The trip was initially planned because my great friend and mentor, Gabriel, was flying in from Nicaragua. He helped show me around to all of the touristy spots like The Wharf, Lombard Street, Haight/Ashbury, and The Golden Gate Bridge. We even had a delicious hot cocoa from Ghirardelli. MmmmMmmm!
My number one goal was to visit Alcatraz whilst I was in SF. I failed miserably. Primarily because I’m not a very good planner (anymore) so I didn’t think that tickets needed to be purchased in advance. It was a mini fiasco to find this bit of information out. Queue story: So, Gabe drops me at the pier where the Alcatraz ferry departs from and said, “if I need to circle around [because of parking] I will come back to get you.” “If” being the key word. I hopped out of the car and had a very brief conversation with the pier guy. I ran back to the curb where Gabe had dropped me and got back into the car. Except that it wasn’t the right car. I was literally all the way in the vehicle, in the process of closing the door, and was telling “Gabe” what the deal was with the tour when I looked up to see a black man with dreadlocks! Picture a Home Alone moment where my mouth fell open and my hands shot to my cheeks! “I am SOOOO sorry!” As I was crawling out of the car (which, in my defense, was the same color as Gabe’s car) I peeked back inside and said, “oh, by the way, my name’s Tiffany!” At this point the gentleman introduced himself and said, “and this is Raven.” I looked into the back seat to see a small 2-3ish year old little girl. Oh! My! Goodness! I turned to see the pier guy doubled over in laughter at my situation. As I stood awkwardly on the curb wondering where Gabriel had gone, Raven’s father rolled down the window to explain that his little girl was wondering if I needed a ride and “why did her friend leave her?” How sweet is that? Giggles galore!
I was really bad about snapping photos on this trip; a picture just couldn’t express the experience. I’ve been to California before, but only to the southern region. I can say without a doubt that I’m now a west coast convert. VA Beach can suck it. Needless to say, I didn’t get a shot with Sir Gabriel. Nor did I capture Ms. Sarah (the Hippy Sarah as some of you know her…(she’s going to kill me)) and I’s raclette feast. Boy oh boy, I’ve had some crazy nights in Sin City, but one of the nights out with Lady Sarah was a whirlwind of an event! Her girlfriends are wonderful and I hope to laugh with them again soon!
I stayed with a good friend, Brody, whom I’ve known since 2005 from Tucson but it would definitely be amazing to CouchSurf in SF. I’m willing to bet there are a lot of cool people to meet! Brody allowed me to live in his life for a full week. Well, it started as a five-day vacation but turned into seven days. Did I mention I love this city?
One fun day was spent at Delores Park on Hipster Hill. We lounged around on blankets listening to newfound friends play songs on guitars, played soccer with a son and his father, and drank good wine from plastic cups. What more could you ask for?
Independence Day was spent on a peninsula of sorts off the shore of Oakland with Alex and Sylvia (Brody’s friends) plus several of their friends. The view was fabulous because we were able to see all of the firework shows from each of the surrounding cities. Considering I didn’t really know anyone that we spent the holiday with, this was the first July 4th that I didn’t miss being home in Oklahoma. I grew up attending the Quapaw powwow surrounded by family and have sincerely missed the function since I moved away in 2001. I’m not sure what it was about SF that satisfied the hole of home, but I couldn’t stop smiling that day.
I’m fairly certain that the reason I enjoyed SF so much is because it’s the most European U.S. city that I’ve encountered. I haven’t had that kind of travel high since I left London last year. The public transportation is legit and totally navigable unlike other U.S. cities. But I was also lucky enough to have someone drive me around on occasion. The people even drive like Europeans. Choreographed madness; similar to driving in Rome and Amsterdam. I’m thankful that I didn’t have to be behind the wheel!
On the day of the raclette party at Sarah’s, I’d decided to walk. I was in charge of bread and wine so I set off from Brody’s in Nob Hill towards the Ferry Building where my Auntie B had taken me the day prior. There are loads of cool shops for foodies so I made my selections and then walked towards Sarah’s house. Walking/wandering is a top three of things to do in new cities. There’s no better way to see and feel the real city than to interact with the people on the streets. Total mileage this particular day was just over five miles! By mile number four I was struggling! I definitely walked loads in Europe, but I hadn’t factored in the hills of San Fran when I set out. My legs were actually a little sore the next day. Getting a workout whilst doing something you love? Yes please!
I have to live there! I actually can’t imagine NOT living there after I complete my masters program! It’s convenient because the Institute of Public Health is located in Oakland. I think it’s a sign! But first, school in freezing Minnesooooota.