First day in the City by the Bay

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August 12, 2012 by joshonthebay

So I arrived after a sixteen hour journey involving two planes and some very grumpy immigration officials. The flight to Detroit was fine and I slept most of the way but the connection from there to San Francisco was anything but relaxing. The plane was cramped and stuffy and we were forced to watch some atrocious film with Zac Efron as a veteran having an epiphany. The turbulence over the mountains didn’t help matters, nor did the four ‘medical professionals’ who spent the four hours discussing which big drug company they were going to push on patients for a jump up the career ladder.

Anyway I got here and settled into the hostel, its got a good atmosphere and the sheets appear to be clean which is a bonus. After a night of well needed sleep I woke with full intentions of finding permanent housing but of course I ended up sightseeing instead, but how could I not?

I met up with a student from Amsterdam, Timon who had studied in the city before, we both got American phone plans at the Westfield mall then walked to Fisherman’s Wharf. Pier 39 is a standard tourist trap with the usual expensive family restaurants and amusements. I spotted Alcatraz across the Bay (I reckon I could escape that no problem) and got my first view of the Golden Gate Bridge. I also watched the Sea Lions who seem to have an ideal life of lazying about in the sun waiting for fish to swim by, apparently they only took over the area after the 1989 earthquake. We then walked up through North Beach and Chinatown back to our hostels. I’m particulary looking forward to trying the Stinking Rose restaurant who ‘season our garlic with food.’

In the evening I met up with more students, a mixture of international and local who showed us to The Thirsty Bear – a San Francisco based brewing company who boast an impressive list of ales and stouts, this I enjoyed immensely! Conversation covered the Olympics and the cost of tuition around the world. We later moved on to an all-night diner which came complete with cheesy music and chicken ‘tenderloins.’

On another note I spotted a small group of people lining a street in the financial district calling themselves ‘Occupy’, its good to see some semblance of the movement left in the city after the large occupations last year but the news being covered in the press at the moment is that of the Richmond residents who have had their homes damaged by smoke from a fire at the Chevron Oil Refinery. The other political debates this week (other than the presidential race) seem to revolve around Palestine with the San Francisco Chronicle running a front page piece about arguments on the Berkeley campus between pro and anti-zionists. While the Muni bus service has come under fire for running pro-israeli adverts as well.

Anyway, the hunt for housing continues!

Top tip of the day: Stay somewhere with bolt cutters for when your stupid combination-lock decides to change the code en-route.

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