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Published: January 11th 2020
Pre warning- this first blog is for the 10th of January, which lasted 43 hours for us, so it’s a little long. Honestly, I kept looking at the date and going, “really? It’s STILL the 10th of January?”. So, you’ve been warned.
We left Brisbane at 11am and the 13 hour flight to LAX was actually not too bad. We thought we’d made it through the entire journey without any issues until 2 hours before landing the little girl in front of us threw up her strawberry yoghurt- you can imagine the smell. But other than that it was a pretty good flight, as far as long haul goes.
Arrived safely in LAX at 7am (still the 10th of January, we went back 4 hours in time), and then went through border security which was terrifying (why do they all have to yell? I got so nervous I thought I was going to forget my name and birthday), but despite the nerves my main goal was to try to find the TV camera for Homeland Security USA. I didn’t find it, probably because it was 6am, but we’ll try again in Canada (just for you mum and dad).
Thankfully we proved ourselves to be genuine and non-threatening enough to be accepted into the US, collected our bags, went to run outside into the fresh air, realised we had to go through one more security check, received a “Welcome to the United States, ma’am, have a nice day” (which put a huge grin on my face), THEN ran outside into the fresh air, and turns out it was mostly cigarette air. But we did then have a nice, crisp walk to the domestic terminal which we then waited four hours for our flight to San Francisco.
In these four hours we discovered that the toilets here are really weird (no lid, no flush button, and uncomfortably high water levels?), coffee is weak, and that knowing when and how much to tip is going to be a major challenge for the next few weeks (ended up paying $9 for a coffee because I freaked out and pressed random tipping buttons on the eftpos machine). We pretty much spent the whole time wandering around, debating whether or not to pay exorbitant amounts for tiny morsels of food, and telling each other that the other needed sleep because we could see all the redness in their eyes.
Luckily, Adam was able to sleep the whole flight to San Francisco. I was not so lucky. We landed at about 1pm and caught a very expensive taxi to the hotel (we hadn’t had a chance to get our travel sims yet so we didn’t have wifi to figure out public transport or Uber).
The hotel (or inn I should say) is the CUTEST place I have ever stayed inn (hahaha get it? So original, Luce, good job). It serves complimentary wine and cheese every day at 5:30, and brings complimentary breakfast to your room every morning. It’s also quite small for a larger-than-average priced place, which is the reason Adam and I are only staying one night in San Fran (anywhere bigger would have been just way too expensive). For example, the door to the bathroom only just squeezes past the bed, and when the door is closed you have about 10cm of space between the door and the toilet.
Anyway, immediately after checking in we got into fresh clothes and went out to find a SIM card before heading to the Alcatraz cruise. We didn’t find a sim, and we also (after sprinting down the streets of San Francisco) only just made it to the cruise in time.
The tour of Alcatraz was absolutely mind blowing. We walked around the outskirts and then went inside where we saw all the cells (including the fake heads made by prisoners as a ploy to escape), the dining hall, the showers, and we even got to go inside the solitary confinement cells which was so terrifying and creepy. It was also cold, and not just because it was 0 degrees outside. We were also really lucky to come on the night we did because they had a special speaker who had himself been sentenced to life in prison but got released on probation a few years ago, and he talked to us about America’s law enforcement, justice system and how we (or they, rather) can make it better.
We got back to SF at 6:40pm, and the original plan was to have dinner at Pier 39 but we were so cold we had to run back to the inn to get warmer jackets (silly us forgot that the water from the bay would make us especially chilly). We went out to Little Italy for pizza (where we had yet another awkward tipping encounter, which including me blabbering and apologising that we’re new and them laughing and saying it’s okay even though I think we under-tipped but anyway) and then went to target (AT 9PM?!) to get toothpaste and travel SIM cards).
We finally got to go to bed at 11pm, concluding the longest day of our entire lives. Thanks for making it through all that, I promise the next ones will (probably) be shorter. Time for sleep.
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