Wednesday, 20 November 2013

America part deux

San Francisco is gay with a capital G, A and Y. We arrived on Folsom to be faced by hordes of hairy bears roaming around and hollering at each other, all trussed up in leather chaps. Many chaps in chaps.

These furry buttocks greeted us after navigating the mountainous hills of San Fran and nearly taking out a drug upped crazy on a zebra crossing. Not only are the chaps much chappier, but the crazies of San Fran are fucked up in every way possible. Off their nuts, shouting, twitching, covered in piss and properly deranged. The poor misfortunate lady I almost took out didn't even blink when I screeched to a stop just in front of her toes. Uh uh.

Once you've seen past the insanity and climbed up the steep, huge, hills, SF has bucket loads of vibe for you to climb inside and rub your face in. After we'd handed over our hire car to a slightly dodgy looking car park attendant for our two days, we went for a big ol' snoop around the city. We spent a few hours straight moochin' round the tourist death trap of Fisherman's Wharf. This place is where tat and clams (in chowder) goes to die. You can even buy burger-shaped fridge magnets.

So good you could eat them
Day two started at a bus stop awaiting our carriage to the Golden Gate Bridge. Two dudes at the stop were sitting down rapping and blazing the sort of joint that didn't scream 'it's ten am on a Monday morning'. More like 'I ain't got shit to do other than get the monster munch out'. After passively inhaling their boogaloo, getting to the Golden Gate was even more of a proper, paranoid jaw drop. It's huge and, even in the morning fog which enveloped it we when arrived, it's still mint. We walked across it and ignored the death drive asking whether we wanted to jump off.

Our afternoon saw us roaming around the Golden Gate Bridge before taking on the hippies of Haight Ashbury. This is the part of the US where people first started smoking bongs and the hippy movement kicked off. In the most stoned way possible. There are now loads of organic eateries as well as Amoeba Records, the biggest record shop ever. We picked up a copy of Madonna's Immaculate Collection and a salmon bagel. Ken Kesey and his original acid crew would be delighted at the progress of their movement.

Amoeba Music
After navigating the disorientating tram system, we found Grace Cathedral and saw the Keith Haring AIDs memorial. Then we jumped a tram on one of the steeper hills for another thrill. Oof. The hills are sheer. Our final morning had us up early doors in a queue for the Alcatraz tour. However, due to the government running out of money, all the federal parks had been shut down including (would you believe it), everyone's favourite state jail. Our dreams of recreating the best bits of the Rock were thwarted.


We collected the car headed back out on the road and continued heading on south. We found the Big Sur where all the hippies dreamt of a perfect, blissful world and Jack Kerouac wrote a whole book about the vibe. It is proper hemp bro. We ate a burger at the cliff hugging Nepenthe restaurant and took in the views before bombing it back down the Sur. In the pitch black this route is right scary so to combat the lack of lights and the sheer drop next to us I switched into pensioner mode.  Sweaty, drooling, craning the neck over the wheel and at the kinds of speeds grannies search for their lost false teeth at.

Arriving somewhere in the dark is character building but when they're having a scarecrow festival even more so. Cambria is this kind of place. The crows varied from the nice to the sick, from Mary Poppins dangling from a tree to a dead cyclist, killed by a texter. The clowns in gardens were eerie (and reminiscent of It) while cyclists on bikes which actually moved were bizarre enough to deserve admiration. Hats off to the scarecrow crew. We stayed at a delightful hostel and drank ales at the Cambria Inn, making chums with some local types in the process. They insisted on meeting up the next morning with hangovers and awkward chats and gave us a tour of the small town including Captain Nitwit's Lodge. We left them looking for their chum who had gone AWOL with a girl from our hostel (into her bedroom)...