Saturday, June 20, 2009


I forgot to mention the single woman that came into Zoetrope and sat near me. She had one drink and when the waiter brought her bill over he said, "I have taken care of your check, here is my number if you ever feel like giving me a call." I thought, "What the hell is wrong with me?" Daniel brought me back to reality and said that "she probably was 'somebody' and he recognised her so was trying to make a contact. I "could" have been somebody, sittiing here writing in my journal with a confident air about me. He wasn't to know that I was writing holidays notes, I could just as well have been writing a script! Yeah!!!"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thursday 18 June

Sorry, too tired and a bit drunk to post today's adventures! They were very interesting though.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

17 June

We are up early so we can book into a tour for this afternoon. We have breakfast and then head into town to have a look at the shops. I'm not getting into it, I can't seem to justify spending time shopping when I am on the other side of the world. I thought the shops would inspire me, but no. Fashion here is just as crap as fashion in Melbourne. Chris and I part ways as we are not interested in the same things for obvious reasons. I stroll casually around which is just lovely after charging around with Chris. I look at the buildings, the people and create my life in my surroundings. Soon I have had enough so grab a coffee and something "to go" for lunch and head back to the hostel.

A bus collects us for our tour to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose which is about an hour's drive south. The bus driver is great giving us heaps of information regarding the city and surrounds. The AT & T building which is where they play baseball has a giant coke bottle that Coke had installed for $1million. The San Andreas Fault Line is filled with water that keeps the people quenched with fresh drinking water. The fog acts as a natural air conditioner for the valley. In the movie The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman is driving across the Bay Bridge and he is actually going in the wrong direction for the background!!!!!

We arrive at the house and start our tour with Molly. She is fabulous with just the right amount of corny attitude to her jokes. To describe this house would cause brain injury so you should look it up on the internet. It has staircases going to the ceiling, doors that go nowhere, cupboards that are walls inside and a seance room with secret exits. It is completely fascinating as a house that was constantly being built around the clock for many years and never completed. There is a movie called Red Rose which is based on the house. 4o odd bedrooms, 6 kitchens, 13 bathrooms and 1 shower. The number 13 is an auspicious number and features constantly throughout the house in various ways. The stained glass windows are exquisite Tiffany designs. I listen to every word Molly says and buy the book at the end of the tour.

We hit the road for home and part ways again. Chris goes off to the Castro to see a movie and I go down the street to Cafe Zoetrope. This cafe is in the Sentinel Building which Francis Ford Coppola owns and it houses his production company Zoetrope. I enter through the revolving door and the whole place looks at me. Do they recognise me from We Can Be Heroes? Oh, maybe it was my RACQ ad they saw when they were all in Port Douglas for the last film shoot. I feel confident but alone. That's okay, I have my journal, my book and soon I will have a glass of wine. There are some very loud people nearby and 2 guys in particular are talking at such a volume that I must listen to them. But wait, someone else's conversation is struggling for my attention. All I can hear is film talk and only half of it at that as the din of restaurant talk is blurry.

I stay here for quite a while, listening and looking around occasionally. Some men come in late and sit at the bar asking questions about Francis. How old is he, when does he come here bla bla bla! Well, when he is in town he comes in twice a day and once at night! This gives me good inside information for the next few days. I mention in passing that I will try to come in tomorrow for a coffee. I leave a good tip!!

I am to learn later that Francis was sorry that he missed me as he had an emergency on set that he had to attend to.

16 June

We get up at 8am, have our free breakfast of bagels and fruit then head off to the Golden Gate Bridge. It is cold and foggy. I am wearing shorts but I have my cardy so I feel prepared to shiver through the chill. We catch the bus to the south end and head off on our walk. It's really quite pleasant despite the moist air and constant murmer of the traffic. It's not smelly and windy as the guide books warned us, thankfully. It takes us about 1/2 an hour to reach the other side and when we get there, we have a look around and decide there is nothing to do so head back. Our legs are feeling the effects of walking up the hill of Lombard St and the rest but at the same time it feels good.

