Last weekend I decided to mix things up a bit and swapped Southern California for Northern California. I visited the beautiful city of San Francisco, stayed in a hostel, met other travelers and generally had an awesome time. One of my friends from law school in NZ is studying in Victoria, Canada, and so we met up for a catch up and tourist weekend. We saw Alcatraz, Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, and enjoyed some delicious dumplings in Chinatown. I participated in a Beer Olympics (and in the process learned to play flip cup) and attended my first American football game. Although my school work doesn’t thank me for it, it was fun staying in a hostel again, drinking cheap beer, sleeping in a bunk bed and getting very little sleep.
Alcatraz was a really interesting experience. It is one of those things you have to see when you visit San Francisco, and we were very lucky we booked ferry tickets in advance because they were fully booked!! It is pretty weird walking around a prison, but the audio tour was really informative and I feel like I learned something that day. The highlight of the weekend though was the football game. It basically took up the entire Sunday, so it had to be the highlight. The San Francisco 49ers played the New York Giants. We took a special bus out to the stadium, met other local fans on the way, and upon arriving we were lost in a sea of red (the main 49ers color). The stadium was HUGE, fitting over 60,000 people, and had security to match. The security guards had metal detector wands at the entrance, they searched your bag in-depth, and once you passed you had a long way to walk to find your seat. While watching the game, Rob commented how you never see any streakers at football games, like you get in New Zealand at rugby games. Then we saw the cops on the field with guns…that explained it.
Like I said, the stadium was pretty big, and even though we were pretty much all the way up the very very top, we still had a good view because of how vertical the seats are.
I also gave in and bought a 49ers tshirt, to really fit in. We had been at the NFL store earlier that day, but I didn’t want to spend $40 on a red singlet that I would never wear again. But when I was at the game, so many people had jerseys on and I just really wanted a tshirt. I didn’t like any of the women’s tops, so I ended up with a children’s top (I didn’t realize it was a kids top at the time of picking it out). It was $20 cheaper so I didn’t complain. And it was only a large – the extra-large children’s top was too big on me. Only in America does a 23-year-old fit a kid’s t-shirt…
So here is me before the purchase, trying to fit in with the correct team colors (and with the huge stadium in the background):
I won’t discuss the game, because we lost, pretty badly, but it was still such an experience and so much fun to be at an actual football game and see it all live. You really understand it more being able to see everything happening on the field, rather than the close ups you get on ESPN. You also don’t see the cheerleaders on ESPN, so it was kinda cool seeing them live. Although I think the boys were a bit more into the cheerleaders than I was. It was also such an incredibly hot day, I wore jeans (and I never wear jeans) and I was DYING. You get given free towels when you walk in to wave around, and a lot of people were using them in more practical ways, like wiping the sweat off their face or covering their face from the strong sun beaming down on us.
Sunday really was an epic day, because not only did we go to the football, but we also walked the Golden Gate Bridge!! Last time I was in San Francisco, I visited with my Mom and we did Napa Valley, saw Berkeley, the Mission, Castro, Union Square, the Ferry Building Market and Fisherman’s Wharf. On our way back from Napa, we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, but that was the extent of our exposure. Wining and dining (and visiting the amazing bakery Tartine!) was much higher on our list of things to do. This time, however, the Golden Gate Bridge was up there. We got to the bridge after the game, around dusk, and had the most beautiful sunset views.