Past Trips – California, A walk in San Francisco [17]

Before leaving Id herd more than once about how great San Francisco was and myself I had any seen that as the main visit of the trip, originally having it down as a three night stay, the longest of the trip.
Already I was feeling happy for the decision not to do that, Mitch already did not much care for San Francisco and while I was trying to keep an open mind, basically I felt the same way.

We’d driven through, parked, visited our hotel and walked up from the center to the golden gate park by this point and topography aside only one bit of road had seemed remotely pleasant or interesting with a Camden alternative vibe about it.

The park which had been very sympathetically covered in the guide books was most underwhelming. Yes it was probably an bit nicer than your average park but only a bit, the lake was more an over sized pond, shallow and green in appearance now a whole lot more than the murky goose turd offering in St Albans.
It was no Regent’s Park that was for sure and modestly concerning that it could earn such substantive billing in the guide books.

Mitch was up here for his daily running about, as he jogged off I sat myself down by the lake to deal with maps, bag and possibly food.
As I sat and rummaged a chap came flustering up to me, asking about whether Id seen a bag. He was a tourist, him and his fellow tourists had parked up only to return to find a back window smashed and a bag withdrawn, the bag he was now looking for. I believe he was hoping that were it’s not so valuable contents discovered then it might be discarded.
I had nor seen any dis guarded bags and apologised that Id been unable to help, offering some most un-useful sympathy for his circumstance.

More generally I was trying to work out what I might fit into the time between now and the approximate meeting time we’d agreed to meet back up, back at the hotel.
Back in New York walking the place made a big difference. After arriving in the dark, rain falling around the taxi to some not entirely flattering first impressions, it had been the walk down through the city to the financial district and back that had started to turn that around in what went on to be one of my favourite trips.

What a holiday spirit deflating experience that must have been, smashed window stolen bag – I headed off on my still largely to be defined walk. All I’d managed to decide is Id head across (North in actuality) from here so as not to repeat the route taken on the outbound leg.

There was the customary grid system in effect, least there was back here in the less Central more residential bit of the city. I fear I can’t claim to know exactly which I traveled down so in going to go with 18th & will check a map later to see if indeed the roads go by a numeric naming system and if so where abouts the 18th one can be found.

I left the park crossed the road and wondered the residential corridor known here as 18th.

Golden Gate Park Map

2 days later, attemp to continue them trip notes … 18th .. Revisiting the map .. actually in this area, go the probably still not entirety accurate memory

San Francisco residential road

Big old residential sprawl back here and a lot more pleasant, it reminded me of Mrs doubtfire scenes, not that that adds a lot to the experience but it was painting a more movie suitable scene.

Old bmw parked San francisco

White Fire hydrant

San Francisco town house

By the not so very long time later, when I reached the end of that particular vertical stretch, there seemed some fair time left and then there was the golden gste bridge. It was up this way somewhere, on the other side of a different park or hill or something, either way it wasn’t here. I wasn’t expecting it to be – I had the map / city plan – the question I had was do I see about trying to find it abit or apply good reason and head to something more like the center.

Thing was heading back presented little of interest and would leave me vacant time, while looking for the bridge seemed like an optimistic shot at fitting comfortably in between now and the meeting up time…. Pragmatism lost out as in retrospect it was always likely to, would have been disappointed with myself if I’d just seeped back without making an effort.
San Francisco trail map
http://www.presidio.gov/explore/trails/Pages/park-trail.aspx

There were park trails over this way with maps and occasional signs.  First there was another hill and a path into a golf course before dropping back down on the far side within a stretch of woodland.

There were a number of routes crossing and heading off in slightly different directions, I still had no particular plan but my reason for heading over had yet to be achieved, roads and trees all that had come into view.
Woodland golden gate trails

There was quite a big old road a little further down, concrete struts holding it aloft, not particularly attractive visual addition to the woodland foreground. In the background, the backish background in a not immedialty close way, objective sort of achieved, depending on how you define thingd… I could see it, or least s top sticking out bit of it.. Golden Gate Bridge through trees

Golden gate bridge distant view
Cameras and their zoom feature

Back here in the wonder pathways where people could wounded, cycle and jog near very streight and uneven residential streets my impression of the place had indeed improved, the residential appeal was understandable, it was quirky, the dirtyness had subsided & the properties were a fair old size, though how many occupancies wasn’t of course certain, whole franciscite families may occupy a sine room, sleeping in jenga inspiring piles, though they didn’t look like they were those kind of areas.

