Saturday, September 16, 2006
Whilst I do indeed have immense dedication to blogging, my travelling companion and I misjudged the scale on our map, and have arrived at our motel in the desert wilderness with hours to spare and little to do.
This is great in itself, as it allows me to type this post. But it has left us the unfortunate prospect of a ten hour drive to the Grand Canyon tomorrow, rather than doing a bit more today, and a bit less in the morning. I only hope that there are fences up to prevent me from driving INTO the Canyon, having fallen asleep at the wheel en route... I certainly won't have crashed beforehand - the roads here are so long and straight that I could turn on the Cruise Control and drift away for hours!
I have been here a week now, and am currently in a desert town called Twenty Nine Palms, about 150 miles east of Los Angeles, where we were for the last couple of days. Unfortunately, despite traipsing round the streets of Hollywood all day, I wasn't spotted by a movie mogul, and so it looks like my film career will have to be put on hold for the time being at least.
We began in San Francisco, taking in Alcatraz and the sealions, and gaping like slack-jawed simpletons at the hills all around. I thought that Lowther Road in Prestwich was a hill, but it pales into insignificance compared to the ones in San Francisco. Which is probably high on the list of reasons why SF is a world tourist hotspot, and Prestwich isn't. Although you can come and visit us if you want!
What struck me about San Francisco (aside from the rantings above) was the efficient and cheap public transport system they have. The city is positively teeming with public transport opportunities, as well as other non-car alternatives. They have the Muni train system, the famous trams, light rail, bike lanes, car-pooling, and the very impressive BART system. The BARTs are cheap, frequent, clean and modern. All a far cry from Manchester's Metrolink, which in my opinion is in sore need of improvements to virtually all facets of the customer experience if it is to be as helpful to Manchester as its potential promised.
But more on the Metrolink when I get back.
From San Francisco we journeyed southwards to Monterey (of cheese fame, and a lovely aquarium), and then down Big Sur, stopping in the town of Cambria. We popped in on Hearst Castle, which I think I may model my next property purchse on. And then to LA, with Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, all so far out of my price range that it almost made me weep.
Tomorrow, as I say, we are heading towards the Grand Canyon, then it's off to Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite, and back to SF before coming home in two weeks. If I get the chance, I'll post on another day before I get back.
I hope all is well in Prestwich.
Brandy Ho's -- On Columbus. Very spicy chinese food. Order medium spicy. Trust me. High spicy is inedible.
NanKing -- Both locals and tourists love this place -- and with good reason. Around the corner from Brandy Ho's.
U-Lee -- Hole-in-the-wall family owned joint on Hyde. Barebones place with zero decor. Best potsickers ever.
Ebisu -- Terrific Sushi place out on 9th Avenue.
Pearl City -- Dim Sum in Chinatown. Go early in the day.
Original Joe's -- Classic Hamburger joint on Taylor. Still the early 60's there, but this is no soda shop. More like the kind of place Frank Sinatra would go.
Plouf -- Mussels on Belden Street. Loud, French, opinionated, very good.
Pacific Cafe -- classic SF seafood on Geary. Long wait, but worth it.
Cordon Bleu -- next to the Lumiere theater on California. Limited menu, but delicious peasant Vietnamese food. The Lumiere's also a good place to catch an indie film (currently showing Al Gore's AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH)