Monday, 30 July 2012

First Impressons of San Francisco

Well, we're here, and we're moved in to our apartment.

In no particular order, these are some of our first impressions of San Francisco:


I love the voices here - everything has a robot voice asking you to hold tight or remind you hold on to your bags, and the BART sounds like you're inside a giant Speak-and-Spell. 


I'm pretty sure that everywhere is uphill.  I was born in a mountainous area, but this city beats that into a cocked hat - a paved residential road round the corner from our apartment is over 1:1, I'm sure.


It was odd, as we slogged up the afore-mentioned hills to our apartment, sweat streaming down our sun-heated bodies, to look around over the bay and see the Golden Gate Bridge standing in a thick bank of fog.


Every city has its dispossessed, but either SF has more, or it wears them on its civic sleeve.  Either way, they were a lot more visible than in any UK city I've visited. 


Where are they?  British cities are stuffed with pigeons and sparrows at least, flocks all over most high-pedestrian-traffic streets.  Here, hardly any.  I've seen a few pigeons and crows, and added to my list (Chipping Sparrow and Northern Mockingbird, plus a small finchy thing with a red bib that was singing in the rafters of the BART station), but I've not seen the quantity of birds I see in other cities.


You may know I'm a beer fan, bordering on the snob.  We found a rather nice grocery store, and it stocks beer.  Now, the rest of the shop was quite posh (several kinds of root ginger, heritage tomatoes, that kind of thing), but they can't look after beer - ales, IPAs and bitters kept in the fridge!  That is bad - they even had imported British beers [including St Peter's (one of my local brews)], known for being "warm" by Americans, stored at close to freezing - that's borderline blasphemy!


We switched the TV on in the apartment, and the first programme that came on was Doctor Who, and the first advert break included an advert for Newcastle Brown Ale.  0_o

Anyhoo, I'll keep things updated on an as-and-when kind of way, but that's it for now.



  1. Fun! Are you totally and completely jetlagged? Can't believe it came already!

  2. My bodyclock is completely screwed - passed out at 10pm, awake at 4am, asleep again around 5, slept until 7:30...

    I walked into the Lab this morning, took less than an hour, all downhill. I think I'll bus back, though.

  3. Go out to the ocean and you will see more interesting birds. Western gulls, sometimes brown pelicans and hawks.

    Usually the fog is in the western half of the city right up to the "spine" of hills that runs down the center (twin peaks, etc) and then it will be clear and sunny in the eastern half of town.

  4. Could some of the lack of birds be down to West Nile Virus?

  5. Kiteman do you remember the poster look_listen from the BBC boards? He is still banging away as incoherently as ever here:

    If I knew where Speaker to Animals was hanging out these days I would be inclined to set her on him.