San Francisco, CA
I Left My Job In San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
OMG, you know you`ve been in this city too long when you start chatting to random strangers on buses….and Glaswegians at that!!
So this is it…my last day in the Windy City (Chicago can`t possibly hold (or blow out) a candle to San Fran for gale force winds). Walking home from work the other night, struggling to walk upright (battling the wind, not the tequila for a change!), I came to the conclusion that as much as I loved this city, the weather would have defeated me in the end. This is a place where there is no necessity for a winter or summer wardrobe – you just need one big wardrobe (preferably one that you can walk through into a land where it is Summer the whole time). You`re getting the picture.
The other thing I won`t miss about the place is the tragic number of homeless and scarily crazy people here. At times it feels like you`re walking through the set of a zombie movie. I`ve never felt unsafe of threatened – just a bit depressed that a county like the US can allow so many people to end up on the streets.
What I will miss… the “hoods”, the people (crazy and otherwise) who have made me, as a stranger, feel so welcome. The culture and the music, the diversity and the food, the freedom and the tolerance. People seem happy or content to be here whatever their circumstances or lifestyle. This is a place where they feel at home, in every sense of the word.
The last few weeks have flown by. After a great couple of weeks with Karen and Ronelle, Dan arrived and it was lovely to see him again. He obviously felt at home, turning my lovely apartment into the set of “The Young Ones “ within a few hours. Obviously having mum around makes you suddenly incapable of making a bed or doing the washing up. That aside, he was great company – he was out exploring during the week while I was at work, but we had two brilliant weekends together.
We drove up to Yosemite with my friend Tash on the first, and I began to understand why many Americans don`t travel abroad much. The range of scenery here is absolutely breathtaking, like something out of a painting – especially as the winter had seen a lot of snow this year and some of it was still lying around. It did feel really odd throwing snowballs when the temperatures were in the 90`s. The snow melt had made the waterfalls and rivers even more torrential than usual, and the highlight of the trip was climbing up this mountain for what felt like miles and getting absolutely soaked, only to be rewarded with the unforgettable sight of a rainbow framing the top of the waterfall like something out of a fairy tale! It really warranted a longer stay than our two days allowed. Next time it would be great to actually stay in the woods (instead of a cabin which turned out to be a mobile home – and turned us into “trailer trash” for the weekend!).
The following weekend, after watch England scrape a draw against the US, we headed down the coast along Pacific Highway One to Monterey. As we drove along by Big Sur, we had the Beach Boys on the radio (this fulfilled one of my all time fantasies!) and would spontaneously burst into tune every time we passed a town or place that was in an Eagles/Springstein/Monkees/Eminem etc. song. This area must be featured in more hits than anywhere else I know!
My favourite places along the drive – Monterey, Carmel (where they were setting up for the US Open), Hearst Castle (such a stunning house and grounds on top of a hill overlooking the coast), the stunning coastline, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and finally San Diego where we ended up. We also found the Californian equivalent to Southend-on-Sea (Pismo Beach – what a dump!) closely followed in the “Tackiest Seaside Resort” stakes by Venice Beach. Scary as it was (you try trying to change lanes on an 11 lane highway!), I really enjoyed the drive despite the fog which seemed to follow us along the coast, and we ended up safely back at LA, where I tearfully saw Dan off, and flew back to San Fran.
This weekend was Pride weekend, and we watched the Parade on Sunday, when the weather was hot and sunny (for a change!). Although a little more political than the London event, it was a great tribute to the city to see so many people of all denominations enjoying the spectacle and supporting the gay community (which in turn seems to embrace and involve itself in every good cause from pet adoption to vegetarianism to housing for the elderly). It was a fitting finale to my stay here.
So it`s adios San Francisco…..Hola Mexico.