Happy 4th Y'all

Day 2; San Francisco; 4th July

6 hours sleep; progress
Woke up to the news that there had actually been a massive earthquake .... in China.
So maybe I just have super strong earthquake sensors? 
Also woke up to seriously bad sunburn ... oops. Maybe wear suncream today. 

Time for a celebratory 4th July cheesecake for breakfast in bed! 
The lemon meringue went down a treat! 

Lemon Meringue from Cheesecake Factory 
We had booked an Alcatraz trip (about 4 months ago lol) for this morning so set off at 8am and made our way down towards the Embarcadero which is home to all the ferry buildings. 
All aboard the boat we started towards 'the rock', home to Alcatraz. 
Me & Emily had both washed our hair that morning & left it to go curly, nope.
Hagrid hair was back and would stay with me the rest of the trip. 
The wind on the boat ride didn't help either and we just couldn't quite nail a good wind swept picture.

We walked around the buildings and did the audio tour which was so good! Learnt so much about the prison & inmates and crazy ways people tried to escape (& succeed!). There was even an old prisoner  in the book shop that day signing copies of his book. 
Back on the boat and a fabulous photo op with Alcatraz in the background came up so we got a decent picture, not a professional picture on a green screen at all ;) 

Only the legit stuff for us! 

Windswept selfies on the boat to Alcatraz

Pier 39 was our next destination. It was buzzing with people all out to celebrate Independence Day. Pier 39 is basically a tourist trap so I fitted right in. Loads of souvenir shops and plenty of bars & restaurants to choose from for lunch. We stopped at Pier Market restaurant for lunch and OhEmGee it was incredible! 
We wanted somewhere to fulfil our fish lunch dream and it nailed it. Some cheeky cocktails later and we choose some pretty kick-ass meals.
I had the shrimp combo (after realising shrimps were prawns and that I liked them) and Em went for the cod. Food was incredible! 

Shrimp Combo lunch at Pier Market; Pier 39
A few more souv shops later and it was time to visit the famous seals of Pier 39. I had been super excited to see these because seals are cute and I wanted to steal one as the ultimate souv.
Walking round the final bend, heart was pounding to see these animals ...
Were they there?
Of course they bloody weren't!
The bastards
Went off to breed or some other selfish reason
Genuinely heartbroken.
There was one tbf, a baby which was injured and looked dead so not ideal

The last seal :(                          
Full of dismay we left Pier 39 and wondered through the busy streets of Fishermans Wharf and decided to go get in line to ride a cable car up Powell-Hyde because it was on our bucket list. 
Waited in line for 45 minutes, got close to the front.
The bastards stopped the cable cars. 
Dead seals & no cable cars, just send me home already. 

We had wanted to get a ride up to the top of Lombard St so instead we had to walk.
I say walk very loosely, it was more like crawl & drag.
Hyde was basically a vertical road & appeared to be the longest road in the entire world. 
By the sweat of our brows we made it to the top, eventually. 
The view kinda totally made it worth it. Insane views over to Coit Tower & then walk down Lombard St was pretty fun.
We didn't have to meet up with our G Adventures group until 7pm so we had plenty of time to waste walking round the city. 
We headed towards Chinatown & got some great views of the Transamerica Pyramid
View of Coit Tower from Lombard St                           

The Transamerica Pyramid
Back to union square we returned to The Cheesecake Factory for one final piece of cake; cookie dough this time, Oooo.
 Every shop or place we went to they would greet us with 'Happy 4th'.
Was it though? Seals have left Pier 39, one is basically dead & the cable cars have stopped running ... doesn't sound very happy to me!

We strolled back to the hotel to freshen up & laugh at how ridiculous our burns looked and then it was time to meet our group & tour CEOs. 
There were 14 of us altogether (well, not everyone decided to come to the meeting. Matt)
& 2 CEOs; Adrian & Kayla who would be driving us across the states over the next 3 weeks and showing us an awesome time. 
Some brief awkward intros and paper work we headed down to a falafel place for dinner.
Da fuq is falafel please? 
Emily assured me it was nice but she's into all sorts of weird tasting shit. 
Embraced the yolo-spiritt and tried it in a wrap & because I turned down most of the other fillings he gave me about 10 extra falafel .... gee, thanks :/ 
It was interesting. Thats all I can say about falafel.

A few of us continued onto a whiskey bar whilst the rest of the group went back to the hotel to attempt to sleep after their busy travelling days. 
One thing I have learnt about American drinks is that they are big & that they don't actually measure out spirits, just throw however much they please in. 
So when I ordered a whiskey-lemonade I got about 90% whiskey and a dash of lemo. 

It was nice to get to know some of the group and bond over strong drinks. We even found ourselves a fellow Welshman; Joe, whose laugh would soon carry us all on through the trip.

One of the things i've forgotten to mention is Emily's constant (she claims she stopped towards the end of the trip but she didn't) asking of questions she knows I'm not going to know the answer to but asks them anyway. I wish i'd written them all down but one of my favourite examples from this first day was ....

(& FYI fully knowing we would be meeting the group at 7 and then going out for dinner with them)

"Where do you think we are we going for dinner tonight?'
"I don't know Emily, I know as much information as you. I've also never been to San Francisco (like you) so don't know where there is to go and eat. I'll just check my phone, well thats funny, no text from the CEOs telling informing just me where we are going for food"

So many questions every day!!! 

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