Golden Gate Bridge San francisco fullSan Francisco warehouse building

The route Id been on dissolved, a wrong turn perhaps or just a sudden sign gap into which there were choices, junctions, options or more simply different ways to go. I never reconnected with my original route, though having passed relatively high along the coastal ridge, on a road side, I also got a distant view of Alcatraz Island, visually it was reasonably clear though in an undetailed way, the camera really had to strain at its zoom to bring it in.Alcatraz Islandbiggish building near woods with flag - maybe a hotel

After the photographic bought I picked up the pace but struggled for a time to refind any trail, having resorted to wondering through an odd sort of estate with large colonial style buildings following roads not trails i was unable to find route Id previously been following.  Eventually i did stumble upon a new trail though the exact nature of its direction was not exactly how it might be, a noticeable slice of time had now elapsed and so  getting back over to the hotel had become very much the fixed target i had in mind, what energy remained was applied to retaining as much pace in the wondering as possible.  It was a most straight and gradient wise, generally upward heading trail.

http://www.presidio.gov/explore/trails/Pages/lovers-lane.aspx

Emerging back into residential San Francisco my sense of heading was compromised by not being where i had initially intended to emerge and equally being uncertain where exactly it was that i had emerged.

What i presume was a local, most tall chap, approached me as i gazed at my map, pointing out where i was and on explaining to where i was headed, providing a handy correction to the direction i was likely to have wondered off in.   He also explained that it was quite far and that buses could be found in the proximity to help with getting back, though a change or two would be needed.  With a mind to time and the news of distance i thought upon the buses as i thanked him and headed off with my course correction to help me.

I seemed to be reasonably high upon the crest of one of the cities larger rolling hills, stood upon the north-western side.  The view took in much of the city scape from up here, and there was mini-parklet which provided the requisite space to appreciate this view and despite the intentions to head back, to pause, take it in and capture some small snapshots within the camera.
Hilly Road San Francisco
Skyline San Francisco
Panorama View San Francisco
San Francisco City View

The route was a diagonal one from here, the city planners they didnt hold much with notions of matter none perpendicular, though they had chucked in a couple of cheeky exceptions to this rule, just to through a person of the scent of things. It was a step like journey of zigging and zagging, with half an eye on California Street.. for their according to the map where the cable cars, the ones from the films, as yet unseen but with the opportunity to encounter them on route …
San Francisco Cable CarCable Car On A Hill San Francisco

I was not on time, hadn’t been for some time, my face was almost certainly a little pink with the lack of natural of fitness currently allowed to shroud all efforts and the lack of close proximity that the hotel had opted for. Progress was alright though, it wasn’t that far, not bus requiring far, giving up and getting a lift sort of distance. Eventually a more familiar feel to the surrounds emerged about me, the streets lined with that bit more grimmyness and that unbridled poverty that was the detritus in this forest of high rises.

General election: 2015

There is at key election times, it seems an unhealthy bias among much of the media. The bias isn’t purely one way or the other but it’s present.

The scrutiny applied to the chancer currently inadvertently to be found residing in number 10 is almost entirely absent. It could be perhaps that a man unable to win the last election with every fair wind in his favour is a man for whom expectation are so low as to not warrant undue highlighting.

As a person hoping he will reside their no longer come the election this is rather frustrating. Opposition parties ought not need to resort to negative campaigning in circumstances such as these. A PM who hired and stuck by a man subsequently imprisoned as his top adviser, a man who has overseen collusion with big business, further expenses scandals and who has demonstrated such a profound lack of credibility and judgement that the media seen to be adverse to mentioning it.  The Conservatives are doing nothing wrong because this is what they are and they never apologise for it, so they cant be guilty.  This though may be a bias perspective.

More generally, the problem though lies in the other parties and the profoundly uninspiring offering they too hold up. In all my life I have never witnessed an election where the electorate seems largely to take the view, which one is the least bad option. It’s not inspiring stuff.

Yet as with the banking crisis it is the electorate who did much to create this situation and who will deny all (not even recognise) accountability. It is their right but how is it to improve when recognition of the underlying issues is so scarce.

People don’t want politicians to admit they don’t know – for example.. the media shock at such an answer .. and yet for most people that I know, there are things which they don’t immediately know and other things that even after much thoughtful musing remain unclear.

The public want to have high levels of public service but a tax regime that impacts not on their personal incomes along with debt control. They want resolution of the property market issues but retain an expectation to each and all own property.
In short they desire different outcomes but are resolutely disinclined to change behaviours, disposing of all personal responsibility onto a government that can only truly alter anything progressive meaningful or long lasting, through the collective will (actions and support) of the people.

