A Travellerspoint blog

Day 30

San Francisco

semi-overcast 8 °C

The day dawned for me with a look out across San Francisco Bay towards the airport where the constant arrival and departures of planes indicated that so many people in the world are setting off or returning from their adventures, some as part of a trip like I have been engaged in and some whose adventure at this stage is for work or some other reason. I am learning again that the whole of life is an adventure, no matter what we are doing and I need to treat it as such to get the full benefit of my living.
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What a day it was. I had light breakfast after last night’s huge feed at Max’s and repacked everything again. I would like to think that I am getting good at this but I think it is really just swapping things around a bit, however it makes me feel that I am doing it better than I was. I probably need to write a guide to packing for a ‘Bucket List’ trip and it would be to take only half the stuff you think you need, but I was traversing some varying weather and so I have an excuse for having too much.

The Airport shuttle to the Airport and then to negotiate the ‘BART’, the (Bay Area Rapid Transport) it is the underground into San Fran. That is quite efficient apart from the difficulty of getting a ticket out of a machine that does not seem to understand the simplicity of putting your money in and getting a little piece of paper out. I walked Market Street as that is the main drag and I was looking for the Big Red Bus but there were so many interesting things that it took a while. I covered a good deal of the Street from the Glen Park right down to the port buildings that were once the entry point for all people coming to San Fran by ship.
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Where I started the trek was in a not so affluent area and there were a many people who were not doing as successfully as they would like and then a bit closer to the bay where the well known stores have their presence, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom’s and Macey’s among them. I went on the Cable Tram last time I was here and so I did not feel the need to do it again but I had forgotten that when it reached Market Street it went onto a turntable to turn it around, but it was manual and a tram employee is there all day to manually push the thing around. I had a look at the Market at the end of Market Street that is the entry terminal for the city and it really had some nice shops and then others that were a little different.
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the great thing about travelling is always the people that you meet and I found this guy in Market Street with a stall giving people a taste of Chia tea with a North Melbourne scarf around his neck, so I had to ask what it was all about and he indicated that he bought it in Melbourne a few years back and he just liked wearing it.
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I walked all the way round from Pier 1 to pier 42 and had a little look around some of the more interesting ones and was amazed at the number of interesting and creative characters that were out there doing their thing, and then I found the Big Red Bus. It was not a holiday or a weekend and so for quite a few stops I was the only person on the top deck and possibly the reason was that it was really cold, not ‘St Petersburg cold’ but I only had a light jacket and it got worse when we crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge, however this is a spectacular city full of colour and energy and some of the buildings are beautiful. It seems a shame that there is a fault line running underneath the whole place.

The Capital Building is amazing and they tell me that there are over 600 dampers odd rubber shock absorbers underneath the main structure to protect it from a potential earthquake in the future. There are many houses built in the Queen Anne Style, and other styles that just seem to be out of picture books. The commentator on the bus’s recording said something about a trip to San Francisco is not complete unless you have visited this place and that place etc, etc: and I thought that in just a few hours I would be off to Hong Kong and I might never see this place again so I would have to settle for just a ‘half look’ at San Fran.
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Of course we drove across ‘The Bridge’ and I had done it before and it is spectacular but no more spectacular than Sydney Harbour Bridge but you do get a great view of the Bay and looking the other way the rugged coastline of the Pacific Ocean.
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Then it was time to head back and so on to the BART and chance to case out the International side of the Airport and then pick up the bags and get sorted out for the 15 hours to Hong Kong.
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Although my memories of San Fran are coloured somewhat because the last time I was here was before 9/11 and the day before that dastardly event I was touring the city and a few days later I was touring the surrounds with my good mate Steve so there was a tinge of sadness for me, however It was also in San Fran, or more precisely, San Hose that I encountered Starbucks for the first time and it was in this area of the world that, like so many people I re-evaluated what I was doing in my life and decided to become more involved in things that made a difference in the world, so I have very special memories of this place.

San Francisco is an exciting place with lots of things happening, with a totally different feel to Chicago and Austin. I was at the airport early and we took off on time as far as the schedule was concerned and on time for the conclusion of this adventure.

Was it worth it? This will be a question that will need to be answered from a number of different viewpoints. I desperately wanted to stand in Red Square in the middle of winter like Sean Connery in ‘The Russia House’, and all the other things hung off that but when I stood there it did not seem like the place I was familiar with from the movie, so I felt a little let down; however that was just the catalyst. The things that made this trip for me was catching up with old and new friends and as far as places St Petersburg was the highlight followed closely by all the other places that I visited; no exceptions. The world really is an amazing place and yes it is my world.

I was asked yesterday has this quelled my appetite for adventure. Yes and no; for the time being I am really over packing and doing the Belt, Braces and Belongings for the security check, and the 14 planes that I have been on in different places of the world, and the many officials who seemed to question my sanity when the look at my itinerary, there were others who question it also, but I am increasingly becoming aware that the whole adventure thing is not about where you are or even about what you are doing but how you think and how you relate to the adventure within.

In a few days I will be back in Riverton and it is the absolute opposite to all of the places where I have been but there are adventures there, I have no doubt, awaiting my return, my hope is that I will be able to see them and to grasp hold of them for all the future days that are in store for me.

Posted by Fletch1 17:29 Archived in USA

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