Day 29 – San Francisco

It should be illegal to get up earlier than 7am on your holidays, but for a segway ride in Sausalito it is worth it. Mum decided not to risk ruining her holidays with broken bones so she occupied herself for the morning while the rest of us headed off to the ferry via the cable car. Figured out we were at the wrong Ferry Terminal when no one else turned up, so after a quick check of the iphone I discovered we needed to go to the Ferry Building. All well and good except that it was a 30 minute walk away and we had 15 minutes. A mad dash down the Embarcadero ensued until a tram came past which we jumped on. The relief lasted a minute or so until we stopped at every single corner on the street. The torturous stopping lasted until we reached the Port of San Francisco where we bolted for the ferry. Of course it had to be at the other end to where we were but we made it just in time to get on the ferry with a dude who looked like my dad.

Port of San Francisco:

Port of San Francisco

The Bay Bridge:

The Bay Bridge

A guy who looks like my Dad:

Dad followed us to San Francisco

In Sausalito we had some time to kill before the tour so we headed over to A Taste of Rome for breakfast. Kelly had discovered it on the net and it turned out to be a popular breakfast joint. The coffee wasn’t that great but the bacon and egg muffin was alright. What was amusing about the ordering system at the counter was they had it back the front. The register is at the front so that you’d naturally line up out the door, however they want you to do it the other way and then get annoyed that you are doing it wrong. After breakfast we hung around in the sun on the pier looking at the boats. Madonna took to laying down on the wood so we put a hat down so she could make some money while she slept. It wasn’t a high traffic area so she didn’t make a single cent.

A Taste of Rome:

Taste of Rome in Sausalito

Egg, Cheese and Bacon muffin for breakfast:

Breakfast at Taste of Rome in Sausalito

Madonna begs for change in the street:

Madonna begs for cash

It had been Kelly’s idea to take a segway tour and we had the choice of Sausalito or the pier at San Francisco. I wasn’t in to the idea of riding segways around a place I’d already been so I was glad we went with the Sausalito option. Segways seem so lazy to use around a place you can walk so I was a little embarrassed about the idea but I had seen a bunch of segway tours in some of the other cities we’d been in and they actually looked like fun. The mini van from Electric Tour Company turned up and I was surprised to see it could fit 9 segways in it. The guy lined up all the segways on the ground and just as we were about to start the training an ambulance rocked up on queue. All of us went through a series of exercises to learn how to ride it. Forwards, backwards, circles, emergency brakes and figure eights. Pauline won as the most natural rider – to the point where the guy accused her of riding one before. It is surprising how the segway becomes an extension of your body. After a while without thinking about it you move by instinct to where you want to go at what speed you want to go. After doing our little exercises we rode along the wooden pier to a carpark where we went out of turtle mode and stepped it up a gear. We had some free time then to just go wild on the segways going as fast as wanted, wherever we wanted doing whatever we wanted. Basically that just meant we raced each other up and down for 10 minutes.

Segways getting prepared to go:

The Segways

The van that carries the segways:

Guided Segway tours

Fiona is ready to roll:

Fiona is ready to ride

The tour began after that where we rode in single file down the marina looking at the boats, some of the houseboats and getting the history of Sausalito. We stuck to the water and eventually ended up at the Bay Model Visitor Center. You may know it from tv shows such as Mythbusters, where they used it to figure out if the Alcatraz escapees survived the tides of the San Francisco bay area. It’s basically a model of the bay area so that engineers can simulate tides and currents. We parked our segways outside then wandered around looking at the centre. Not much was going on but it was way bigger than I expected and awesome to look at.

