Agh San Francisco. Home to all walks of life. From what I’ve experienced so far, it really is the city where literally anything goes. It’s home to such a diverse amount of people ranging from hippies to techies & fashionistas to financial gurus.
With its liberal mindset, it is also home to thousands of people from the LGBTQI community.
We are living only a few blocks away from Castro Street which is the epicentre of their community. With rainbow flags proudly flying everywhere, it’s the most colourful street I’ve ever seen.
In fact, it’s famous for having their zebra crossing in the rainbow colours as seen here.
The escalators into & out of Harvey Milk Plaza (the local subway station called the ‘Muni‘) are lit up with lights also in the colours of the rainbow.
Having attended Pride a few weeks ago, there’s not much that shocks me now and let’s just say, you see some very ‘open-minded’ people around these parts. And rightfully so #LoveisLove.
San Francisco Nicknames
San Francisco is know to locals as ‘The City‘. Call it anything other than that – for example ‘San Fran‘ or ‘Frisco‘ – and well, you’d better get ready for some seriously dirty looks & cold shoulders! Referring to it as anything other than San Francisco or ‘The City‘ is seriously frown on by San Franciscans.
We’re into week 3 and we’re absolutely loving our time here. For those of you who are regular readers of mine (I’m actually laughing here cause this is the first blog post I’ve written on my own site in feckin ages – so ‘regular’, I’ve been anything but!!!!) but you might recall we did something similar last year (check out ‘Ireland Vs America‘) but this year, we’re not moving around. Bar 1 week in Portland, we’re staying in the same house for the entire trip.
So with that in mind, I wanted to do a post on what’s happened so far broken down into the Good, the Bad & the Ugly.
San Francisco – The Good
Agh stop it will ya, there’s so much that’s good about San Francisco I’m not even sure where to start!
The amount of things to do with the kids here is savage. (It’s also savagely expensive – see ‘The Bad’ below!) Cost aside, here my list of the good stuff (starting off with an unexpected one) & what we’ve done so far….
- Libraries – they are amazing over here. And not just for reading. During July & August, they have over 1,000 different activities taking place across the whole city in numerous libraries, all of which are 100% free! We’ve been to Lego camps, a ‘Mrs Bubbles‘ show, how to make slime (which I feckin hate but that’s a different conversation) & Rock the Bike smoothie where you peddle the bike to power the smoothie blender. Exercise & goodness in one go – genius.
- Park Activities 1 – so many playgrounds to pick & choose from.
- Park Activities 2 – free open air cinemas every Friday in various location across the city. Last Friday, it was Star Wars where real life Darth Vader, Princess Leah, Stormtroopers etc were also there. (Note – I didn’t get to watch it as Nip 2 was wrecked and needed bed so we had to leg it – sickened!)
- The Golden Gate Bridge & The Bay Bridge – man they are something else, they really are. When you’re standing there looking at them only then can you seriously grasp the enormity of them. Absolutely breath-taking.
- Museums – they are just class here. Like everything in the States, they are big. The Children’s Creativity Museum & the Randall Museum being our favourites so far but there’s so many more to get to yet like the Californian Academy of Science & San Francisco Museum of Modern Art just to name a few.
- Food – I’m a foodie so I’ll try pretty much anything going but there’s such a wide variety it’ll take me a long time to taste them all.
- Events – there’s always something happening somewhere in The City all the time. Issue is trying to decide on which one to go too.
- Downtown – We’ve only been twice so far (as it’s so busy) but have had a blast. If you’ve been watching my Insta Stories you’ll have seen what we’ve been up to. Yerba Buena Gardens is such a beautiful little park slap bang in the city which we were at last week having stumbled upon it completely by accident. Turns out we were there last year too but I only realised when we walked through a shopping centre (‘mall‘ as they say here!) and immediately it all came back to me.
- Chabot Space & Science Centre – we went last year but it was so amazing we’ll defo be going back very soon
- San Francisco Zoo – we went yesterday for Nip 2’s 4th Birthday. It’s a lovely zoo with all you’d expect from an International Zoo. If I’m brutally honest though, Oakland Zoo (across the bay area) is way superior and we’ll be heading there soon.
- Turn Right on A Red Light – this is a great concept. Not every right turn mind you but it really helps to keep the traffic moving.
San Francisco – The Bad
- Cost of Living – it’s fuckin nuts. There’s no other way to describe it. Sorry. It’s the truth. A loaf of bread will set you back anything from $3 to $6 – for a loaf of feckin bread. I shit you not.
- Organic vs Non-Organic food – Non organic food in the States pretty much means it’s been mass produced in some factory somewhere. You can also bet your ass it’s been sprayed/injected with God knows what to product it. Oh yeah, it’s probably tastes of nothing too. Organic on the other hand means you’ll pay way extra to ensure you get proper food (take chicken breasts for ex.) that have no steroids/antibiotics/hormones in it – it actually says this on the packaging!
- Parking – oh my fucking Jesus H Christ, it’s such a pain in the ass. So many places you can’t park. So many different coloured curbs you need to educate yourself on. Basically I’ve learned if the curb is coloured, just don’t park there cause you’re gonna get into trouble. Then there’s street cleaning on every 2nd & 4th day of the month when you’re not allowed to park for 2 hours. Fire Hydrants can’t be blocked – I found this out the hard way last year in Portland. I simply didn’t see it. But I saw the $120 fine immediately when I returned – ouch!!!!!
- EarthQuakes – there’s been 2 in California since we’ve arrived. Not here in San Francisco (thank Christ!). They were closer to LA which is 380 miles south of here. But they can and have indeed happened here too. I just hope we won’t be here to experience one.
- Fishermans Wharf – area where everything is overpriced and over crowed. Been there, didn’t like it, box ticked.
- Guns – see ‘The Ugly’ below.
San Francisco – The Ugly
- Homeless – My Good God the amount of people that are homeless here is horrendous. Look, everywhere has homeless people but there just seems to be so many here. To my eye, it’s of epic proportions. Further to this, they all seem to be off their faces on whatever drug is available here. 99% of them appear to be on another planet and it’s the same in Portland too. It’s really like they have been invaded by something. It’s bizarre. They all talk to themselves, just out loud. Roaring shouting in some cases. Strangely enough, they don’t really bother you when you walk by unlike in Dublin where they’ll ask everybody for money all the time (to also get out of their head in another way).
- Shootings – so this below happened last week in a shopping centre. The scary part was myself & the nips only left the exact shopping centre 15 mins before a shooter took out a gun and started shooting. 2 people were shot. This scared the living shit out of me. 15 mins and we would have been caught up in this bullshit. Delayed shock hit me when The Stented Missus send me a message saying ‘Are you still in San Bruno?‘. I said, ‘No, but we’re not far, do you want me to pick something up for you?‘. Then she sent me over the link confirming the shooting. Way too close to reality for me. Wine was drank that evening for sure.
This is myself & The Stented Missus conversation on Whats App. Scary.
The show must go on!!!!
Ok so there ya have it. How I see living in the States for 2 months (so far).
Let me be clear, we love it here and we’re having a great time. But like anywhere, there’s always something that you’re not gonna like. Mine are above but they are way less VS the Good things we have already done and are yet to do.
I’m going to put together a short movie too which I have yet to start but I’m thinking of 4 short movies which will cover the entire trip. So that’s be a new video every two weeks after I post the first one.
So it’s so far so good – bar the shooting & earthquakes!!! – and San Francisco is 100% living up to our expectations. To keep up to date as it happens, make sure you follow me on Instagram &/or Facebook and check out my stories. Chat soon!
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