August 19th 2014 – Day 18, Golden Gate Park & Haight-Ashbury
Felt more energised and like myself today after good night’s sleep. We had breakfast at the hotel, which isn’t included. Then we went to get the hybrid electric bus number 5 to Golden Gate Park at around 11.
On the way to the bus stop I saw a couple of people riding fixies. This really astonished me given how hilly this city is. I feel for their knees. Seems to be another cyclist friendly town.
Annoyingly, there are Starbucks EVERYWHERE in the center of town. But i haven’t seen a single MacDonald’s yet. There are also other cafes everywhere, and they are all unique and lovely. I hope Starbucks doesn’t take over them all, but I suspect that’s their plan. I never drank so much coffee in my life, I will be an addict by the time we get back!
We got off the bus half way down Golden Gate Park, got in the park, walked around for five minutes, and concluded this had to be done on bikes. Jeff consulted the guide book, which pointed us back to pretty much where we got off the bus. There’s a bike hire place a few meters down from the bus stop. So we hired three bikes for the day for $25 each. I was the only one who took a helmet (included in the price) and I’m glad I did, as it was a bit chilly, so I wore my hat under it. It felt like being in London on a chilly day: ear covering hat + helmet. My ears hurt when the wind blows.
And so we went around the park, from end to end, saw the windmills, the sea, bisons(!), golf course. Once again no sign of the sun. Very grey. And chilly, about 17c. I got grit in my eye and we stopped for ages to try and get it out as it was painful. Jeff put water in it but in the end we gave up. It hurt less but it was still there.
With grit still in my eye, we cycled to Haight-Ashbury, as I wanted to experience the hippyness San Fran is famous for. Except Haight Ashbury was the center of counter culture a long time ago. Now it seems like a mixture between Camden Town and Hoxton. Full of hipsters and homeless people. Long beards are big here too. We walked past a guy who said ‘Buy my drugs’, jokingly but also I think he did have drugs to sell, and we burst out laughing.
We had to return the hire bikes by 6, so we took them back, then we walked around the park for a bit taking silly, fun photos of Daniel, around The Conservatory of Flowers. By this point grit had finally left my eye of its own accord and it felt really good.
Then we went back to Haight-Ashbury to explore more. Daniel wanted to go in all the shops. I took photos. One guy shouted ‘You got the shirt, nice one’ at me, as I was wearing Harry Perry‘s shirt I got in Venice (see Day Nine. I said ‘Yeah, it’s a nice shirt and Harry is a cool guy’. He said ‘Yeah, we go to the desert to medidate together, we just got back!’, we kept on walking, and I said ‘Excellent!’. Daniel stopped at yet another shop and I went back to him, to give him some dollars as he was holding a sign saying: ‘Anything no matter how little will help’.
Another guy on a skateboard also randomly said ‘that’s a really nice shirt’ to me. I have been wearing it quite a lot lately, as it’s the only shirt with long sleeves I have, plus I really like it. Possibly my best memento from LA.
We walked around a bit more. Daniel wanted to get a haircut, we found THREE hairdressers in the area, but in the end he decided to do it in London with his regular man.
Here’s our 16km ride/walk today:
The houses in San Francisco are so pretty, walking around town is a joy. It’s like a slightly alternate universe to London, where the Victorian houses were built using wood instead of bricks, and the houses look similar, but are all painted in different colours. What a good looking city!
Today’s photos on flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/plasmatika/sets/72157646884818535
We got the bus number 5 back, stopped at a supermarket near us to get food for breakfast. We weren’t so keen at the breakfast at the hotel, especially as it’s not included and it finishes at 10. So we’re having our own in our room.
We went out for dinner at 20:30, all the way across the road, to a French restaurant. That’s one type of food we hadn’t had yet. Cafe de la presse. Pretty decent. I made a bad joke, then a little later so did Jeff. Daniel then said “Are you two competing to see who can disappoint me the most?”, which was the best joke of the day, really.
It’s 23:00 and I should be exhausted, but I just feel nicely relaxed. We’re not sure what to do tomorrow. Maybe go over the Golden Gate Bridge and cycle around there, maybe something else… Good night! I miss capoeira so much, I wanted to do handstands today.