Day 12

Tuesday 24th May 2011

San Francisco

A good nights sleep for both of us; this blog is becoming a bit of a tale of our sleeping habits!
Tina had a good nights sleep and didn’t wake up until just before 9am, allowing me time to watch a couple of episodes of Wired which I’d copied onto my iPad for just such occasion. Up to now I hadn’t needed to watch as she’s been getting up fairly early. Anyhow, after showering (again, divulging our morning routines), we went next door to have breakfast.

We then walked the short distance to retrieve our car from the car park. I was a bit concerned as to how much the overnight stay was going to cost as I’d misread the charges and it actually cost between $2 and $2.50 per hour to park the car there. The total charge for the night was $22. I really must find a free parking spot on the roads tonight.

We set off for the day heading back down to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 but beforehand we decided to drive down the crooked or wobbly road, Lombard Street. Luckily there was no queue but there were lots of people blocking the road. Eventually they cleared and we did a leisurely drive down to the bottom. I wonder how many peoples photos we were in by the time we got to the bottom as it’s quite a tourist spot.

We then found a free parking space close to the wharf and walked down to take another look around. It was at Pier 39 that we bought some prezzies and had a coffee before Tina spotted the famous sea-lions next to the pier. A couple more presents bought, we the found the Hot Spud place again and had lunch before walking back to the car. As we were limited to only two hours parking we didn’t bother with riding the famous cable car, although it would have been an ideal time as the queues were really short for a change.

We then decided to drive to Chinatown to take a look around, but the place was very busy, with lots of roadworks and few places to park. It was here that I made my first major mistake driving when I drove through a stop sign and upset a lorry driver who’s turn it was to pull out. I must say most people obey the courteous system of first come-first served at the junctions; it seems to work well and everyone seems quite content to wait their turn.

It just doesn’t help when tourists ignore the rules!

We left the area and drove to the other side of San Francisco to the Golden Gate Park, which we’d been through on the tour bus. Today we decided to walk around instead. After finding a free parking space, we walked through a rhodendrun garden before finding the main area.

We strolled around this area before walking to the large glass conservatory that was donated to the park. I bet Nick, our next door neighbour would love to get a contract to build on as big as the one in the park, but I think he’d struggle building it on his own!

We agreed then to drive back to the hotel not before some serious bad driving by me. On trying to locate the correct road to get back, I inadvertently drove down the wrong direction of a way street, to the dismay of a drive coming the right way. I quickly pulled over only to see loads of cars behind him. I managed to turn around. We decided that the American roads are very poorly sign written and we are surprised there are not more accidents.
The above blog was typed whilst we were back at the hotel, getting ready to go out for another drive.

THE NEXT SECTION I AM SHOUTING AS I AM BLOODY FUMING (although I will type it in lowercase for ease of reading).

Whilst Tina was in the bathroom, I glanced out of our bedroom window to see a traffic warden placing a ticket on the windscreen of our hire car. As previously stated, parking restrictions are crazy here. As parking is at such a premium, most of the properties have garages and in order to prevent people parking outside them, residents can apply for paint to be applied on each side of the dropped kerb indicating you cannot encroach the gap. I parked in a space which I thought gave the owner plenty of room to get their car in and out of their garage. Obviously the owner did not think so and reported us!

The ticket citation stated ‘In violation of driveway’ Fine amount includes state surcharges – COMPLAINT and this misdemeanour will cost me At least $90.

We drove off and I was in angry mode…

“what a crap city, the sooner we leave tomorrow the better” I said!

We drove along the west coast of the city, observing the Golden Gate Bridge from the not-so-often-viewed side and then downtown back to the Bay area. We walked along for a short while before stopping at the Hard Rock Cafe at Pier 39 for dinner. We ordered Nachos and main courses but when the nachos arrived the plate was huge. We tucked in but almost immediately the main courses arrived. I think they wanted to get us done and out before the rush happened later in the evening. Anyhow we ate what we could and left.

We drove back to the hotel on the hunt for an illusive parking space. And we drove around and around. And around again. But we couldn’t find any so we ended up parking in the municipal garage again. Bye bye to another $22.

Back to the hotel to chill out for the remainder of the evening, me hammering away of the keyboard typing out this angry blog and Tina reading a book she downloaded on my kindle.

We know how to have a good time!

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