(Extracts from my San Fran diary.)
Greetings from your San Francisco correspondent reporting to you from…bare with me a sec while I check the display…36000ft above a place called Iqaluit which seems to be Northern Canada.
So, nearly a year since my return to British soil I have left again, although for a much shorter trip this time mores the shame.
Due to the Muse invasion of Teignmouth I spent last night at Mum and Dads on the sofa. Not the best sleep I’ve ever had thanks to visits from one or other of the dogs throughout the night so you would have thought I would sleep on the plane, but oh no, I am incapable. I even bought an eye mask in the hopes that cocooning myself would enable slumber but alas no.
I watched two films, The Soloist starring Robert Downey Jr as a journalist who writes about and befriends a homeless schizophrenic musician and easy virtue with Jessica Biel and Colin Firth. What is it about Colin Firth? He’s no Mr Darcy anymore and yet there is something innately sexy about him, or is that just odd?
America from above is spectacular, a mixture of Rocky vistas and manicured fields and so much of it is uninhabited. I always think of Australia as having a great empty centre but to a lesser extent so does the good ol’ US of A. As we made our decent into San Fran we passed over the city and with my first view of golden Gate I also got the first waves of genuine excitement about this trip. It’s just such an iconic landmark, especially for a film buff like me, I’m instantly transported to that bridge-side plunge in Vertigo. And then there was The Rock (Alcatraz not the wrestler) and Bay Bridge and as me turn to make our final decent we pass pools of what must be clay and water but together they make a fantastic patchwork quilt on a the ground, a cacophony of reds and oranges, blues and greens.
The plane comes in over the water and for one disconcerting moment I see no land and we appear to be landing in the water but then there’s the airport and we are down.
The hotel is quirky, it has a somewhat run down appearance but when you take a look it seems to have been done for effect as the fixtures and fittings are new and gleaming. most importantly it’s clean, cheap and central. It is so deco it hurts and has these cool mural scattered all over the place.
I checked in at 6 with plenty of evening and daylight to spare but I couldn’t find the energy to do anything with it so i walked a couple of blocks to a pharmacy (they sell so much random crap at pharmacies in America) and got some Mountain Dew and cereal bars and headed back to bed. I read a bit more of my book watched a bit of BIG (Tom Hanks at his best) and was asleep by 9.30 pm and then awake at 3am with cramp in my calf and then again at 3.30 with cramp again.