Archives for category: San Francisco

San Francisco shares much with our former home, Brighton. It has a gay scene of international repute. It has a ‘vibrant arts community.’ It is riddled with drunks and drugs and homelessness. San Francisco has a large number of enormous sea lions lolling around at the sea front, maniacally barking for the amusement of tourists. Brighton has a large number of enormously overweight hen parties lolling around in sea front bars, maniacally shrieking to the bemusement of tourists.

If that doesn’t necessarily sound like a ringing endorsement of the city then that’s fine. You probably take a bucket and spade every time you go to Brighton and get really disappointed when your pebblecastles don’t stand up properly. But I assure you, San Francisco really is the tits and you’ll love it.

It really doesn’t appear to make any sense that there is a city here at all. Everywhere you turn there is another massive hill which in any other town would have seemed a decent enough excuse to stop building and not have any ambition for making one of the biggest cities and most important business and financial centres in the world. The town planners here had very different ideas, presumably because they were San Franciscan and that meant they were permanently high.

Having built an utterly inaccessible city they at least had the decency to build a local transport system that looks really cool. The cable cars that remain are almost completely unchanged since, although presumably when they first came in to being they weren’t a tourist attraction costing $6 for a single ride, and therefore people with normal budgets could actually afford to use them. Still, nice to look at. (Just trust me on this because I can’t find the pictures we took of them. Promise they are nice to look at.)

A 15 minute boat ride away from San Francisco is Alcatraz, probably the world’s most infamous prison, or to me, the setting for the 1996 action thriller The Rock, a film so bad that I must have watched it at least 15 times when my mum got the film channels when I was 11.

Alcatraz is now actually operated by the same National Parks service that looks after the Grand Canyon and Sequoia National Forest so it was no surprise to find that it is brilliant. Even though one inevitably feels and looks a bit of a dick using an audio guide on a walking tour of an attraction, we put on our headphones and walked around like good little prisoners.

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Lovely views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge and the rest of the Bay Area from the recreation yard; not really sure what the inmates had to complain about but loads of them died trying to escape so I guess it wasn’t all fun and games and walking tours.

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There is plenty more to recommend to do in San Francisco, but none will be as delicious as this.

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That’s a grilled ham, cheese and onion sandwich, dipped in egg, deep fried and sprinkled with icing sugar with spicy strawberry jam for dipping. Completely and utterly astonishingly brilliant. If you ever find yourself in the Bay Area, I can heartily recommend a trip to Show Dogs for a sausage or a gnarly sarnie.

If you’re not hungry, just go for a walk. You’ll meet crazies, get incredibly toned calves from all the climbing and find that you love San Francisco because it’s the shit.

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From reading this blog you could reasonably expect that the whole of America is ugly and disgusting. There are enormous swathes of it that are, and because I’m a bit of a bastard I find it much easier to be disparaging about these bits rather than concentrate too much on the places in between that mean that I am actually having a remarkably good time on this trip and not just wasting a few months being angry at fat people.

However today I would like to pay tribute to the nice things that we saw on our drive from Las Vegas, through the Sequoia National Forest and up through California. Let’s look at some trees.

Not just any trees either, but really massive trees. In fact, this tree is the biggest known, living tree in the world.

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He is about a gazillion metres wide and ten gazillion metres tall.

There are lots of other very big trees in this forest.

Trees with crazy ass roots.

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Trees you can make friends with.

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Trees you can hide in.

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Trees you can drive through.

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And when you’ve had enough of trees you can climb to the top of a mountain and sit on a rock and forget that you’re in the filthiest, fattest, most warmongering, socio-economically deluded country in the world.

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