The thing that jumps forefront to my mind when I think of the San Francisco part of San Fran is Mr Darcy saying with supremely relatable awkwardness that, ‘the hills in this city can be quite unforgiving’ in an episode of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I didn’t take his advice and so I walked. With only a few days in San Fran, I decided to abandon plans to deep-dive into museums and instead spent the time weaving from the FiDi (Financial District), through the various parts of downtown San Fran, down to Pier 39. Pier 39 in particular had that old-school vaguely Disneyland-ish vintage touch to everything that I found really unique about the US in general, and the sight of so many pudgy sea lions sunbathing blissfully on the pier was really quite something. I think it ended up being my favourite street photography walk in the US - I kept getting the shot all throughout the journey, from construction workers who took a moment to pose for my camera in the distance, to people waiting for the tram, to old people walking around Chinatown.
Speaking of Chinatown, I have to admit the Chinatown and ‘Little Asias’ in America really took me by surprise, because they overwhelmingly feel like they stepped out of my 90s childhood - white signs with red and blue lettering, dusty red lanterns strung across the streets, old greengrocers with peeling or rusting bilingual signage, dollar stores. To be fair, some of these stores are still around in Sydney’s Chinatown and suburbs but being steadily replaced with slick new-age bubble tea bars and quirky eateries, so it was quite fascinating to feel like I had stepped into a timewarp.
I also had the good fortune of generous friends letting me attend my first ever baseball game at Oracle Park, so I could blink confusedly at the scores from live in the audience. Have to admit, I still don’t really get the sport itself, but for me - at the risk of being lambasted by fans - it was the general atmosphere and company that really made the experience.