That said people have also seemed in need of something into which they can invest their belief and at this time we have politicians more inclined to follow the public whim rather that to harness and seek to lead it toward something. It’s not wholly new for sure but the extent, the level, even party members struggle to support their leaders.

The cheap seats are always so enticing, immediate self interest & disowning responsibility – blaming others: immigrants, bankers, politicians, unions … Most of whom medley fulfill the circumstances imposed upon them, as most people find themselves doing.

While we could do with a better public to drive out better politicians it seems more likely that the numbers may through out a better politician, one who is handily much more than purely a reflection of what we deserve.
Veering about with tax cuts that ruined education, health & transport followed by the need for hasty and rushed repairs, with the wastage and debts that gifts us.
You probably can have something links the country the majority want but it takes many parliamentary terms to achieve it, more than a democratically elected leader will likely see out. We can mph wait for an Attlee to materialise once more to lead us, in his time the people fuelled by the injustices of that time laid large before then by unforgiving wars, now starved of local tragedy we have to want it for others and perhaps for ourselves & that seems far harder.

It is incumbent upon us all to pick a destination it is not matter for outsourcing.. And with that the hypocritical cheery is laid upon the cake.

Poltical Leaders Miliband Clegg Cameron Cartoon

– unless of course you believe in personal interest, survival of the fittest – independence not interdependence in which case let’s have one of those too. A real one, the cheap seats have just as much right to representation.

And once more with added bias:

Cameron NHS Cartoon

Tatcher Miner Burial Cartoon

Toad of Toad Hall UKIP Cameron Cartoon

Nick Clegg Puppet Pinocchio

Hunt NHS Fool

Cameron T-Shirt Selection

Miliband Policy Hole Cartoon

UKIP Cameron Snake Cartoon

UKIP Immigrant Distraction Cartoon

Past Trips – California San Francisco Golden Gate Park [16]

hotel bijou Mason St CA

san francisco Hotel Bijou

Drug Dealing Corner San Francisco

Street Life People San Francisco

San Francisco Crew Hangout
Like a room with an aquarium only less gills and a bit less diverting
Room With Old Person Smell Hotel San Francisco
Room With A Sort Of Familiar Scent .. Smells A Bit Like My Scottish Grans Used To .. Not Sure What It is But Memory Smell Link Right There
San Francisco Dome Building
Heading Out

San Francisco tram

San Francisco Bus Cables

Trolley Bus San Francisco

Pub Irish US San Francisco
US IRISH Pub

San Francisco Town Houses

Gradient San Francisco Houses

Route Map San Francisco
Excursion Wonder

San Francisco Road

Golden Gate Park View

Golden Gate Park Entrame
Golden Gate Park Map

Golden Gate Park Ariel View
Pilfered – Didn’t Quite Achieve This Perspective

Golden Gate Park CA San Francisco
Playing Field Golden Gate Park

Homeless Sleeping Golden Gate Park

Gnarly Tree Golden Gate Park San Francisco

Past Trips – California San Francisco Via Santa Cruz [15]

Either the Jeep was proving a lot more fuel efficient than expected or it had one big big old fuel tank. There was still plenty of fuel but it had now depleted to the point that it seemed to worth topping up.

There was a challenge thrown in our way, one we’d noticed days before and though we’d tried to, proven to be unable to get an answer. What was that fuel it was wanting, the sticker on the fuel cap requesting a very particular sort of food.. At home its all remarkably clear… Diesel, Unleaded, Electric… Black, Green, Not a liquid … This was a very specific number that had been strapped to the jeep and that number had at precisely none of the petrol stations on the route so far.

Cant remember who it was, in this mini-play/barley a scene, plot free moment, there was the friendly Californian lady who was filling up next to us and the less probable bemused faces of the petrol stations shop attendants. These were the other people who i wound up speaking to here at one point or another and from those discussions emanated the view that this was a Texan fuel, not available in California but all together quite similar to others which were… so we should just top up with that.

As for payment, well that was bizarre, you pay before you fuel up and there’s no pay at pump what so ever… so you have to guess at what amount of fuel you might need… only … and this seems to not be a purely UK thing, but the price of fuel kind of fluctuates so how, even if you know your vehicle in a way that we didn’t, how do you work out what amount of fuel you need? … we were perplexed time and time again by again when it came to fueling time, over and over again the same vastly impractical practice was the norm.
We took a punt on the amount of money that represented the now missing fuel in our tank and headed back in to pay this. Never answered was the rational for this, no time saving, no advantage seemed evident other than perhaps preventing people from fueling up and driving off without paying but how often does that really happen – a most unnecessarily unhelpful practice it is.

