Adventure in San Francisco Pt. 1
Thursday, December 13, 2012 @ 10:50 PM

Part 1 | Part 2

Bidding goodbye to my travel buddies, I embarked on my solo adventure to San Francisco, the last destination of my travel before I flew homebound after spending three fruitful months in USA. Across a span of 4 short days, I can safely conclude SF as my favourite city in California. I love the serenity and beauty of the place!

I took an overnight Greyhound bus through to SF from LA. I consider Greyhound a great option to cross cities if you don't drive. The stations are tiny, but they have ample charging docks for you to charge your dying electronics and I cannot be more grateful for that. For longer rides across states, they even have power sockets in the bus!

I reached SF upon the first strobe of daylight. Overnight bus rides did save me some money, but I was so knocked out from the long ride that I immediately concussed upon checking into USA Hostels San Francisco! It is definitely one of the best takeaway from traveling solo - you get to do whatever you want at whatever time you like, and there's no one to stop you!

At the hostel, we had power sockets conveniently located right next to our pillow on the bed. I love waking up to a fully charged phone each morning despite draining it before falling asleep each night. We had a tiny common bathroom shared among 4 which was cleaned daily by the housekeepers, a kitchen which offers free make-your-own pancake breakfast and activity rooms like a cozy little reading room and a pool table. The hostel also offers daily activities you could sign up for, but being an overly enthusiastic traveller and a typical kiasu Singaporean, I already had too much planned for the next few days. Plus, I guess I was more comfortable being alone after too much of 'making friends' for the past 3 months.

Lucky for me, I had purchased a Citypass online beforehand, and I believed that saved me a lot of buckeroos. It provided me with free transport around the city and entry to various attractions in the area, and I didn't even touch the extra amount I borrowed from my sister because worrisome me was worried about running out of money! ^^

A talented busker at Fisherman's Wharf

The famed Pier 39

I was naive and attempted to walk from the hostel to Fisherman's Wharf, but I gave up and took the cable car after a tedious climb up 3 blocks (hills, to be exact). It was the wisest decision ever because I soon realised that the Fisherman's Wharf was the very last destination of the ride, and was only accessible through uncountable up and down hills across the city!

Settled for a late lunch at a random Fish & Chip place at the wharf after watching the snoozing sea lions for a bit at the famed Pier 39. I was amazed at how at ease I was eating alone when I would probably rather kill myself than to be caught dead eating alone in public back home. Also, I conversed a little with the person behind the counter and got a little green with envy how she managed to secure such a fun job for work & travel while I got stuck doing housekeeping. LOL.

I initially wanted collect my Citypass, but the place was already closed for the day when I found my way there. I mentally noted the area for my adventure planned for the following day and backtracked back to the hostel. I bought cup noodles from a nearby convenience store and ate alone in the bustling common dining area watching sitcoms on my laptop. I am so cool like that. ;)

The next morning, I woke up to try my hands at making DIY pancakes for breakfast. It was extremely embarrassing for my pancakes looked nothing like the ones everyone else managed to make. I think my pancakes looked more like scrambled eggs instead. Oh, and they were mostly burnt. That was, if I remember correctly, the last time I ate in the dining area. And I was back to my self-conscious self, sitting in the furthest booth I could find to munch on my 'pancakes'. HAHAHA.

After the sad breakfast, I embarked on my most anticipated adventure in SF. I was going to visit Alcatraz! I almost could not make it there because it sold out weeks in advance, but thankfully, I managed to secure a place when someone backed out last minute! Another perk of traveling alone - it is so much easier to slot yourself into whatever. Imagine my extreme excitement when they called me two days before to inform me that a slot opened up!


Alcatraz Island is a wistful place rich with history. A 10 minute cruise ride from Pier 33, you will find yourself standing on the very island which housed some of the most irredeemable criminals of all time. The 40 minute cell house audio tour was narrated by some of the inmates who served their time on 'The Rock', and it was interestingly engaging. If you were in the area, I would totally recommend the tour. I was so intrigued with the whole history of the place that I bought a book written by a previous inmate to learn more about his life on Alcatraz. There are always two sides to any story, and I digress, but support the Yellow Ribbon Project! The book introduced me to a whole new insight into the life of a criminal, and sometimes, people are really not as bad as they are categorized to be. Some might be irrevocable, but some really do turn over a new leaf and deserve a second chance in life!


I spent about 3 hours exploring the island before I finally left the place in the evening. Run down buildings make an interesting photography subject!

I visited theAquarium of the Bay on Pier 39 after. It was one of the attraction included in the Citypass. I do love aquariums so! I came out of the place with a new found love for starfishes. They were so cute and everywhere in the aquarium!

I ended my awesome day back at Pier 39, watching the sea lions snooze on the floating wooden platforms again. They are really interesting to watch, although they were a tad smelly at times. People would crowd around and watch them snooze and sometimes fight and bully each other till one fall off the platform! From their actions, we then could infer and determine which are the domineering ones, which are the annoying ones and which are the weaker ones. And also, which just doesn't give a damn. LOL.

On the way back to the hostel, I witnessed a mad talented artist doing his thang! Such street artists seem to be really common in the US. He created a beautiful piece of art in minutes! It was really fun to watch. It was annoying how the fellow buskers would unkindly remind you to make a donation when you snap pictures though. I would still have willingly donated a token of appreciation without that mean bark from them, y'know?

I shall end off the post with a cute picture of the sea lions on Pier 39! They share the same length of history on Earth with me! ;)


Part 2 -->