Monday, April 26, 2010

Cali diary (San Francisco)

So after we found Hannah, we took a taxi to meet my mom, ate some yummy noodles (again in Thai Town), and set off on our roadtrip to San Francisco. Hannah was a funny random addition in the car. She was in LA visiting our mutual friend, Nick, but loved San Francisco so much that she preferred to return a day early and asked to tag along on our drive. I was more than thrilled to have someone to talk to in the car and we were still giggling over the events of the night before. I was super excited about the drive, I had never been north of LA, and excited to see a new city. Everyone I know raves about how great San Francisco is, including Hannah who claimed it's one of the cities she would consider moving to if she left England.

The car was a little cramped with me, Hannah, my mom, her two friends, and the loads of snacks my mom packed and my hangover wasn't helping much. When we stopped for gas my mom's friend offered to let me drive and have Hannah accompany me in the front. I was thrilled to get out of the backseat and a little excited to drive since I don't get to drive much here in NYC (it's been almost 2 years!). (This decision to drive will later turn out to be a huge mistake).

The drive took about 6 hours total and the views along Highway 5 were beautiful. I was told Highway 1, along the coast, has amazing views but I didn't dare ask my mom if we could drive another 2 hours out of the way. This was a mountain scattered with flowers. It looks like someone spray painted different spots on the mountain.

By the time I reached San Francisco my legs had cramped up and I was a little tired of driving. At this point I was pretty stressed because I am not used to driving and didn't know the way. I also wanted to take in the views more but I had to keep my eyes on the road. We drove straight to the Golden Gate bridge hoping to catch it during sunset (we were still too early).

Here's me and the Thai's. My mom is to the left of me.

After the bridge we drove past it to a viewpoint on a mountaintop. It was getting darker, especially in the shadow of the mountain, and my mom's friend wanted us to turn around. I took my eyes off the road for one second to look at the view when all of a sudden a deer darted in front of the car. I swerved off the road and everyone was screaming in the backseat. I was so startled I had to stop the car to catch my breath. I was so tired at this point and just DONE with driving. We decided to go to Fisherman's Wharf for some dinner. Hannah and I were so hungry and all we wanted was clam chowder in a bread bowl but my mom picked a packed, touristy restaurant. Dinner was nice but the place was definitely a little too touristy for my taste.

Next was a mission to find a place to stay for the night. We were in need of a shower and Hannah and I definitely needed a drink after 6 hours in the car with my mom. Of course when you need a motel you can never find one. We drove around and around until we found Oasis Motel. The elevator had carpeting on its walls and it smelled like wet towels but we booked a room anyway. I cringed when I saw our room. It just felt dirty. There were minimal amenities, no phone, no mini fridge, but that is not where the complaints lie. Again, it had a musty basement smell and all of the furniture looked like it had been acquired from the side of the road. There was a lone cigarette sitting on our bathroom floor. The covers on the bed smelled. We didn't want to take off our shoes to walk on the carpet. After a long, tiring day, this was not the place to unwind and take your shoes off. Ugh. I was so skeeved I just wanted to go to a bar and get a drink and get out of the room. Hannah and I were terrified to walk the motel halls alone. There was a creepy mystery door across from our room that wasn't a numbered motel room.

We googled our motel so that we could find out what bars were nearby and a bunch of reviews of the motel popped up. One star, no stars, red flags, and reviews written in bold and all caps: NEVER STAY AT THIS PLACE! SUCH A RIP OFF! SO GROSS AND DIRTY! GOT BED BUGS!!!!!!!! I scrolled down and review after review warned of bed bugs. That explains all of the old mattresses and bed frames sitting in the parking garage below. Hannah begged me to stop reading. We were already staying there and there was nothing we could do. If you don't read about the bed bugs then they're not really there, are they? We decided to just walk around and find a nearby bar.

The streets were pretty dark and empty. We would reach an intersection and look left and right and guess a direction based on the brightness of lights we saw. After each turn we made it just got worse and worse. Dark streets filled with bums and prostitutes. I had one hand clutching my purse and the other clutching Hannah's arm. "Dude, I live in fucking New York City and I've never been this scared," I told Hannah. "Yeah, I'm a blonde wearing a blazer and pearls. I'm screaming RR right now! Rob and rape me!" I was so incredibly over San Francisco!

We finally found a bar and drank as many drinks as we could squeeze in before 2AM. While talking to Hannah at the bar I began to scratch my legs and my back. I tried to ignore it but I felt so itchy. I finally had to ask Hannah if she felt itchy too. She looked worried but said it's probably just in my head. Ok, I tried to believe her but I was still scratching. I tried to pay attention to the guys that kept coming up to us with the lamest lines ever. I blame Hannah for being a leggy blonde with a British accent. I was the anchor that the wing man had to humor so that his friend could talk to Hannah. haha. Where were all the handsome, successful, eco-friendly men of San Francisco? All we met were lame, unattractive trust fund babies who seemed to be drinking and talking to girls for the first time in their lives. We had a bottle of vodka in our motel room and I told Hannah I preferred to buy some mixers and drink the itch away in the room. Not before we were lured to a strip club and a gross homeless man grazed me in a crowd did she agree.

We woke up the following morning, packed our stuff, and checked the hell out of that place. We drove to Chinatown and had some yummy dim sum for lunch. We went to this intense place where there were tables of non English speaking Chinese and Hannah looked like something out of a "Find What Doesn't Belong" game.

After lunch we drove through the Crookedest Street. I loved the homes on the street but felt bad for the people who live there that have to deal with all the tourists. I mentally apologized for being there.

Sadly, we dropped Hannah off at the airport late afternoon so that she could sort out her flight issues. Her flight back to the UK was cancelled due to the Icelandic volcano eruption. I sulked like a teenager for the remainder of my time. I was just so tired of driving and not getting to see San Francisco the way I wanted to. Later another car hit us while we were in a parking garage and I almost lost it right then and there. San Francisco was like something out of a horror show. One thing after another kept going wrong and I just wanted to go home!

We stayed one more night, visited Alcatraz, and then got the hell out of dodge SF! Alcatraz was awesome by the way. I'm normally not a history buff but I loved following the audio tour and trying to imagine what the lives of the prisoners were like. (It helped that I got to tune out my mom for 2 hours!) I peered into the isolation cells where the prisoners stayed in the dark for 23 hours of their day. I just couldn't imagine being trapped there.

After Alcatraz I drove as fast as I could back to LA. San Francisco was beautiful. I'll give it another try after I get over the trauma of this trip.

1 comment:

steph said...

WTH? i'm so behind...