Petrol Station Doughnut Advert Seven ElevenSanta Cruz Coast Side

Santa Cruz Arcade Amusement Park
Not exactly Disney Land .. not been there but if this were the size of it then you’d have to really take your hat off to their marketing department .. that or the people in their fine well padded cartoon character inspired summer suits, being burnt from the inside by the embers of their once aspiring actorial ambitions and their floats were quite the game changer that they in no way appear to be.

It had a shut sort of look about it, the coastal amusement arcade and theme park, their was a roller coaster among other rides but they were very dormant. Once, not so very long ago something had been going on here, there was a concert stage out on the beach which appeared to be in the process of being disassembled.

Santa Cruz Beach Santa Cruz Concert Stage Santa Cruz Beach Concert Stage
Santa Cruz Pier

We headed down the beach to seek out something that was open and came complete with beverages and toilet facilities.
Up toward the pier, having stopped off we turned back. Up here there was a collection of locals who seemed to either homeless or otherwise economically significantly disadvantaged, they decided to pose for photos.

Santa Cruz Beach People

Beach Volley Ball Santa Cruz

We headed back to the car via the amusement arcade to move on, it wasn’t the longest stint ahead of us but we’d exhausted the opportunities to pass the time here.

San Francisco Monterey Route Map

Santa Cruz Pier

Santa Cruz Light House

Pacific Coast Cliff And WavesSand Beaches California Route One

California Route One Beach

Surfer Surfing California

Flock of Birds

Coastal View Pacific Route One

Light House

Route One California Light HousePacific Coast Beach

White Sandy Beach

Jeep Cherokee On Route One

Between the relatively short driving day that today looked like being and Mitch’s disinclination for big city driving, as established with London, (i have no idea which of these it was) the driving was swapped over much to my satisfaction… it makes little sense, the scenery is amazing and you can appreciate far more readily as the passenger, yet i enjoyed the experience all the more when driving.

San Francisco Double Decker Fly Over
Arriving in San Francisco

San Francisco Driving

Past Trips – California – Monterey Bay [14]

By the time of leaving the hotel it was darkish out, we’d not arrived so early and since then it had gotten later.  It seems to be the way of things.

We did however witness a bus, at the crossroads down the road it was spotted, it wasn’t headed our way, it was only crossing this road but it answered one question these bus stops did come with buses and at least some of those buses were on the move on Sunday’s.

We headed off, I don’t like to wait and see and so we headed off.  Not long after we came across a bus station, not a bus stop, a multi-stop big old junction spot.  A person was sat on one of the benches, she gave us her bus time table we stood unfamiliar and gawping about.  This lady seemed to be a person who’s had very little, hopefully not too at home on the bench but seemed rather comfortably present there.  There was to be a bus into Monterey.

Monterey At night

What we found in Monterey was a few things – it was dark – there were people touting  clam chowder down at the pier (where we wound up), I’d heard of clam chouder, I didn’t know what clam chowder was exactly, my desire to find out was not sufficient, existent, to see today becoming the day when such discoveries would be made.

There were noises along the pier, rumbles from beyond the tourist enticing lights of restaurants.  Sea lions it transpired slept here, we found them by following the noises, there in the lower tiers of the wooden pier where the smells dwelt, I lent over to see what I could see & photo it, the odor rose up to greet me..

Sea lions under the pier at nght

Pier Monterey sea lion
Minty fresh

Pier at night Monterey

We headed back into the town center for dinner locating.
Monterey Bay town at nightThe thick and fish byproduct rich airs the wafted up had little on what was to come. I ought to have known better – There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again. Vegan food had lulled me with talk chickpeas and curry, two fine things which was no reason to believe that two great could combine to such unpleasant effect. So on that occasion it fooled me into ordering quite the most unpleasant thing, now it was about to successfully pull it of for a second time.
I had my doubts, I had my memory but id said yes to the idea before the word vegan had come up – cheese cake dessert after dinner, only made with cashew nuts.. Too late the words no cheese vegan came up too late, nkw there was only hope… Hope for no repeats.

