If you’re going to San Francisco… don’t always expect it to go smoothly. My trip to San Francisco was perhaps doomed from the start with my airport journey from Toronto was a horridly early one which involved figuring out multiple modes of Torontonian city transport including the “streetcars”. I make it to the airport and on time but was a stressful start to my first travel adventure in the USA.
First up I had to undergo a rather scary US customs procedure while still in the Canadian airport, which I had not expected but probably should have been aware of. I had to fill in a form before passing through to the desk which asked about my travels since I had left home which thoroughly confused me as I had visited both Iceland and Canada before I left my home but the assistants didn’t seem to understand what I was talking about. Really the form was simply asking about my journey that day and not since I left my actual home. I think better wording is perhaps needed for simpletons like me!
I managed to progress to the desk where I received a lot of very awkward an seemingly unrelated questions about university term dates and a few suspicious looks when I said I was simply travelling. Sightseeing did not seem to be a good enough reason to be entering the US but finally after some horrific photos and some finger printing later I was allowed to head on through to board my plane. #
I got a little surprise when it got to flight time though. The plane was the smallest I have ever been on and that includes the one I took to fly to Jersey in the Channel Islands earlier in the year. Though it was a tiny plane the air hostess seemed to feel she had to make up for it with a big personality. All services were completely over the top but it was nice to have someone enthusiastic although it was a little funny why I realised the plane was so small her seat folded down from the back of the cockpit door so she would face us doing take off.
My flight from Toronto Pearson Airport to San Francisco required a transfer at Minneapolis/St John which felt like its own city as I got on the monorail a ten minute journey from Concourse A to Concourse G (that’s a lot of Concourses). It was quite a contrast from the tiny plan to the giant airport. After an hour l was back in the skies and on a nice regular sized plane to San Francisco.
After I landed, I managed to navigate the BART train system using the rather overly complicated automated ticket machines and found my way to my hostel. Though a lovely characteristic of San Francisco did not not escape my notice even in the three minute walk from the train station to the hostel. San Francisco has a major homeless problem.
On arrival into San Francisco I found out that all the public transport workers are on strike for the whole duration of my stay so very few services are running which is most unhelpful. San Francisco was also a lot bigger than I anticipated so it was impossible to explore far on foot. To walk from my hostel near the central train station to the Golden Gate Bridge would take well over two hours so I had to find an alternative options and unfortunately the only option is something I tend to avoid- the San Francisco Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus.
So in the end I sold out and am now officially a tourist not a traveller for my stay in San Francisco. My ticket cost $42 for a 48 hour Hop-On-Hop-Off ticket but I would definitely be making sure I got my moneys worth!