Sausalito Marina:

Sausalito Marina

Cute little wood boat:

Cute little wood boat

Segwaying around Sausalito:

The segway tour moves ahead

Bay Model Visitors Center:

A model of the tidal flows in the bay area

Outside we discovered that Auntie Sue’s segway had a flat tyre which explained some of the issues she’d been having. She swapped with the tour guide (which was a souped up version of ours) and headed back to base. The poor tour guide had to be really gentle with his. Behind the model centre was Record Plant Studios – a recording studio where albums such as Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Metallica’s Load and Kanye West’s Late Registration. I paused long enough to take a photo, thank the place for giving us so many great albums.

Record Plant Studios at Sausalito:

The recording studio where Rumours was made

Here is a video I took while on the segway, I think it gives you a good idea of the sounds and speeds and experience you get from riding one.

Back at the road we had to navigate through a small space near a pole to get on the footpath. It gave me pause before I went through it but scared me even more when I watched Auntie Sue barrel through heading straight for the road and traffic. She sort of jumped off it at the same time and ended up crashing in to Madonna. I saw the whole thing in slow motion so I was glad to see that she didn’t end up being hit by a car.  Thankfully the injuries weren’t too bad and they managed to continue, but I think the fun went out of the segways a little for Auntie Sue. We met up with mum back at the taste of rome and walked further down in to Sausalito for lunch. Sat on the water eating not very good pizza and drinking apple juice from a cute little plastic apple.

Lunch in Sausalito looking at San Francisco:

Lunch in Sausalito

Little Apple drink container:

Cute little apple juice

After catching the ferry back to San Francisco we walked around the markets at the Port building and bought some snacks. It’s a cool little food market there – I wish Brisbane had a permanent indoor farmers market like that or the one in Adelaide. Tired from all that standing on a machine to go places we went back to the hotel to recover for a few hours before going to visit the Painted Ladies. The ladies are actually houses that are sort of an icon of the architecture in San Francisco. If you were a tv watcher in the 90s you’d know them from the introduction to Full House, but you’ll probably have also seen them on postcards or t-shirts. I know I brought my mum a t-shirt back from our 2003 trip with them on but when I had tried to find them that visit I failed. As we were walking towards market street Kelly and I realised we’d forgot some things, so we quickly turned around and when back to the hotel to get them. As we were waiting for the lift I saw a familiar looking woman dressed in chef’s clothing and did a double take. It was Jen the faux hawk lesbian from Top Chef! On the second look I got a smile out of her as she walked past listening to maybe the restaurant’s manager? Damn, if I’d have known she was the chef in the hotel we were staying at I totally would have eaten there! But this was our last night in San Francisco and we had other plans.

We took a bus out to the park where the ladies are located but came at it from the wrong side. I realised I’d been to this park before on my last trip but didn’t find the houses, thankfully I had the iphone this time which was able to show me exactly where they were. The group took the usual famous photos of the houses with the Transamerica Pyramid Building in the background and then we decided to take some group shots. Kelly and I were the photographers while the others stood there and grinned. For interest someone suggested that they jump, so we took a few photos but weren’t getting the shot. They were told to jump higher, so Pauline took it upon herself to do a toyota style legs up jump. Unfortunately she forgot she was on a slope, so the landing became a tumble down the hill. Clasically funny, but more funnier when Kelly played it back in fast forward. Tears of laughter were streaming as we imagined it set to Benny Hill music. The video will end up on Kelly’s blog at some point.

The Painted Ladies:

Painted Ladies of San Francisco

Getting them to jump for the photos (note how high Pauline jumps):

Jumping Ladies (and Mat) of San Francisco

Pauline falls down the hill after the jump:

Pauline stacks it after she jumps

Mum wanted to find the Mrs Doubtfire house but after checking the iphone we discovered that although it was in the same street as the painted ladies it was a long way away, so we ditched the idea and caught another bus back to the city. I convinced Mat and Kelly to come to a tiki bar in Oakland with me, but the others bowed out. I didn’t really tell them how much of a mission it was to get there – train and bus, but it was light when we left and getting dark by the time we caught the bus at Oakland train station. Oakland isn’t really the safest are so I was a little nervous about the whole thing and I ended up missing our stop and making the other two walk a bit further than we needed to. It was a little weird because we walking around a suburban area with lots of houses and no places that looked like shops. Luckily we saw a light at the end of the street and found the Forbidden Island Tiki Bar. I was getting a bit of a reputation as an out of the way bar finder.

