Purely a maintenance day today, no new sites to see as I went about finishing up final chores. I did take one final cable car ride out to Lombard St early in the morning to tramp down the curviest street. It looks pretty funny on the map. Met Pauline at the Macworld expo and surfed the net then we did some shopping at Old Navy. Excellent bland clothing store, found some work clothes and some comfy long pants to wear on the plane. It is similar to gap, and very cheap and massive – wish we had one in Australia. We bought another bag from chinatown to fit all the shit we bought and bargained them down $4.00. WOW! 😉 Had a pizza for dinner to bookend the trip, as that was the first meal we had when we got here. Then we spent 50 hours packing and went to bed not looking forward to our long trip tomorrow.

To sum up my trip I’ve done a list of different things, in no particular order.

Worst things I found in my trip to America/California

1. You have to tip. I know that staff don’t get paid that well, but I hate the uncertainty of the custom every time it’s time to pay up for your meal or your transportation. Plus you can give them $20 accidently for bad service (yes I’m still bitter about that taxi driver).

2. The lines. It seemed like we were always lining up for something whether it was the toilet or the x-ray machine at the airport or the 5 hours of our 8 hour tour of Universal Studios. I thought they couldn’t stand them!

3. Their news and tv. They really do work on fear just like Mike said in Bowling for Columbine. I mean they found 1 cow with mad cow disease from Canada in Washington and I didn’t stop hearing about it for 3 weeks!!!! As for tv, if you drove 5 miles you were in a totally different network area and all the channels changed to different numbers and shows were on at different times (not that we watched that much tv).

4. Their toilets. This could’ve been in the best and worst section. I like the hands free toilets in a lot of the public places, but it frustrated me if I moved around in the stall because it would start flushing if I moved the wrong way. It does flush in a different direction as mentioned in the simpsons episode where they go to Australia, but I suspect it is purely because it is a different flushing mechanism. It sort of sucks at the end so that there is nothing left in the toilet bowl and then the water fills up again. It adds an uncertainty that it isn’t all going to suck away, and sometimes it didn’t quite finish with the paper. Plus it doesn’t allow for a half flush and it sort of set up for inspection just like the dutch toilets. Sorry to be so graphic but I find this stuff interesting! 🙂

5. Tax. The tax is different in each state, and they only add it after you have purchased so you never really know how much the final cost is going to be until it has been rung up. Very deceptive.

6. Barely any soccer. The best I saw was a massive display for a female soccer player in Niketown San Francisco. Who can live without soccer??

7. Some of their cars brake lights flash to indicate that they are changing lane. That is annoying since we are so used to orange.

Best things I found in America/California

1. Most of their museums were either free or reasonably priced. I got in to the Cablecar museum for free and the maritime one was also free. Even their wax museum was only about $4.

2. They have really big food portions. This can be a blessing or a course. They also provide little cups for you to put sauce in so you can decide how much you want. Plus most of the stores offer unlimited refills and I bought a 5 cent coffee. 5 cents!!!

3. They know how to drive on the freeway (except when there is a traffic jam).

4. Their clothes are cheap and there is tonnes of variety. I could be a dowdy librarian or a hardcore punk and buy the clothes in the same street.

5. They know how to make big shops that have cool stuff in it. I know lots of people who could get lost for days in Fry’s Electronics or Old Navy.

6. San Francisco, Monterey/Carmel and all that was in between on the coast.

Worst foods

Jack in the box. I ate there twice to make sure it wasn’t the store, but it was the entire chain. Plus they seem to have a lot of shootings there. (speaking of which there weren’t that many McDonalds)

Dr Pepper. Blagh!

Pizza. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t have any that were stunning. Plus the only flavours they seemed to offer was pepperonni or cheese.

Best foods

In-N-Out Burger. mmm burgers made fresh for you, with beef burgers made that day and potatoes hand peeled at the store. You might have to wait, but it is hell worth it. I didn’t think fast food stores could make something so good.

Tri-Tip Sandwich. I can’t remember the name of the store but I bought it in the food court at Sony Metreon. It was called Bucks or something. Had the nicest marinated triangle slice of steak with caramelised onions on a sub type of bun. Drooling now just thinking about it.

Gingerbread coffee from Starbucks. First had it in Las Vegas on New Years, had to have another. It really did taste great!!! Had cream on top too.

Ghiradelli hot chocolate from Ghiradelli square soda fountain. Best hot chocolate I’ve EVER had. Had cream on top and you can buy the chocolate drink from the store, but I couldn’t be arsed buying it then having to declare it.

Soup in sourdough bread from Boudin Bakery. We had a tomato garlic thing in San Jose in the sourdough bread and it was scrumptious. I did have the clam chowder at Fisherman’s wharf from the fish sellers, but their bread was shit, so the tomato garlic wins.

Lemonade. Homestyle – not fizzy. Not as good as the one the Vietnamese restaurant one makes in west end, but still pretty damn nice.

Favourite attractions

Hearst Castle. well run and stunningly beautiful. Plus you can go 4 times and still see things you didn’t see.

Alcatraz. Audio tour was superb and I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of the damn island. Plus they were nice enough to make it look like the Tony Hawks skateboard game. 🙂

Vegas baby. Nothing like it on earth, so much to see, so amazing. Wouldn’t want to live there, and hated the smokers and gamblers but much better than my local RSL. (ROFL)

Monterey Aquarium. The jellyfish were beautiful and I didn’t realise tuna were so big. Their massive tank was awe inspiring.

Old Sacramento. Not much to see, but it was quaint and a calming introduction to California and it’s state capital.

Elephant seals on the beach at highway one. Free and they aren’t trained to be there, it’s their natural environment.

Grand Canyon. It was big. Damn big. And it had a cool raven.



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