CA Days 2 & 3 – Welcome to San Francisco
Continuing from the stop at the airport. I couldn’t get much of a sleep at that airport-thing. First I tried the bench at subway (the restaurant-chain, by the way, not the underground-thing), then a fluffy looking chair in the check-in area. Both didn’t work all that well, but I could get a few minutes of sleep and obviously it was enough to carry on. So I took out my Lonely Planet California guida and checked my options to get to the city. Slowest & cheapest was the bus 292, which would bring me to downtown in an hour for 1.50. Since I wasn’t really in a rush that was the way to go.
So I get in the bus and theres a cashing-machinery-thing where you throw in your money. No tickets or stuff, you just throw your money into that thing. I was lucky enough to grab some dollars at an ATM so I throw in the smallest I have not to get too much change; a 5$ bill. The driver looks at me. “So what now?” – “Uhm, what now why?” – “It’s 1.50 and you threw in 5$. There ain’t no change” – “Uhm, well that’s bad luck I guess” – “Sit down there right beside me” – “Ok”. So I sit down there and he tells the next three guys to give me their 1$ bills instead of putting them into Mr. cashing-machine. They look all weirdish at me and seem to be a little confused, but they hand over the cash. This guy was real funny, like making extra stops for people and being a funny bus driver. Funny.
In the city I was basically walking around, getting a first glance of “how SF feels” and stuff. There’s a lot of starbucks, but they’re somewhat different to vienna’s. Around here they are … well … TINY. Like having three or five seats and two small tables and that’s it, squeezed into some little corner somewhere. Some don’t even have restrooms. But there’s T-Mobile hotspots and since I had to buy a 24h account at the airport I could use that to get online and try to find a couch. But things weren’t developing all that well, so I ran around a little more in the city.
Finally Matt dropped me a line. He couldn’t host me but he helped me out by driving me around to buy a sleeping bag, equpping me with snacks and even lent me a prepaid cellphone – for all 7 weeks of my trip! Plus we’ll be watching a NFL playoff game on his projector in a few days when he’s back from a trip to florida. Afterwards, back in SF, I already decided to take a hostel room for that night, but wanted to check out a cafe suggested by my trusted Lonely Planet guide – Cafe de la Press, an international cafe with lots of magazines from all over the world. Sounded like a good place to check out. I asked directions and one guy, Byron, was real cool and he offered me a lift around town.
Since I had nothing better to do I joined and we were having quite a nice afternoon, he showed me around the San Francisco State University where he’s a dancing instructor, we had a fried burrito (scary stuff that totally fisted me) and a few beers and he even offered me to stay at his place. So everything was pretty cool, until we were sitting in his room and watching a movie and suddenly he tried to hit on me really hard, like grabbing my feet and telling me how “strong and nice” they are. Welcome to San Francisco. Damn this guy was talking bout hot chicks all day, the girls in his dancing classes, getting laid, straight talk you know. And then THIS. It was kinda weird because I was somewhere outside downtown, it was already durk, I was a little drunk already and still carrying my luggage around. So after he realized that he can’t talk me into “experimenting” he gave me directions to the next BART (kind of a subway connecting all parts of SF bay area) station and off I walked.
Back to SF I first of all needed a place to get sober. A starbucks, just because those seem to be trustworthy. I found a bigger one by accident and hung out there with a regenerating coffee. A woman insisted I should take her place on the couch to take a little nap. I must have looked like I felt. Once again the Lonely Planet guide saved me, this time with a hostel address. I was lucky they had a nice double bedroom I had for my own. It was only about 8pm or something but I fell asleep instantly and only woke up around 10am, still tired. Seems like almost no sleep for two days and then walking around SF all the time isn’t the best combination to be fit and stuff.
When I woke up I realized that I hadn’t changed since my trip started so I was kind of real happy to have a shower and put on some fresh clothes. Plus they had free wifi in the hostel so I could check my cs-account. I was lucky: Sonya from Berkeley dropped me a line offering me her couch for yesterday night – finally I knew where I’d sleep before I got there. A good feeling I’m telling you. The bad news: It started raining. Not like a few drops of water, more like someone emptying buckets over the town. Serious rain.
If any of you saw the weather forecast you might realized that this storm is supposed to last for the whole weekend. It’s the first time since a few years there’s so much rain in january. Watch a weather map. Find the huge cloud over SF. Right in the middle, there I am. However, yesterday was a good day. After a nice breakfast I took the BART to Berkeley, had a coffee at a Peet’s Cafe which by the way kicks starbucks ass regarding tastyness of coffee BY FAR, and then arrived at Sonya’s place. We watched a movie, went for some grocery shopping. watched a DVD (Little Miss Sunshine, rocking movie!) and I cooked a nice dinner.
Then some friends of her came over and we went out for some serious drinking, ending up at her place again equipped with a hell lot of beer, watching a DVD of Sonya’s very sophisticated ex-boyfriend being drunk and mainly insisting on how superior his texan crotch is. Funny to watch. Sad Scott. Whatever! Now we’ll go out to see a bit of Berkeley, making our way through the wall of rain. I’ll then call Melisa, who’s going to host me from today to arrange stuff about meeting up.
Finally the trip is starting to take shape. The last days kind of exceeded my planned budget, it’s somewhat hard to keep spendings low if you have to spend time in cafe’s and go to restaurants for every meal, but I’ll try to get that sorted now that things are a little more settled. As for america itself: San Francisco is a nice city, interesting architecture, friendly people, a lot of stuff going on. I like the area and despite the rain, the weird stuff going on so far and the whole bad luck things I feel fine and comfortable around here, so I’m all good. Now for some Berkeley. Will try to report in again soon. I love you all.