Amy, Kelly and Mat were last seen walking to the train station in an effort to get drunk:

Kelly, Mat and Amy leave to get pissed

Entrance to the Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge was dark and full of tiki idols and cane. Inside though, it was rocking with all the booths taken up with drinkers in hawaiian shirts. Mat, Kelly and I took up the only seats available which were at the bar right in front of the bartender. Sitting at the bar isn’t really common in Australia, so we felt a little strange at first, but a few drinks loosened us up. We had brilliant fun chatting with the lady bartender who even though busy, was still courteous enough to give us some chatting time. I’m sure she has heard enough drunken boring stories in her life but she faked it out enough to make us feel like we weren’t boring her. Mat, Kelly and I had the most fun I’ve ever had in a bar as we drunk from burning islands of booze and tiki cups. The one drink I had planned turned in to hours of drinking and laughing. When we were finished we tipped well and stumbled out in to the street.

Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge:

Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge

The mystery bowl:

Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge

Mat discovered a 4wd ute raised so high that the boot was over his head. He got Kelly to video it all (shakily drunk I’m sure) and swooned over it for hours. I used google maps to find us a bus trip home on another suburban street in the middle of nowhere. I was petrified we were going to get shot, but being drunk tends to allow you to relax a little bit and I’m pretty sure Kelly and Mat had no idea I thought we would never make it home. I thought we’d have to do the bus/train thing again, but the first bus that came along was going all the way to San Francisco so we took it all the way to the terminus. Dropped in the middle of town we wandered in the wrong direction, then wandered back and found the tram line and a tram coming. Still on a happy buzz from the drink we then got off at Powell St and made it on to a cable car that was just leaving. We were the only ones on board and the driver was feeling generous and let me ring the bell. I have never felt such exhilaration from ringing a bell before which totally topped off the best drunken night I’ve had ever. We faced danger, public transport, suburban streets and fiery island drinks and didn’t throw up once. Brilliant.

For more photos, check out the Flickr set.

For Kelly’s version of events, check out her matching day blog post.

Tweets of the day:

Whose idea was it to get up at 5.45am for a segway tour? Oh that’s right, @Kelsbells!
The wait at the wrong ferry terminal meant a rush for the right one. Just made it and now we are enjoying a coffee in Sausalito.
The segways have arrived. I see Injury, death or joy in our immediate future.   http://twitpic.com/53msx
We survived being tourist attractions on the segways but our calves are suffering for it! Fantastic fun.
With a flat tyre and an almost stack auntie sue was awarded the segway tour wings of the group.
@j3thr0 Pauline is considering selling her scooter for one 😉 $5000 usd though!
How cute is this apple juice container.  http://twitpic.com/53zs5
@j3thr0 we caused the earthquake when we road the segways over the speed bumps. 🙂
Top chef celebrity spotted in lobby of my hotel! Faux hawk lesbian one. She gave me a smile! Shame I can’t remember her name! Aargh!
A quick google and I’ve discovered it was Jen the faux hawk lesbian.
I am with @Kelsbells and we are drunk on tiki drinks and going to get shot in Oakland!
We drank from a bowl of burning fire! Don’t fuck with us! http://twitpic.com/55207
We recommend the bartender at the forbidden island in alameda. She is hot.
Dudes! I got to ring a real cable car bell! Most wicked night in SF ever!

Comments

comments

3 thoughts on “Day 29 – San Francisco

  1. Kath

    Oh how I long to go back to San Francisco, and you make it worse with each blog post. Next time I am definitely doing a segway tour. Bit over a year and I’ll be back there.

  2. Pingback: Kelly's World » USA Day 4 (San Francisco)

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