It was not to be, it was like a bit of damp chalk, doused in fruits of the forest tea, offering the promise of a scent anything but met in the taste. It was not really edible, least not as a dessert a part of the meal designed not to fill but as a tasty treat – not so much.Monterey Bay town at night

I struggle to believe it’s impossible to make a palatable dish due it’s being virtuously bereft of any animal sourced produce. So it can only be that either; these were two bouts of misfortune or that vegan types hate food and are busy weening themselves off it through aversion therapy.. The second of these for sure.

Monterey Bar / Pub
Not much going on – Nightlife in Monterey Bay .. A Monday Night Mind

There were places to go, they were just not very good, or perhaps it was Monday and Monday wasn’t a night to be out and about in Monterey in places that at any other time would be improbably kicking and interesting. With little in the way of places that were interesting to go, there was one high volume metal loudness bar, perhaps interesting but not sufficiently enticing. We headed back to locate the heading back bus stop and find out about its heading back times.
With Monterey having been pleasant enough but fairly swiftly exhausted in the dark, the day been truly well spent heading gradually up the coast.

Monterey Bay
Sitting – Bus Waiting

On the busses California

Remada Marina Hotel Monterey

Past Trips – California – Route one to Monterey Bay [13]

Route one Pacific Coast viewPacific Ocean blue Coast route one California big sur Pacific coastBig sur California bridgeRoute one bridge California big surSomething in the water maybeOn the map this was probably a shorter stretch but somewhere between all the corners, stopping off, looking around and even more moderated speeds it had a way of lasting. When the brown cliffs no longer ran along the passengers side and more normal road style service resumed it was somewhat of a disappointment. We were not yet at Monterey and wouldn’t be for some time. We’d learnt something more about the jeep by this time, it’s sat nav was more obstinate than it was solid in its judgement, with a propensity for some unusual route selection. The main road, the one we were on seemed to run very close to our destination hotel and still all of a sudden we were being instructed to leave this free flowing bit of highway to take an alternative course. Obeying we were soon back on a curly narrow, hill climbing road / track, it was a road just not a very big one. I had little to no objection to this, it looked more interesting, but Mitch was not a believer. We pulled over and zoomed the map out, who knows what it was up too, a big gnarly loop over the top of some hills that would drop us back down where that larger straighter road, the one we’d recently exited, was soon to be getting too. U-turn. The sat nav did not take disobedience in its stride and continued to demand adherence to its hill plan to appoint beyond the reach of reason and even when it did get over that it was enticed by every exit regardless of its proximity to our destination. We were staying at a Ramada hotel not in central, down town, Monterey.  Eventually pulling in there as evening set about falling, either that or it had gotten more overcast again, either way by recollection it was neither so bright or warm out and came at the end of a reasonably long, if paced out, driving day. Ramada Marina Monterey – with Lillywood’s co-artist on the reception as we arrived, got a key and headed up to the room.

A lack of ingredients around the coffee / warm beverage making equipment saw Mitch head back down for a further encounter.

I prefer to avoid dealing with such things while away most disruptive to the calm & having been made a little bit of a shield or guard lama by my bosses over the years I prefer to steer away from such things on holiday, who wouldn’t.  That doesn’t always work out for me, this was such a time as Mitch returned flush with no creamer and an air that suggested he’d now had enough of dealing with the reception chap.

My turn, mostly it’s become easy now not an admirable trait but as I headed down on the lift the mindset fell over me, the doors opened and my eyes fixed on the unnamed reception desk.  Eventually after some ringing for service he re-materialised.  With politeness veneered over the prepared mindset beneath I set to requesting those items which were not in room based abundance / absent.  So odd, now most helpfully and with reasonable good cheer he walked me into the breakfast hall and proceeded to produce handfuls of stuff … Relief, demilitarise the mental mode, thanked him happily and got to take my holiday brain back upstairs along with valuable hot beverage powders.

Like a pet I’ve had one of my deepest character traits contorted to serve a purpose.  As a child I got into fights, quite a bit, a young child pre-teens, mostly not for me, usually if someone was picking on a friend or being racially untoward – like some zealous sheep dog warding of planes that fly overhead.. Well you never quite know with planes.
According to Harry in an overly sweeping and improbable comment some years ago, which was not targeted at myself, we are forever who we were in the playground. I don’t really believe it, though for much of it, i cant deny it rings a fair amount of true. Today, work has taken that trait and given it another forum for it to contort into, in younger days it was a trait that on balance i looked on with reasonable regard for those days. Yet now and specifically here, with its revised form, Id really rather not.
This was a most welcome outcome.

ramada marina Monterey
Do you have a flag?