We take as many photos that will come up decent in the fog as it hasn't lifted at all. Back to the start we make our first boo boo and get on the wrong bus. Well, it was the right bus going the wrong way! That would have been okay but we don't have time to waste as we are boarding the Alcatraz ferry at 2.30pm and we need to have lunch.

Back on track we go to the Hard Rock Cafe as Chris wants to buy a souvenir. Not somewhere I would choose for lunch it seemed obvious to take this option. A burger and margarita later we waddle to the ferry. We are both looking forward to this attraction very much and the ferry only takes 10mins. Soon after arrival we are watching a video introducing us to the former wardens and some former inmates. It's then time to move on to the cellhouse and pick up our audio equipment for the tour.

The jail itself is what anyone would expect but it's the commentary that makes this one special and the details we are being given make it fascinating. Listening to actual prisoners who were there gives it a more authentic feel, which it absolutely is. We take the obligatory cell photos even though I didn't really want to. The tour comes to an end and we finish up in the souvenir shop where I meet a former child resident of the island. Her father was a warden when she was 7 years old and she has written 3 books about the times and inmates. I buy her 1st book and have her sign it. I am really looking forward to reading it. Time to go so we board the ferry back to the mainland.

I'm not ready to go home so we wander along Fisherman's Wharf and end up at Ghirardelli Square to buy some good quality chocolate. We are so tired now we have to go home and freshen up before dinner. The hostel is in North Beach which is like Little Italy so we pick a restaurant and go in. At the end of the evening I have my first intense moment with the American tipping system. As you know I do NOT tip so this is a very real moment of anguish for me. Oh sure, it's easy to follow what the guide books tell you but it does seem extreme when you get those dollars out. The system shits me and I petulantly leave a tip, less than I should. I will do the right thing next time around so I will not be bringing this subject up again unless something interesting happens. I need to understand the amounts in MY head first before people tell me what to do. \

Off to bed and sleep is interrupted by the music from the clubs down on the street but eventually I nod off. Chris tells me in the morning that I had an argument with someone in my sleep and that I snore!

San Francisco - part 2


We settle in for the long haul of our flight to San Francisco. Chris was lucky enough to book our seats early and we are by ourselves at the back of the plane. Dinner isn't far away and I start watching Wall-E but can't get into it and switch it off. I choose the chicken with sage and onion stuffing and vegies for dinner which is followed naturally with more NZ icecream. Yum!! I treat myself to a few wines to accompany my cheese and crackers.

Time is passing very slowly and my coccyx is getting very sore now so I'm tossing and turning. The seats aren't particularly uncomfortable, it's just that I get pain. When I lower my seat I slip down a bit so my head doesn't reach the head rest properly. The seat is placed a bit further away from the wall than normal so I can't lean against it. But wait! I have a solution. My backpack is just big enough to fill the gap and then I place a blanket and pillow on top. This is good and if I curl up I can almost lie on my side. The comfort doesn't last long and I have to turn over to an inferior position. Chris has taken a valium and I have taken a valerian. Soon we are still both wide awake. Chris actually won't sleep until we arrive in SF, except for a catnap at breakfast. I get up and stand at the back near the stewards station reading my book. I look a picture in my purple striped toe socks and red thongs. Soon I start to get that familiar feeling of being faint and I am concerned. The last thing I want now is to collapse and send everyone into Swine Flu defence mode. Relax, I am a fainter!! I sit down to settle myself.

Hours later after a few naps I sit up in frustration with my woozy head and dry eyes and attempt another movie. It's not really long to go now but long enough to be bored. I choose Frozen River and 30minutes in I realise I have seen it before at MIFF.

Finally we commence our descent into SF and the captain proudly announces we have cut 30minutes off our flying time. A few seconds later he tells us we have to stay up in the sky for another 35minutes in the holding pen as there is congestion on the runways. Well, yes there would be if we are breaking our schedule!!!!! The remainder of the airport business is boring so let's skip to the main event.


We are staying at the Green Tortoise Hostel and as we open our room door and step in we almost fall out the window! After freshening up we go out for a casual walk and get our bearings, kind of. What joy! We are in the heart of strip club territory and Larry Flynt's Hustler Club is right across the street. I consider myself a very lucky girl when I see a shop that specialises in Swedish Erotica. My favourite!!! I consider picking up some casual work while I am here as the choice of strip clubs is endless however there are limited positions vacant for chubby 40 year olds.

