January 29th 2020

Today I am in San Francisco, having flown from London Heathrow this morning. Currently I’m eating an Empanada on the back pier of the ferry building, with a view of Bay Bridge.

I landed in San Francisco at 2pm local time. By 4pm local time, I was through customs. Honestly, I’d happily take another 11 hour flight over standing in line for U.S. Border Control again. It was painful. People were rushing for missed flights, and cutting ahead. How decidedly un-British.

Thankfully, I had 8 hours to kill so I wasn’t too worried about the time it took, though it was unpleasant.

I left the airport at 4:30pm, getting on the BART train and arriving at Embarcadero station for just gone 5pm. I quickly googled “San Francisco sunset”, and when I was told “17:30”, I walked west faster than I have ever walked in my life.

I was heading for Pier 39, because I knew that from the end of it I could see the only two things I wanted to see in San Francisco: Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

It’s a solid half hour walk from Pier 1 (the ferry building) to Pier 39 at normal pace, but I managed it in under 20 minutes and caught the tail end of the sunset beyond the Golden Gate Bridge.

Had I have been 10 minutes earlier, I’d’ve seen the whole thing, but I was glad with what I saw. Honestly, the Golden Gate Bridge is literally just a bridge, and from that distance it’s quite underwhelming, but I really wanted to see Alcatraz because my dad has always wanted to go.

A nice surprise, and one I’d forgotten about, were the Sea Lions whose Squawks and playful frolicks provide the backing soundtrack to the ambience of Pier 39.

Having ticked off the whistle-stop-san-Fran bucket list the only other thing I wanted to do was grab a coffee, and something to eat, so I wandered back to the ferry building more casually than I’d walked the other way.

And so here I am. With a coffee and a pastry wondering whether the flickering lights on the bay bridge are real or an illusion my eyes are creating because I’ve been awake for 22 hours and I have a 13 hour flight to catch 4 hours from now.

Until tomorrow, I better head back to the airport.


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