up moving in this time to a vacant seat (why couldn't you have done that in the first place Mr Mexico???).

Come 2:50 when we were meant to leave, we just didn't. No reason, no explanation, nothing. From the top level (double decker bus) we could hear the attendant telling the lower deck that the engine wouldn't start and a replacement bus would be 30 minutes away (thus, we had until 3:50 to do things). Great. Everyone on my level was quickly becoming agitated - why were we being left out of the loop? She then said that our new bus was coming in now (to the lower level) so people began getting their bags to get off the now coldest bus on the entire bloody Earth. The engine wouldn't start so we couldn't close the doors, or turn on the heating.
Hot air does not rise, that much I can verify, because my massive puffer jacket and merino jumper were doing less than nothing. The bus turned out to be the SF - LA bus, not one coming to save our ass. Meanwhile, the driver was on the phone to head office who were trying to tell him how to start the bus, something he did not "fucking" appreciate (x100). Eventually the mechanic came and I think we had a flat battery but weren't told so who the hell knows. We managed to get back on the road at 7am, 30 minutes before we were due to arrive in San Fran…. Oh yeah, and there's like 4 hours of the journey to go. The only saving grace was that this happened at night so we could at least sleep through most of this but tell you what, the extra sleep was not worth it. I still haven't warmed up and this is 6 hours later!

I ubered to the hostel with a guy from my last hostel (who I had been avoiding at all costs) but a half price uber (not that I've paid yet) is too good of an
opportunity to pass up, especially after our hellish night.

I mustered the courage to go for a walk around 12pm and checked out Union Square, not sure what it would be the 11/12ths of the year that the bloody massive Christmas tree isn't up though. Next was the turnaround for the cable cars, but there were none nearby and I couldn't be bothered waiting. In hindsight, if I knew of the hills I was about to be confronted by I would've waited all day and half the night. In my 30 minutes of San Francisco research yesterday I heard that the Cable Car museum was really good but that you must get the cable car there due to it being so steep, but I figured what would 60 year old Tripadvisor reviewers know. Oh boy did they know. 11 blocks (1.2km) directly uphill to get there, my heartbeat reached 130 at one point but I think averaged 110-15 the entire slog up hill. Also, when I mean uphill I mean I mean 22.9% incline (according to Google) and I was feeling every percent.

It was well worth it, I had assumed the 'cable cars' were just named fancy but the same as our trams, but turns out they actually run on cables, as they did 200 years ago. The cars themselves have no power and all run on massive spinny things, that you can see from the museums viewing deck, which never stop spinning. For the tram to stop the driver needs to clamp down on the cables at differing strengths. From all this pressure the cables only last between 75-210 days each and weaving new ones in takes five hours!!! No wonder the ride costs $7…. Though even with this appreciation I still won't be paying that.

Oh, and Grace Church (my rest stop) which looked like every European Church ever, but I'm assuming based on the Notre Dame in Paris, recommends a $10 tip for entrance per person. Hahaha good luck getting that from anyone.

12,053 steps.


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