We head off to Lombard St which is the crookedest street in the world. Most people are aware that SF is home to some of the most excruciatingly steep hills and Lombard is one of them. It is beautiful and the homes, or as they are known here, condominiums with perfectly manicured gardens are stunning. Streams of tourists walking and driving down the crooked bits remind us that we are tourists too and look like everyone else.

Heading down to Fisherman's Wharf we find ourselves amongst the souvenir shops and lots of restaurants. We are starving and opt for a cheeseburger which is actually pretty good and twice the size I wanted. We explore some more and buy our tickets for Alcatraz tomorrow, then head home for our free dinner at the hostel. There is an hour to wait so Chris has a sleep and I write in my journal. I go to the shop and buy a 6 pack of Rolling Rock which is my favourite beer and make friends with the shop attendant.

Dinner is pesto pasta with zucchini, garlic bread and salad. Not my cup of tea but I need to eat. There is no salad left so I am stuck with garlic and garlic. We discuss the next day and make loose plans. Chris isn't really a planner so I find it difficult. He heads off to bed and I stay and write and drink my beer.

So here we on on Broadway St. I am surrounded by travellers mostly in their early 20's. I go to the computer and see Anthony, a guy I used to work with at Eureka. It's just crazy how these things happen. Of all the places in all the countries in the world, to run into someone you know is dumbfounding!

I head to bed and hope I can make it through the night without getting up for the toilet. I am on the top bunk and the ladder steps are far apart.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Melbourne to Auckland

Monday 15 June 2009


I am thinking that I should not have continued with the wine and my teeth are aching because I flossed them very hard. I wonder if I should just get up and read for a while, perhaps I could just fall asleep on the couch?? Not a good idea. Sleep - here - now. I can hear a few birds chirping so I think that it might be around 6am. I am wrong, it is only 4.30am.


I am up and showered, Sarah arrives, Chris gets up. We flit around the flat doing last minute things that should have been done already. Chris hands me a bit of paper that I need to fill in with details that are not handy!! Shit!! What else haven't you given me?


My 150ml of Olay moisturiser, macleans toothpaste and half a bottle of water are confiscated at customs. I am furious and cursing my way through the gates. Chris understands that I need to have breakfast before I explode.


We take off bang on 12pm and I am impressed. Immediately we have begun our in flight entertainment - I have chosen "Valkyrie" - which takes up the majority of our flight to Auckland. The headsets are always too big for my small head so I am constantly arranging them appropriately. Dudley, our captain spruiks the wonders of his crew continuously and I can't help but suspect that they may be new recruits. From my observations they are of an average age of 38 which makes me think they are more than experienced. It is difficult to focus on the movie which I knew would be an issue but I persevere. I have my toe socks on, I am relaxed, fed with a nice meal and all's right with the world..........until...........a baby cries. Half an hour before our descent this baby is screaming non stop and there is not a whisper from the parent/s. Then another one starts. WHAT!!!! You have got to be joking!!!!

Valkyrie ends and I begin to watch the original Frost/Nixon interviews but Dudley keeps making announcements about the rainy weather and the right hand turn we need to make before going through the intersection to get to runway 5. Personally I would be taking a left hand turn Dudley, it is peak hour!!!! And once again we are reminded of the fabulous team we have on board servicing us today. I abort my cinematic experience and move on to listen to music and start my journal.


Auckland. As we sit in the terminal awaiting our connection, we partake in another beverage and a snack. We are bored, reading, writing, chatting, wondering why no one has sent us any messages. Of course we know why but we miss contact with the outside world. A visit to the toilets proves to be very entertaining. With a sliding door and button to press for locking, you are also treated to a very polite and welcoming female voice telling you how to open/close the door. Upon your departure you will be asked to stand clear as the door is now opening and with your first exiting step you will be asked to "please come again!" I wonder if the male toilets have a male voice? I send Chris in but he goes to the wrong toilet.