San Francisco is the equivalent of a free comedy show. You never know what the people are going to be like, you don’t know whether you will have fun, and people jump out at you behind bushes they are holding up with their hands – no wait, that’s just in San Francisco.
When my friend and I booked our $200 tickets from Bellingham to Oakland we congratulated ourselves on booking a cheap holiday to a sunny destination filled with ridiculously good-looking people adorning the streets in bathing suits and bikinis. On our last vacation together we had visited Milan, Italy which had costed about 70 pounds for the flight and 40 pounds a night for a hotel. And so in the spirit of budget vacationing we thought we had hit another budget jackpot.
This was until we looked into the prices of hotels. The cheapest hotel we could find (in a neighbourhood where we wouldn’t be killed) would cost $170 a night in the downtown area of San Francisco. The hotel was extremely old and the room was quite a disappointment for the price.
We then arrived in San Francisco in our t-shirts and jeans to discover San Francisco is horrendously cold and windy.
We arrived in our hotel to realize we were on the border line between the tourist area of 5th and market and the seedy area of 6th and mission. Instead of hot, scantily clad men we were accosted by fully clothed, aggressive homeless people every time we left our hotel.
San Francisco is probably the strangest place I have ever been to in my life. It is a huge mix of people: the crazy, the smart, the welcoming, and the people who jump out at you from behind bushes. (I am talking about Bush Man the man who holds up two branches in front of his body, and jumps out and scares people at the world famous Pier of San Francisco. I didn’t know this was a tourist attraction until later and was about to alert the police after he scared a girl and everyone started laughing.)
Aisha’s favourite places in San Francisco
1) Alcatraz: Definitely a must see. For a mere $35 you take a short ferry from the pier to Alcatraz where you receive audio tapes for a self guided tour of the prison. You can stay on the island as long as you want and I loved the freedom of the self guided tour. I was really shocked that a lot of the cells were painted a light pink. It sort of looked like a girls dormitory with urinals and prison cells. This made me think I would have likeed to stay there if I had ever been to prison. Especially if I would get a nick name like Machine Gun Kelly or Al Capone. The best part of Alcatraz was the courtyard where the inmates were allowed to exercise. It has a beautiful view of the ocean and it must have driven the inmates crazy to see the future they were missing out on.
2) Pura Night club: We wanted to go somewhere in San Francisco that we knew we wouldn’t get in Vancouver. We therefore went to Pura nightclub which is the top nightclub for salsa in down town San Francisco. It had three floors and some of the happiest people twirling and dancing to music that I was trying to Shazam all night long. Definitely the best nightclub we went to in San Francisco.
3) The Ferry Building market: The Ferry Building holds a variety of different pop up cuisines. Think meat, cheese, seafood, tea, coffee, and chocolate. My cousin took me to a great oyster bar here called Hog Island Oyster Company where I got to try gumbo for the first time. I never thought lumping together different types of meat in one pot could taste so amazing. This was probably the best meal I have ever had. I would definitely check out this restaurant not only for the food, but also for the beautiful view of the ocean from the patio.
4) Wine tasting in Napa Valley and Sonoma: One of my favourite parts of the trip was wine tasting. We booked a $99 tour with Platypus Wine tours. This included breakfast, 4 wineries with tastings included, a limo bus, olive oil tasting, and a picture stop with the golden gate bridge. This tour was really worth it. There was a really great energy on the bus and the tour operator was super lively and entertaining. I hate wine yet this was one of my best experiences in California.