Fourteen whole days and then some since I've been home. It's a great feeling being able to get big hugs from Tim everyday; I'm a giant hug-fan, no kidding when I say they're therapeutic, and they're that little bit more WOW when you know you're hugged because you're loved. Yeah, say it with me.. AWWwwwwwwwww..

The trip on my lonesome to the USA was a sweet for so many reasons. On my little adventure, I did a whole lot of silly, crazy and wonderfully mundane things, learnt that the USA is nothing like the stuff on telly except that a lot of the people are just as make-believe and just as fat, experienced some of the grandeur that is the Grand Canyon and learnt that there's nothing I can't do for myself, and that it feels pretty damn special to know that I'm loved without expectation. Thanks Tim!

After partaking of twenty something hours of airliney goodness, with a bloody long stopover in Hong Kong, my brief visit with the American began in San Francisco. It's strange what sleep depravation can do.. I hopped off the plane, found myself at the hotel, and wandered about downtown San Francisco in search of a money exchange place and a decent camera. I can't believe how much the cameras cost in Hong Kong Airport - exhorbitant prices! And they were meant to be duty free too. Armed with a map, just enough adrenaline for about six hours of walking, and a pair of legs, I discovered the the main streets of downtown San Francisco, and of course the electronic shops of Chinatown.

I had my heart set on a pink CANON IXUS80, I think it's a 8MP model... but after I think my eighth shop and finally being offered a decent price, I bought the upsell - a Nikon Coolpix S550:

I'm not entirely sure why I decided on this tanned lavender outfit other than it was only $30 more and that it was 10MP instead of 8MP.. I was tired, toasted, and the guys that sold the cute, bright, shiny thing to me were pleasant and I made them give me a 1GB memory card in place of the 256MB one that came with it. I thought I got a great deal, and I made sure I didn't go getting price comparisons after I'd bought it.

In my sleep-deprived and adrenaline and airline food fueled state, I went shopping.. as I do.. but this time I had a mission! To buy a dress to wear to Brian and Julia's wedding, oh and shoes too. I'm not sure if I found anything, but my next memory was meeting my Aunt at the hotel and being told that the car was waiting. A super quick shower and outfit change later, I was face-to-face with my Aunt, my Uncle, and my cousins Brian and James, all of whom I haven't seen since my age was something single-digit, and a bright shiny Bentley. Pretty car, but of course I know nothing about cars, so all I can say is.. it was very pretty.

San Francisco has a lot of really great food, and for me it all began with "family dinner" that first night, at a Chinese Restaurant where way too much really good food was plated up and on display. I have to admit I miss the huge selection of great seafood that was ridiculously cheap by Perth standards.

There were a few highlights to my time in good 'ol San Francisco:
+ meeting my rellies again!
+ Brian and Julia's beautiful wedding in Shakespeare's Garden
+ walking the sights
+ awesome Chinese food and ridiculously good seafood
+ trekking in Perth-style wintery weather in a t-shirt half across the Golden Gate Bridge
+ panting my way up and then down Lombard Street
+ visiting Alcatraz and thinking, "Getting stuck here would really suck"

I'm sure there're heaps of other wonderful things I loved about the place - it's hands-down my favourite American city. The place just felt right :)

Brian and Julia's gorgeous wedding

Downtown San Francisco from my hotel room

Pier 39 on a quiet day..

Yummy crab crab!

The halls of Alcatraz

Good 'ol Lombard Street

That famous bridge, The Golden Gate, yes I know it's red.

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