This article was written 15 years ago in 2005 when I was just 20, so I ask you not to judge the writing too harshly! The text is as it was originally published.
We got two new room mates last night - two girls from south London. We don't know too much about them as we had already gone to bed before they arrived. James slept badly, but I was ok. By the time we got up everyone else had gone, but it was still only 8am (ish).
We decided to do a foot tour today through Chinatown. Lack of take-up had meant there was no guided tour, but we set off and managed a good few miles more on yesterday. That isn't to say my legs weren't killing me after the shock to my muscles yesterday, but it gave us to get a better idea of the city. We dad as the Americans do and took coffee on the payment in little Italy - James became part of some passing tour making conversation with the thirty or so tourists peering through the window of our coffee shop. After we headed up the hill to the Coit Tower which is a white by Lord of the Rings-esque structure at the highest point in the city. Good views was followed by a scenic descent back down the steep face of the rock through some fantastically well groomed gardens and into the North Beach area.
Absolutely craving food by this point we went to Pier 39 and grabbed burgers at a little cafe. By this time we were feeling fairly well-exercised but carried on along the sea front via some old maritime sights - steam boats/ferries/WW2 Submarines and the like, finalised with a visit to the free maritime museum.
After all this we just sat overlooking the bay and sunned ourselves until we'd had enough and headed back to the tram stop. Despite thinking an early get-away would be beneficial by avoiding the queue we had encountered yesterday we were bitterly disappointed to find the queue was twice as long. I was even more bitterly disappointed to be heckled by what happened to be a friendly stall keeper as I walked past "Hey, young lady, young lady... young man!" . Turns out that my bag was open and he was just being nice (we were ignoring him to start with as we thought he was trying to flog something). Anyway, being compared to a girl amused James a lot, but I found rather annoying.
As we waited in the queue today we listened in part to a blues sax player and in part to a group of US girls exchanging in a traditional American "Oh my God!" conversation.
About two hours later we finally got aboard a tram and even this journey was disturbed by filming of something or other and the cameramen got the tram to go back and forth for a few minutes to get the right of of us all waving and pulling faces through the windows.
Once past Union Square we got off, and took a little walk along one of the bigger streets. America is a vibrant country and we were pleased to find some traditional violence kick off right next to us as we walked the street. Aluminium fold away chairs flew, trestle tables were hurled through the air and blows were exchanged in a plume of chess pieces as two old guys who had previously been engaged in a roadside chess game engaged themselves in full scale pavement war. Awesome. It provided much entertainment for the passers by and I never expected to see such a full on confrontation over a game of chess. As we walked back past the scene five minutes later they (and their possies) were clearing up the debris of the fallout.
Back in the hostel now we are going to grab some food in a minute. Think it's going to be a themed 50s diner around the corner. We are both dying for an elusive beer.
This post was first published on Sun Aug 28 2005 originally on justbeyondthebridge.co.uk, my former personal blog