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  • Writer's picturewanderingmiles

The Bay to LA.

Updated: Feb 26

On the journey from Bass Lake to San Francisco I got a message from my parents that my replacement bank card had arrived home. Unfortunately, Henry (my amazing 1 year old Cockapoo) had got to it first and since I have been away he has had a thing for eating my post. He legit CHEWED UP my bank card. I could not make this up. I lose my credit cards in America and then my dog eats them. Incredible stuff. So I then had to inform my bank and get another card sent. When we arrived in San Fran however I had had one card already sent to meet me there thank god, so after 9 days with no access to my own money, I finally didn't have to take Abbie everywhere with me when I wanted to buy something. I think she was very relieved as well. First thing I had to do when I arrived in San Francisco, after collecting my bank card, was arrange a meeting with the British Consulate. I had to order and pay for a temporary passport online via the UK government website and then I had to ring them to book my appointment. Usually you can just book the appointment online but naturally my situation wasn't that easy. Each consulate only deals with certain states/cities and normally they only issue temporary passports in the state you are flying home from. Because I am leaving california on a domestic flight and I actually fly back to the UK from New York they told me they wouldn't issue me a passport unless the airline I am flying with told me I needed one. So this led me to the San Francisco Police Department where I had to get a police report to cover my back even though it wasn't technically stollen and then check if the airline would accept the police report instead of a passport...SO BIZARRE. I then had to re explain to the consulate that I literally have no form of ID and they finally agreed to book me an appointment and so I spent an hour sat in a building that I have only seen in a spy film waiting for them to print my temporary passport. The most heartbreaking part of this whole process is that I had to buy an American Passport photo where the woman just whipped out a digital camera, pulled down a screen, took my photo and then charged me $17 for 2 photographs. Extorionate. I will never complain about the UK passport photo prices again. I now have my lovely temporary yellow passport and I will get this taken off me when I land back in the UK. I am so sad I lost my passport with all my amazing stamps in from the last 2 years so I am kind of naively hoping it has been posted home and it will miraculously be there when I return (it's invalid now but still).

Anyway, once all that was sorted I could relax fully. I spent 8 nights in San Francisco overall, the first 3 were the final nights with my tour group and it was so sad when everyone left. Before everyone left though we did manage to eat our body weight in food and we went to the most amazing mac n cheese place EVER. It was a create your own with unlimited toppings and it was enough food for probably 3 people. I had a standard mac and cheese with added chorizo and truffle oil and it was amazing. Everyone knows you can buy me with cheese related foods. Our final meal as a girl group was at cheesecake factory which was the nicest place ever, it had beaut views of Union Square and was beautiful inside as well. we were in a bit of a rush as me Abbie, Danielle and Laura had to catch a train to the NFL game so I had to get my cheesecake to go and eat it on the train, it was delish but soooo sweet I couldn't finish it. We had an amazing time at the NFL. San Francisco 49ers vs New York Giants. The 49ers lost in the last minute which was rubbish but the atmosphere was exactly as I had imagined! Now I need to get tickets to the basketball in New York for sure.

We were in San Fransisco for Veterans Day (American Remembrance Day) so we went down to Pier 39 to watch the parade and it was a true American display of patriotism. I really enjoyed it but found it very weird that they were there celebrating their veterans and serving military however a large population of the extremely large number of homeless people in San Fransisco are veterans who have been abandoned and left behind and I find that hard to comprehend. The whole homeless situation in San Francisco was mind blowing. I found it worse than what I've experienced in LA and that surprised me. It also made me realize that whilst I know I have lived a pretty sheltered life, nothing was going to prepare me for actually seeing people inject herroin into cuts on their arms the length and width of a finger, or seeing human poo casually in the middle of the street or seeing someone actually melting down their drugs ready to inject right next to a police officer. I didn't feel scared in the city and they generally leave you alone but I did feel uneasy. Mostly I felt sad that the situation is out of control and there is literally nothing, as a tourist, you can do. I experienced almost everything you can do in San Francisco, the painted ladies, the hippy district, Golden Gate Bridge, corn dogs, Fisherman's Wharf, cable cars, and of course Alcatraz which was such a fascinating visit. I am currently reading a book about an Alcatraz inmate and it is very interesting, worth the trip if you ever do visit San Fran. Abbie left me in San Fran which was super sad as it was the end of her few weeks of traveling and she went back home. From San Francisco I took a 9 hour bus back down to LA where I spent two nights in Downtown LA staying at the Freehand which is now the only place I would stay in LA, it was amazing. Rooftop pool, great dorms and in a really good area! I went to Beverley Hills and Rodeo Drive and finally fully experienced the real 90210, didn't bump into Annie, Liam or Naomi though which is a shame. I also did something I have always wanted to do and went to an outdoor rooftop cinema on Sunset Boulevard and watched Shrek with unlimited popcorn and blankets. It was a 21 and over viewing so there was no kids there as well it was great!! I am now on my way to meet my cousins friend Danielle and her family in Orange County where I will be staying for the next few days and for Thanksgiving which is sooo exciting!!

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