My last flight before my two weeks off work was to San Francisco! It was a flight I’d bid for and also a new destination for myself and I thought some lovely Californian weather would be perfect for December – not too hot, not too cold. I couldn’t have been more wrong…
It was a 9am departure out of Dubai and just a short (note my sarcasm) 16 hours over to San Francisco International Airport landing early afternoon. After a long time passing through immigration (US airports are always the longest for crew to get through) we drove over to the hotel ready to check in. The 12 hour time difference between California and Dubai was very strange on our bodies. I wanted nothing more than to pass out in bed, but knew I would end up nocturnal so after a quick FaceTime with my friend, I headed out to the mall with another economy crew member to do a bit of Christmas shopping!
Back at the hotel, I ordered some room service, I’d been recommended the wings and I laid in bed eating food and watching some American TV. I’d completely forgotten that America has an absolutely ridiculous amount of adverts that seem to interrupt the programme every five minutes, so before I knew it I was fast asleep after a long hard day at work and of shopping.
The next morning I woke up before my alarm at 6am, so I got changed, double checked the weather forecast and caught the hotel shuttle to the airport to catch a train into the city. I wanted to see the famous Golden Gate Bridge before the heavens opened and continued to do so for the entire day. So after a few stops on the train, I took a 45 minute bus ride from Daly City right down to the Golden Gate Bridge. And what a beauty it is.
After about 5 minutes of being at the bridge the rain eventually began and I knew the longer I stayed here, the more soaked I was going to get, so I made my way over to Union Square (one of the tourist attractions in San Fran) to see more of the city and get out of the rain for a little while.
Union Square wasn’t that impressive and was more of a shopping area than anything else. I did a little shopping, a lot of places had good discount in store so I got new jeans in Abercrombie and Fitch and stopped for breakfast at a Starbucks and grabbed a much needed coffee.
The rain was showing no signs of stopping a few hours later so I thought I would make my way over to Fishermans Wharf as a few of my American friends from college had told me to head that way to try some famous Clam Chowder! I took the cable car trains down to the piers which went up and down the steep hills that San Francisco is famous for. I thought this would keep me sheltered for a while, except the cable cars are open each side so as I was sat watching the city go by, I wasn’t even keeping out of the rain… not fun.
Arriving at Fishermans Wharf I was actually a little disappointed with what I saw. To me it was a bit of a run down pier with a few odd restaurants mixed in between many gift shops. Rain was pooling everywhere so it was like wading through a lake rather than walking anywhere. With a bit of wind, the rain was coming at me sideways so despite an umbrella my clothes were soaking wet. I quickly chose a restaurant with a view of the foggy sea and opted for the clam chowder and a portion of mussels washed down with a Bloody Mary.
After a lovely but over priced meal, I’d asked my server the best thing to do next. He said I should head over to Pier 39 and thats where I would able to see all the seals that congregate along the pier. Pier 39 also wasn’t that great and was just filled with souvenir stalls and the odd restaurant in between. I can imagine it to be much nicer on a busy summers day, but today it looked as though many people hadn’t visited in years.
Wandering round in search of the seals, I found a few other daring tourists braving the winds and the rain to see the seals with inside out umbrellas and iPhones at hand taking pictures. After a couple of minutes, I was ready to get out of the rain for good and made my way back to the hotel.
Not a fabulous day in San Francisco and I also found the city underwhelming. Many of my friends had said how San Fran was one of, if not, their favourite city so I had really high expectations of it. Except after visiting, it seems like a very normal coastal town. I’d had a similar experience after my first visit to New York… a little bit let down. I don’t think the weather helped, but lets just say I won’t be asking to do the 16 hour flight back there anytime soon!!
I’m now at home for Christmas as I write this so there won’t be a blog post until the New Year with the exception of my Christmas roster – fingers crossed all my luck wasn’t used in December and is transferred into January too!!