Month four: into the States

So this month I finally made it to the USA! I’m having an incredible time, and still have so much to see! I’m going to have to come back, there’s already a list of things and states I’ll visit in the future.

Places visited: Mexico (Oaxaca, Mexico City), California (Los Angeles,  San Francisco,  Yosemite), Nevada (Las Vegas), Arizona (Flagstaff, Tucson)

Modes of transport: Plane, metro, train, megabus, greyhound, taxi, car

Best things: Cycling around Oaxaca, Orange County, Berkeley, floating down the Merced river in Yosemite (actually all of Yosemite – it’s making the Best of the Whole Trip list), seeing the Grand Canyon

Worst things: First few days in Mexico. It says something that the worst I’ve experienced since coming to the USA is sore legs from too much walking and getting lost a couple of times!

Books read: The Friday Night Knitting Club, Black and Blue, Dune 2, The Gunslinger, Addition, The Corrections

Best thing I brought: finally used my spork, so it’ll have to be that

Things I’ve bought: Another T-shirt (but it’s really cool! From a local artist in Oaxaca), yellow pencil skirt from a thrift store, books (too many books, it’s starting to really weigh my backpack down), new toothbrush, shampoo, suncream, tablet (I gave in, it’s so hard to find internet here!), headphones. It’s a lot this month, hopefully I’ll have got over being able to buy nice things again soon.

What I should have brought: more travel wash! It hardly exists in the US

Injuries and illness: my first cold of the trip, cracked feet

American shops/restaurants/ diners visited: Safeway (!), Walgreens, Popeyes, Panda Express, Chicken and Waffles, Goodwill, Barneys, Macy’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Dairy Queen, Forever 21, In N Out, Target

Coming up in month five: music capital of the world, New Orleans, Mississippi and Tennessee.

California Dreamin’

The houses in San Francisco are like nothing I’ve ever seen before. All soft pastels and strange designs, like they came from the mind of a delirious architect. In fact, a lot of my time here has been strangely reminiscent of houses from The Sims. houses

In the city itself, I really enjoyed the walk through Haight and Ashbury – the staggering hills are worth it for the view – and into Golden Gate Park. Did anyone else know they have a bison enclosure there?!

bison

Seeing the bridge itself up close is pretty amazing too; I think on a future visit I’ll have to cycle across and into the redwoods park.

I’ve been lucky enough to see both sides of the Bay area, from flashy, car-centric Silicone Valley to the quieter, campusy feel of Berkley. Here it smells of honeysuckle and people leave  free things outside their houses.

lands end

I did enjoy a visit to Google however, and it’s certainly strange to see the names of huge websites on the sides of offices.

And then there was Yosemite.

I had considered just going for a daytrip – I’m so glad I decided to stay the weekend. The national park completely blew away my expectations; it’s the kind of place which words like ‘awestruck’ were made for. Forests, mountains, waterfalls – I loved my time here, and it reminded me just how much I enjoy being in the outdoors.

waterfall

I travelled with Green Tortoise tours, which were fantastic, and got in a hike, a trip to the giant sequoia trees, and a lazy afternoon spent drifting down the Merced river. 

We ended the trip at the longest continuously open saloon in the west, complete with stuffed game trophies, number plates from every state and dollar bills stuck to the ceiling like nesting moths.