Continuing with my trip. I’m happily reliving the memories as I type them out. If you’re still reading, thank you and cheers *clinks her glass of water with your hot/cold beverage*.
After a couple of days of planning, on day 6 we went for a family outing to San Francisco. Rather than driving, we took the Bart into town. Being a Londoner at heart, everything seems walking distance to me, plus I think you get a better feel of the city when you’re on foot. We went to the one place that is known for its touristy crowds, Pier 39. Being used to Oxford Street, it was simple for me to manoeuvre through large groups of people that were walking in all directions but one. Pier 39 had everything a tourist could ask for. The perfect weather, the ocean, boats, food and souvenir shops.
On day 7 my cousin introduced me to Ulta. The cheaper alternative to Sephora. After pretty much figuring out the only thing I wanted to buy was skincare products, she had our shopping trips listed out. Within a minute of entering the store, I picked up a gift set by Mario Badescu. I looked at the price, did a quick dollar to pound transfer in my mind and placed the giftset into my basket. I almost skipped around the store picking up face mask sachets I know I won’t find in the UK.
Day 8 to 12 were spent with my family in the suburbs. All my cousins are spread out across the world. None in the UK or Europe. So whenever I travel, my flights are never shorter than 4 hours, minimum. When I’d listen to my friends mention their plans with their relatives, I’d secretly wish my cousins lived in the same country as me. Therefore, spending each chilled out day with them was greatly treasured. I would spend the mornings with my two-year-old niece, who was a pleasure to babysit, while her parents were at work. We’d go for walks, play in the garden and watch Thomas The Tank Engine all day.
I was living the typical suburban life of driving everywhere. After a while, I did begin to miss the closeness of places, corner shops, being able to walk to the supermarket and the frequency of public transport. It was at times like this when the term “you can take the person out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the person” applied.
On day 13 we went for a family meal at Naan and Curry on Salvio Street. From the name, it’s easy to guess what cuisine the restaurant specialised in. With a family of 6+ Asians, where else would you find us fine dining? Other than a place that had several shades of sauces, from mild to extremely spicy. After a tasty meal, we picked up a couple of brownies, mine, of course, had to be chocolate, no surprises there. I took a short stroll along the street to burn off the calories and get a better view of the area. I couldn’t help but feel like I had stepped into a Hollywood movie set.
My last full day in America was spent driving in and around San Francisco. We first stopped for some snacks and hot beverages in Berkeley, an attractive city, with a blend of million-dollar mansions, students and hippies.
Getting closer to San Francisco, I could see so much had changed in the last decade, modern skyscrapers now dominated the skyline. The first destination on our “things to do list” was the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). The museum was newly renovated and held over 33,000 works of modern and contemporary art within its 7 gallery floors. We spent $25 to enter the building and browse the collections for 2 hours. By the time we reached the fifth floor and scanned the Pop Art exhibitions I almost felt like I was back in London wandering through The Tate Modern.
With my beige cape, I thought I was dressed right for the weather until we got to Alamo Square. I was not expecting the drastic climate change. As I stepped out of the car, the sea mist and chilly breeze hit me at once. However, all was soon forgotten once we reached the peak of Alamo Square. With my cape tightly wrapped around me, I was on a mission to find the right spot to stop and take pictures of The Painted Ladies. A collection of iconic, Victorian houses, painted in beautiful pastel shades. My mission was successful I managed to take a picture of the row of houses without getting 50 other selfie-takers in the foreground. The houses are frequently featured on social media and are known for their features in movies and television series like the 90s show Full House.
Our next and final stop was Haight Ashbury. Known for its history with the hippy movement, I was taken aback by how much it reminded me of Camden Town. We walked through the street soaking in the unique, colourful and lively vibes. The neighbourhood is a hodgepodge of vintage boutiques, fashionable trainer stores, funky bars and electric restaurants. To this day Haight street continues to live up to its flower power.
There, of course, was so much more to see and do. Before being driven off to the airport I made promises to come back again very, very soon.