Day Ten, San Francisco

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I woke up to somebody else’s annoying alarm. They kept snoozing it and then sighing, repeating this action about five times. Before they finally got out of bed and began to pack their suitcase in the loudest way possible. She also flung open the blinds and the sunlight burned us all, I later found out this happened around 6am.

After a rude awakening I was ready to go for a shower. The showers were at one side of the bathroom, it felt like a school bathroom. There were two flimsy shower curtains to protect your modesty. It was very odd and I had even less protection than my prior hostel.

Breakfast was alright, the breakfast voucher is good for one bagel/two slices of toast, oatmeal, one piece of fruit, coffee/tea/juice. The bagel was tasty and pb was available. There was only maple and brown sugar oatmeal left. I thought great I love maple, but it was far too sweet with molten sugar on the bottom of the bowl. I couldn’t finish it.

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It was grey and miserable so I wanted to stay close to the hostel and headed towards Fisherman’s Wharf. I walked around Ghiradelli Square and towards the piers. It was largely tacky souvineer shops. Fisherman’s Wharf or what I saw of it reminded me of a cheap Spanish Seaside Resort. I was disappointed and worried that perhaps San Francisco wasn’t going to be as great as I thought it would be.

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The one oddity was Musee Mechanique which has been there for many years. It had a variety of games and weird relics from a bygone era on the pier. There were ‘dirty’ picture shows. Laughing Sal who made a small child cry and some 80s arcade games. I actually recognised some from caravan leisure centres and felt nostalgic for my youth. I’ll include a few photos below to let you get a feel for the place.

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I headed back to my hostel as they’d advertised a free tour of Chinatown but when I got there you were supposed to meet at another hostel. I swear that information hadn’t been there earlier. As I’d been expecting to go, I looked online for somewhere good to eat and headed off.

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It was a longer walk than I’d anticipated, and much of it up punishing hills. Chinatown felt like another city entirely, San Francisco has the biggest Chinese population outside of China. The place I’d spied on foursquare was basically a hole in the wall and I accidentally walked past it the first time. It was one of the best places for Katsu curry according to foursquare. It was very good, the vegetables had the perfect amount of bite. The curry sauce delicious and the brown sticky rice was cooked really well. It was worth the trek.

I didn’t want to walk really far again so I nipped into a starbucks to use their wifi. I could get a bus less than a block away that would take me to my hostel. I closed the map and just caught the bus. However, my bad luck with public transport had not broken yet. I was travelling further away. I figured if I just sat on it then they would circle back. It did. Luckily, it only took about 20 minutes when it got to the stop I was supposed to board on. The rest of the ride was fine.

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There was a food truck party at Fort Mason, about 5 minutes walk from the hostel so I went there for tea. There was a DJ and a basketball competition. Don’t worry, I didn’t enter and therefore win with my weedy little arms. Each food truck sounded better than the next. I struggled to make my choices and settled on paneer tikka massala with sweet potato fries. The curry was far spicier than I was expecting but the paneer and sweet potato helped to cool the heat. The sweet potato added a crispy sweetness that really worked.

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Then I had a Johnny’s Doughnut, not my Jonny’s as he would have gave me them for free. I had a strawberry coconut as it reminded me of the square cakes with the same look that I used to love. It was heavenly, with just the right amount of sweetness, the dough soft and yielding. I wish I had bought more but I was feeling full by this time. I returned to my hostel to wash my clothes for the first time on my trip.

I had run out of clean tops! I had planned to be a good traveller and wash my clothes every 10 days and so this day had come. I bought enough laundry detergent for two washes, for a nifty $0.75 and washed my clothes. The laundry room smelled so good and fresh and clean. I quite enjoyed waiting next to the machines reading a book in peace away from others.

Even though I’m travelling by myself I don’t have my own space as I’m staying in dorms. Has anyone else experienced this irony?

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