Day 33 - 28/07/2002 - San Francisco, Pescadero USA
I had this morning to myself (for the first time in over a month) before I start my Suntrek tour, which would have been good ... if the lights worked! I plugged in an iron to iron a shirt (this is rare for me, but I thought I would start the tour on a positive note) and all of a sudden the lights went out. I thought that I might have blown a fuse for the whole hotel. I searched the dark room for the phone and told reception that the lights had stopped working ... and she said something along the lines of "someone will come and fix your shower in a minute" - obviously she did not understand English very well (I wonder what she thought I said?) Anyhow, someone eventually came and played with the fuse box and fixed the lights ... five minutes later the lights went out again. I called reception, but the guy told me that he has already tried to fix it for other people in other rooms and he has electrically shocked himself pretty badly two times, so he was organising an electrician to come and fix it ... the electrician never came ... at least not before I checked out of the hotel, which was an issue in itself because their computer system was down and lots of people were waiting to check out - I hope that their hopeless iron was not the cause of a major power failure in the hotel.
I arrived at the Central City Hostel for my Suntrek tour. Everybody on the tour seems really nice - including the tour leader, Stefan - having a good tour leader in a small group tour can make a big difference. I sat in the front seat with Stefan and we talked and laughed for most of the trip (a lot of people on the tour think I talk a lot?) ... and for some reason some of the girls said that Stefan and I make a good match ... I am not 100% sure what they meant by that. I thought that that male/female ratio was a bit unbalanced on the Contiki tour (with approx 35 girls and 10 guys), but now I am on a Suntrek tour with 10 girls and 2 guys! It is nice.
First stop with the tour group was Twin Peaks, which was great because I wanted to see this over the last few days but was unable to find the time to do it. It gave us a great view of San Francisco.
We then got some time to stroll around the area where the "hippie" revolution started. There were lots of "op-shops" selling second-hand clothing, but we all agreed that it was heavily over-priced compared to our hometowns.
I then got to see the Golden Gate Bridge from the other side, which which was also a very good view. We got our first group photo - I think it will be easier to get group photos on this tour since there are less of us ... however, as usual, everyone wanted a photo taken with their camera so the poor person that I asked to take one photo had to take about twelve different photos with twelve different camera.
We then got some free time in San Francisco, so I revisited Lombard St, China Town and Fisherman's Wharf with some of the new people from the tour. China town was a surprise to some people who had never seen anything like it - it was basically like Sydney's China town but a lot bigger, busier and full-on. In China Town, I got to try some "Ice-Cream Of The Future" which looks like popcorn and is cold and melts in your mouth like ice-cream ... it was nice, but I am not a full convert ... yet.
We did some driving to our first campsite ... they were full ... another campsite didn't want us (probably got a bit scared when they saw 12 people turn up in a min-bus) ... but this was all quite fortunate, because we ended up in a more beautiful campsite in the middle of a beautiful national park in Pescadero.
We set up the tents, which was much less painless than I had expected ... I was concerned that we would be doing this for hours, but most people had previously been on a similar trek the week before and had the whole camp setup process worked out really well. We ate well, with more pasta and salad than we could eat. The for dessert, we had some chocolate biscuits that I got from China Town ... approx. 75 pieces for only $1.99 and they were surprising good (I could tell since we finished them all).
This tour group is a lot of fun ... I think I prefer the small group tours because you get a chance to be closer to the people on the tour ... more like a "family" (as some of our tour members refer to it). We have people from Austria, Australia, Germany, Norway and the UK and we all seem to get along really well together ... they seem to like the Australian sense of humour and they know how to make lots of jokes too ... we laugh a lot.
MOVIE: Day 33 [MPG 950KB]