It’s Saturday morning, I’m chilling in a pretty cool café in San Francisco’s financial district called Sugar Cafe. After sleeping over 12 hours last night I feel great today and ready to see what San Francisco is all about.
But I really want to wrap up my 11 days in San Diego by writing about my thoughts and experiences. There are not many places in the world I have visited where I have felt such a strong connection to the city and the people I met there. I was telling some friends that it would take me some time to get over San Diego, but that is not how I feel – I just look back in fondness and reflect on my times there.
San Diego is a place where I really felt comfortable and connected – being there required minimal effort and good things just happened. I got so comfortable during the trip that I would totally trust random people and rely on their guidance. Like the taxi we got into a few nights ago in North Park, it was 1am and we only had 1 hour before all the clubs closed downtown. We had an East African driver and he asked us which way we wanted to go, I told him the fastest possible and after a few minutes none of us (including a local) had any idea where we were. I started to question him as he was speeding down the back streets but a quick search on google maps showed we were on the right path (albeit a different one) and ended up arriving in Gaslamp in 10 minutes and less than half the fare expected. That just never happens to me anywhere.
I met some super cool and diverse people in SD – people I’d find it really difficult to connect with at home. I was out drinking one night with Alvin (works at my hostel) and David (hostel room mate from US mid-west). We were at a bar in Gaslamp downing $6 tequila shots with a beer chaser. After a few of those I met a guy called Tommy Price. I had no idea who he was, I just introduced myself to him, his friend and his girlfriend. We were talking for a while about all sorts of stuff and I asked him if he could recommend a more ‘happening’ place in Gaslamp – he and his crew then walked us a few blocks to a place called Henry’s Bar. It was only then that I realised that Tommy was not your average guy. He basically knew the whole bar and I learned that Tommy and his crew are a Rockabilly outfit and were only in town a short time. They invited me to their show the next night and I’m super bummed I missed it. Hopefully I get a chance to check out another show out in the US somewhere.
Earlier that night we stumbled on a local kid called Martiné. He had recently turned 21 and was out on his own. We quickly took him under our wing and got him crazy drunk with us as we went from pub to pub. Martiné was a hardcore Padres fan, and I don’t say that lightly. He had been to all recent games like 6 days straight (they play a lot of baseball back to back in the US). I asked him where I could score an authentic Padres cap before I left town as I was now a loyal fan. That night he gave me his cap and would not let me say no. He was telling me that night that I would never find that cap anywhere and it was only available to members. It was only until a few days later when I realised what a kind gesture that was, as I was wearing the cap around San Diego and was stopped by 3 people who asked if they could take a closer look at the cap and remarked on how cool it was. It is definitely my No.1 prized possession of the trip thus far.
It was awesome to see a familiar face on my solo world tour. After almost 1 month away thus far (how quick that has gone!!!) I guess I’m starting a miss my family and friends. Fortunately for me, my friend Beth arrived back home in San Diego a few days ago from her European golf tour. She almost immediately made a beeline for me and made sure I got a taste of San Diego “Beth Style” and we just hung out and talked. I also met some really nice friends of hers – Katy & Kelly. It makes a huge difference to get a local’s perspective, but for me was just awesome to hang out with someone I know and trust. We spent a full day just talking, eating and drinking and it was exactly what I needed.
I have been really humbled by the generosity of people I have met and know during my tour thus far. My previous boss, Heath Lee told me a while ago that the best present you can give someone is your ‘time’. That totally resonated with me and I have been so fortunate to receive this gift from so many people along the way. On top of that I have also received some unexpected offers of hospitality from friends I intend on visiting in the next few weeks.
When I was out with Beth and Kelly during my last night in San Diego, Kelly asked me what my most memorable/favourite experience was during my stay. I didn’t have to think about that one too long and I quickly told her about my surfing experience at La Jolla. Whilst I am no Kelly Slater and nor were the conditions the greatest, I managed to spend 3 hours out in the surf and had one of the best sessions ever. I was matched with a perfect board for my body size and conditions and was catching wave after wave and not getting tired for one second in the surf overlooking the cliffs near a break called ‘Blacks’. I could write forever thanks to the kindness and generosity of those I have met during my tour so far.
I have a feeling I will be back in San Diego before my tour is done. I was telling Amy (owner/manager Hostel on 3rd) that I might start my South American tour from San Diego. She encouraged me to do so and promised to help me find some travel buddies and a cheap car to buy that I could use to drive from San Diego as far as I could down to Central and South America. By the way, that hostel was an awesome place to stay, really felt like home so if you are visiting SD – stay there!
So San Francisco awaits!!! Its Gay Pride weekend here, the city is super busy and I need to get out there and experience. Thanks to everyone for the positive comments about my blog, I appreciate it.