Here are some things I learned in San Francisco:
1. It's awesome, no matter how many times you go
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2. If you eat nothing but noodles and imitation Pop Tarts for a week, you'll start needing naps at 7pm every night when your body starts to shut down
3. If you put beer and a digital camera in the same bag, expect at least one of them not to survive the journey
4. Saying "Sorry I'm not on Facebook" or "Sorry I've got to go, my house is on fire" is a good way to get rid of members of the opposite sex who won't leave you alone
I think they are all valid life lessons.
Anyway... San Francisco is so great, it's definitely in my top three visited-places-on-the-trip-so-far. Numerous reasons make it brilliant; it's lively, diverse, no problem to explore should you not have a car, intelligent, interesting, vibrant and picturesque. It's also great for shopping - but, given that my travelling fund needed to last a lot longer than retail therapy would permit, I was nearly licking the windows of half of the shops because I was that desperate to let Mastercard have its way.
A friend and I first visited Chinatown (apparently the biggest Chinatown outside of Asia) - this is a bit of a tourist trap but cute and fun all the same. I used to work opposite Chinatown in Manchester, which is pretty similar, except about a twentieth of the size and it frequently scared the shit out of me when I'd walk past the markets on fish delivery day (nobody needs to see dying fish flapping about on their lunch break, or crabs that instantly made me think of the John Hurt scene in Alien... oh my god I've just thought - he's eating noodles in that scene isn't he? Weird coincidence. Now I'm never eating noodles again. By the way don't watch that film if you're squeamish or about to eat noodles. Or about to eat anything EVER AGAIN. Well, do watch it, because it's unbelievably good, but if you do, make sure you watch Aliens as well, purely for Bill Paxton and the bit where he goes GAME OVER MAN! GAME OVER!).
I'm digressing again. Somebody stop me next time I do that.
ANYWAY. In San Francisco the pretty lanterns and bustling markets make it a must-see should you ever visit.
Then we walked up to Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39, from which you can see:
The beautiful sea lions (you can read more about them here)
San Francisco bay
We also rented bikes and went for a mammoth ride around the whole city. We headed from Market Street to Golden Gate Park up through the Presidio then up to the Golden Gate Bridge and down through to back where we started. Oh yeah, IT ENDED UP TAKING EIGHT HOURS. ON A DIET OF NOODLES. This wasn't the wisest move. Later we calculated that the route was just shy of 20 MILES and, if you didn't know this already, SF is SUPER-HILLY, I'm talking muscle-burning-y, soul-crushingly hilly. I've used A LOT of caps lock in this entry to emphasise HOW HILLY IT WAS. The views were totally worth it though.
I saw an apparently-real Banksy on the way though, hurrah!
And the giant pointy building in the city's financial district, which has matching mini pointy trees outside (yes, I'm easily amused by things like this)
Here are some pictures I took on our bike ride. The Golden Gate Bridge is easily one of my favourite sights so far. Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed the city.