Out for breakfast at world famous Lefty O’Douls: “Best deal on the square” is their motto – it wasn’t really. There was lipstick on my very small glass which was supposed to be a large juice, but I was assured that was large, the waitress was unhappy and not friendly and the food was not very nice.
Back to hotel to pack up and check out of my fabulous penthouse suite at the Metropolis. Left suitcase in storage and headed off for a walk basically to see what I could see till 6:00 pm when the shuttle would come to pick me up.
During the walk I saw a lot of homeless people and many of them begged for money – for some reason the ones in San Francisco we’re more aggressive and unpleasant than any of the ones I encountered anywhere else I’ve been. Maybe it was because I wasn’t expecting them to be outside the big flash department stores and in the best parts of town, or maybe I was just hungover, but one rather unsavoury character just wouldn’t take no for an answer and followed me all the way into a hotel and yelled “all I want is one dollar” and then some guy waiting to check in to the hotel standing at the reception desk rushed up to the guy gave him a dollar and looked at me as if to say this is all you had to do it was embarrassing and scary.
I walked all the way down to the water front basically along Market Street and nearby streets trying to get the best shot I could of the Trans America building, the one shaped like a pyramid. I found the place where the ferries for Sausalito depart from, but the wait was about an hour so gave it a miss and headed for Fishermans Wharf. About half way there I figured I’d been there done that and probably should get myself out to the Castro where I could have lunch and maybe walk up to Alamo Square to sit and contemplate the “Painted Ladies”. So I caught a streetcar all the way to Castro. A guy in a singlet with VERY bad B.O. stood in front of me arms raised to give me the full benefit of both smelly pits and I thought why me, he could stand anywhere, but no he had to stand right there!
The very lively, fun and fascinating Castro soon had me forgetting all the bad things and my sad mood about my holiday nearly being over. I found a cafe called Blue, my favourite colour. Had a great salad and a beer, walked around a bit more till I found a bar with groovy changing coloured walls and bar – how could I resist? It was only early afternoon but they were already having happy hour and beers were only $2, so I could have stayed there for a lot longer but I didn’t want to drink too much or I would be up and down all night on the airplane waking people up in my row to let me use the toilet.
Feeling very happy I caught a bus for about 10 minutes and got off near Alamo Square to see the painted ladies again and thank goodness there was a toilet in the park coz after the short walk from the bus I was bursting to use the loo (the rest of the day followed a similar very urgent pattern, maybe I’d had too many coffees and now beers for my poor body to cope with). I got to sit on the grass and contemplate the wonderful vista before me for a while and then headed back to the hotel area for last minute souvenir shopping in Chinatown and back to the hotel to wait for the shuttle.
The shuttle van driver was late which stressed me a bit so when I finally got to get in the van and the two ladies with their handbags who refused to make room so I could sit on a seat made for four people not two, I asked if they could please move, but they completely ignored me, forcing me to squeeze up next to two big guys on a seat made for two, I was back to feeling like San Francisco is not really a great place after all. Add to this the taxi driver that tried to rip me off last night by going the wrong way back to the hotel and blaming me for not telling him the way to go, the extra 4 hour delay when I first arrived in San Francisco because they lost the pilots and the bad hotel experience, the weather, the nasty homeless people, rude customer service and I just couldn’t see what everybody else loves about the place… I did not leave my heart in San Francisco like the song says, I couldn’t wait to leave. Of course Don’s wonderful hospitality and tour, plus the fabulous free upgrade at the Hotel Metropolis more than outweighs all the awful things that happened there, it’s just a shame that all the awful things that happened during this trip all happened in San Francisco.
Check in and departure went really smoothly and the Air New Zealand flight was on time and wonderful, I even had a whole row to myself so I didn’t have to wake anybody up in the middle of the night to go to the loo after all.
It’s great to be home.