Day 17, Saturday 31 March

Just like the weather forecast said a storm had arrived in San Francisco and as I sat there in my bed first thing this morning I longed for a window with a view so I could see what the weather was actually doing. I also felt that if I was going to be stuck inside a hotel room till the rain went away – coz that’s what is supposed to happen after lunch, I’d rather do the waiting somewhere else. So I went on-line and checked availability of other hotels in a better location. I found one called the Hotel Metropolis which looked very cool in the photos and sounded lovely and they had a room available right now at an amazingly good price (same price as what I paid for the one I was in) so I threw everything into my suitcase as fast as I could, didn’t even bother to shower and checked out of Hotel Hell and caught a cab to Hotel Fabulous.

From the second I walked through the front doors I knew I had made the right decision and it just kept getting better. I asked the guy at reception if the room had a window with a view and he said sort of, the room is on the 9th floor so the view would be ok but mainly of another building – to me that sounded great. Maybe he was thinking I was hoping for a sea view or a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, but anything more than a car park would be better than where I’d just come from. So I took the lift to the 9th floor, found my room and opened the door to paradise. I could hardly believe how grand it was and for the same price as the hideous place I’d just come from!!!

Excitedly I tried to open the window to take a photo of the view but it was stuck, I guessed maybe you can’t open the windows at such a height but the locks opened and there was a fire escape out the window so how would I get out there to “escape”. So I phoned reception to see if the window was supposed to open – which was exciting coz there was a phone in the room (unbelievably hotel hideous had no phone in the room). The receptionist said yes it should and he would get maintenance up immediately to fix it. The maintenance guy turned up in a minute and basically removed the whole frame around the window so I could open it to simply take a photo. Then I asked about the bathroom window – he fixed that too, so I explained how I was into photography and was excited to be so high up and able to see such a great view after the horrible place I’d just come from. He mentioned something about the 10th floor having an even better view plus a wrap around deck and I could take great pics from there, I said it sounded amazing and would love to have a look. So he phoned reception checked it out and next minute I was back at reception changing room keys for a room on the top floor – I’d been upgraded just like that for free by the maintenance guy.

When I opened the door to my new top floor room I almost did a “Riverdance” right there and then – it was an amazing corner suite with a spectacular view and a balcony that I could walk around on, that did indeed wrap around a whole quarter of the top floor. I couldn’t believe my luck!!! Then I got a call from a friend of a friend at work who lived in San Francisco who would pick me up at 1:00 and drive me to the best places to take photos of the city WOW. As it was raining I was very happy to make coffee, watch the big flash TV, listen to my music from my iPod on the speaker dock or play a CD and relax in my fabulous penthouse suite enjoying the view till the friend: Don, turned up. Amazingly as if by divine intervention just as he turned up the rain completely stopped and the sun started to shine – the storm was over.

After Treasure Island we drove round the waterfront past all the famous piers, Russian Hill – Coit Tower and Fishermans Wharf to the same park I walked to last night but unlike last night the weather this time was perfect and the Golden Gate bridge was indeed very red. Apparently some people are disappointed the first time they see the bridge coz they are expecting it to be golden. From there Don drove me to many places where there were great view points of the bridge, each one better than the last.

Randomly Don asked if I was a Star Wars fan so I replied yes, in that case he had a surprise for me… Near the base of the bridge is where George Lucas has his head office and in a courtyard that we were allowed to walk into was a fountain/statue with Yoda standing on top. This was a huge bonus – I had seen a photo of this fountain once before with one of the ladies I work with and her son standing in front of it (that’s where her son works), I never imagined for even one second that one day I would get to see that fountain – very cool!!!

Next stop was further out at a point called Lands End where I have seen used in a favourite TV show of mine with great views of the city the ocean and the bridge. From there we drove further round the waterfront past Ocean Beach and up Twin Peaks for the most stunning view of the city I have ever seen. AWESOME.

From there we drove through the Castro to Alamo Square where the very famous “Painted Ladies” are. That was so cool coz that was the one shot I was hoping to take more than anything else in San Francisco and the weather was perfect and the sun in the absolute best place for taking photos of the houses. After that the very kind and generous Don drove me back to my amazing hotel room and we said goodbye.

Next I went for a walk around Union Square looking for somewhere to have dinner, ended up in a very groovy diner. Then I went back to my hotel for some beers before heading out for my Saturday night in San Francisco, back to hotel room about 3:30.

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