Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Last Stop … Last Stop before Jumping Continent

Hollywood !! Last stop before jumping the continent and hopping into the small island in the middle of the pacific ocean. Hawaii. Four more days. Richie is bunking me in LA couch surfing style.

I did not know my own body limits … or rather I forgot them from time to time. Mind over body. After cycling San Francisco the whole day I went on a 8 hours bus ride, navigated my way to Richie place, no food , went straight to the gym with him where I proceed to swim 50 laps in the pool (it’s a 25m length pool) then head out wondering the streets of Beverly hills for nearly four hours. All the while surviving on one donut, one bagel and one apple pastry plus a bottle of orange juice.

I was walking a few miles on slippers before I knew it. Once Richie pick me up and when we got back I went for a short 13~14 hours nap. Well it was interesting city to walk. LA is huge and the people look like a Barbie doll town where everyone is dress up even the ugly ones. It was all glitz and glamour that is what peer pressure could even do to adults. Appearance alone in LA could sell and service is the big time seller since everyone is lazy but would go to the gym to keep up appearances. Beautiful as it is I would not like to stay in this society. Touring however was another story.

Old Town LA

The next day exploring LA more today gave me another whole new perspective of it. It seems my judgement was skewed to the upscale side since that was all I saw yesterday. Then again I was exploring Beverly hills. Today was a larger picture exploration since I figure LA is way too huge to do it on foot, this time I did it with bus and subways. The day started with UCLA where Richie drop me off hence I got to see the university. Same as every other university but with style. Students well it was in the morning so those I saw were the good bunch I supposed attending lectures.

Second attempt to locate Hollywood the famous street of the palm and footprint on the sidewalk took me four hours to find. I am appreciating hostel on a whole new level as they make discovering the basic stuff of a place much more easier.

Last Day Reflection

Last day on this continent. Somehow looking back to the beginning of the journey it all seams so long ago. I mean Greece was an adventure just fresh green footsteps not knowing what to expect. Italy really got me accustom to backpacking since it was the same environment and everything kind of just stabilized. every time I hop new country a new excitement begins. But the longer I travel almost it gets more harder to surprise and keep that excitement going. By the time I reached Germany I had a steady routine.

USA was not the experience I expected. In a way company is hard to find and that’s few moments was reliving. I mean the whole of USA and only in Chicago and Vegas and Albuquerque did I made new friends. Chock was in NEW York, Scruffy in Boulder and Richie in LA but the rest was lonely.

USA is rough. Europe was the easy traveller heaven. Well from tomorrow most of my trip is set in stone. No longer the freedom of changing route finding new places to go and of coz the shear knowledge that you are in more control than ever. After 6 months getting back into work routine now seams alien as when I just started my trip.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Just Beautiful ……. San Francisco

I have mixed understanding of San Francisco after walking around the city for a whole day. That was practically all I did. Just walk around. In a way it’s a unique city of its kind very structured like a chess board but on hills. Multiple hills that are super steep mind you. Normally you think they would flatten the hill since it was so shallow but no they left the many stumps of hills and just built the city on a grid of uneven terrain. It makes it very unique with good photo shots opportunity but when you need to climb that hills and seeing the super steep slope .. It can get tiring. After walking for five hours I finally figured out how to circle the hills and choose longer routes to walk less steep gradient hills to save energy

Golden Gate Bridge
I did’nt get a chance to visit Alcatraz as online tickets says its fully booked out so I guess another thing reserved when I ever visit again. For some reason I could not find much things to do in San Frans …. it’s a higher class society sort of feel in the city so I guess popping by a few days aint gonna let me see the inner beauty of it. It is a perfect place for photographer tourist thou

Biking the Golden Gate Bridge

The one thing I would say is a must do is to rent a bike / Go-cart if you are physically unfit and take a ride around San Frans over the Golden Gate Bridge and visit the other shore. Rentals comes with excellent bike route instruction to keep unhealthy tourist like me from flopping down the sidewalk. Thou just before the bridge … there is an inevitable steep slope to climb that has no shortcuts whatsoever … I ended up pushing the bike up that hill.

Lunch break at Sausalito after cycling for three house from the union square which was three blocks from the hostel. The bike route was not bad but with slight but short difficult uphill path. The rest was beautiful and weather was nice cool and sunny. I don’t see myself cycling back thou since all the downhill after the bridge was easy but going back would be tough. Good thing the bike rental company have it all figured out and have ferry services which would take you back. California and beach does look a bit like in a TV box . I cant wait to get to Hollywood. Alcatraz is out of the picture unfortunately as its fully booked. Guess I’ll save it for next time.

On the bike trail from Sausalito I did’nt ot manage to make my way to muir woods national monument as it was too far and I had not enough time. I did however made a tiring bike ride all the way to Tiburon to catch the last ferry at 4.35pm back to san Francisco harbour. I was just 10 minutes away. At many points I was worried I would not make it in time and would had to cycle all the way back plus uphill. I kinda race the last half hour just to catch that boat. The map says 18 miles but it feels like I did almost 22 miles give and take.

Sad to say I did not find the hidden gem in Sans Frans …. Hopefully someone would guide me next time .

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Utilizing the Greyhound Bus Pass

Out of Vegas Finally. Took the bus on the last day validity of the greyhoud pass which was on 1st March 2012 and arrived in San Francisco in the morning 7 am of 2 March 2012. Fully Utilized that pass I guess. Overall there was 10 trips that I made on that greyhound bus.

Washington dc
New Orleans
Las Vegas
San Francisco

It was a bus journey through USA. I did but a single ticket from New York to Washington D.C and that was the first bus journey. Ironically the last one from San Francisco is going to be greyhound too. I was almost stuck in Vegas due to greyhound famous overbooking and mishaps schedule. Lucky enough I manage to board and some poor people was left behind.

Frankly on the last day I could not wait o get away from Vegas. I knew the longer I stayed there the more money I would gamble and loose. That’s why I lost another $200 while waiting for the bus to depart. Vegas gave me a whole new perspective on problem gambling. Well somehow I made it out of Vegas alive. Total Casualties was $1700 in Vegas $700 in New Orleans and up $300 in Buffalo. Hence I loss $ 2100 in the USA gambling.

Best part … since it was the last day to use the greyhound bus I took an overnight bus to San Francisco … so as long as you get the ticket checked before 1159pm … you can abuse the bus pass for one extra day J