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US Trip, Stage 1

Ok, so I’m now posting this from San Francisco, California. I’m on the first leg of my 2 week trip to the US, and I’m visiting my mate and landlord, Tom. He’s out here working for a few months and I’ve taken the opportunity to visit him. Stage 2 will be visiting another friend, Dawn, who’s moved recently to Portland, OR. So I’ve now been here since Wednesday and I’ve had an amazing time. SF is a great city with so much busting out of its seams. The first day I was here I walked down to the marina and along the beach to the Golden Gate bridge. Then Tom took us flying over San Carlos and Half Moon Bay which is south of the city. There are some great photos (and some not so great) from the air on flickr.

We’ve been to Sausalito, and yesterday we went the famous Napa Valley for some wine tasting. Napa was fantastic, and the leaves on the vines are all starting to change colour so it was a great time of year to visit. It’s amazing how different all the wines taste from different parts of the valley, using different grapes (varietals!) of different ages, in different barrels. Got to admit that towards the end of the day I couldn’t taste all that much anymore. So we stopped off at PJ Steakhouse for a Flat Iron Steak that was out of this world, washed down with a glass of wine, of course 😉

The subtle differences between the two cultures are still popping out at me every now and again. I’m beginning to become very conscious of when I say “cheers” when I mean “thank you”. And I’ve got to be careful writing the dates on travellers cheques. I ask for the check, not the bill at the end of a meal, and when I was stopped by a passer-by asking for the time, I replied “Half four” which got me a wry smile and a reply, “so, 4 thirty?”. Which reminds me – we also spent an afternoon surfing in Santa Cruz. This was exhilarating and scary. The waves were immense and I’ve heard people talking about waves producing a powerful undertow, but this was something else. I was pulled down a few times after the wave hit, and there’s nothing you can do but wait for the water to have its fun and decide to let you back up for air. I failed to stand up, although I’ll definitely be surfing again – what a place to go for the first time!

I’m here in SF until Friday now, and then it’s a quick flight to Portland for a few days. Can’t wait!


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