Just before Christmas I picked up a new client for a very nice job in San Francisco. It was a very short trip though! I left London on December 21st, shot at lunchtime on the 22nd, edited in the afternoon, then flew back the following day. 21 hours flying in a couple of days! Good job I love to travel! Hehe
Firstly, I'm really loving this whole electronic check-in via my iPhone malarky. It's the future, I tell thee! So after arriving in the US, and having a conversation with immigration about the pros and cons of digital vs film, I jumped in a cab and headed off to the hotel. After checking in and dropping my bag off in the hotel room, I went out for some much needed sustenance. On a recommendation from the awesome beatnik concierge, I ate at Tommy's Joynt. I'm still not entirely sure what I ate exactly. The people in the queue before me ordered something that looked amazing, so I had what they had! It was basically a roasted ham of some sort with mashed potato. It was epic though! After food, I went for a quick wander before heading back to the hotel to make sure I was fresh for my photoshoot in the morning.
I started the day by filling up on pancakes with bacon and syrup. It was the kind of breakfast I imagine they serve in heaven! After washing it down with a glass of fresh OJ, I jumped in a cab and headed off to do what I was there for. The shoot was nice and straight forward, and I was able to fulfil the client's brief fairly easily. We even did some extra shots over by the Golden Gate Bridge, which meant I could tick that particular sight off my list. Once finished, I returned to the hotel via Walmart to pick up some munch. I originally just went in to get something to drink while I edited, but then figured I'd stock up on the various sweet treats that you can't get in the UK. I did have to draw the line at breakfast cereal though. Cocoa Pebbles are my favourite cereal in the whole wide world, but on the basis that I'd also have to buy, milk, a bowl, and a spoon, it seemed a little indulgent for a single morning's breakfast! Editing was nice and quick, and I sent a contact sheet back to the UK before getting an early night. Although there's an 8 hour time difference, because I was only there for a day and a half, I was determined to avoid jet lag, so did my best to stay roughly on British time.
Next morning, I woke up early, packed my stuff and then headed down to check out. My flight home wasn't till the afternoon, so I had a very very wet morning in San Francisco to see as much of the city as I could before leaving. So fuelled with more pancakes, I set off in the rain to see what I could!
I started by riding the cable car from Union Square up to Lombard Street (The worlds 'crookedest street'), before heading down the hill to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39. By this time I was already pretty wet, so I stopped in Boudins for some Sourdough French Toast, with cinnamon and syrup... it was awesome! You can't go to Pier 39 without seeing the Sea Lions, so braving the weather (and the smell), I paid them a visit. I didn't have time to do Alcatraz this time. Thankfully I did that on my last trip 15 years ago, because the weather was so bad the boat trip would have been nauseous! Next to the WW2 submarine, the USS Pampanito, is a cool little arcade museum called 'Musee Mecanique', which is home to a whole range of vintage machines. It had everything from photo booths, to space invaders and old Wurlitzer pianos. I love a bit of nostalgia!
By this point I was dripping wet, so I jumped back on the Cable Car, and went back to Union Square. I feel like I ate my way around San Francisco, because my next stop was The Cheesecake Factory at the top of Macy's. I love cheesecake! I'm still on the hunt for the best New York cheesecake in London. Anyway, accompanied by a rather large Oreo milkshake, this cheesecake ticked all the right boxes (as you'd expect from The Cheesecake Factory!). It was about that time, so after getting a 'Free Hug' outside Macy's, I went back to the Hotel to dry off next to the fire whilst waiting for the airport shuttle bus.
The flight back was packed! I suppose because I was getting back on the morning of the 24th, I was surrounded by everyone rushing to be back for Christmas. It wasn't the best of flights. The guy next to me had one of those annoying tendencies to want his elbows to inside my ribs, which meant that uninterrupted sleep wasn't gonna happen. Combined with severe turbulence for much of the flight, and the fact that I was sat in damp clothes from my sightseeing adventure, I was glad when we touched down in London.
Anyway, here's everything I've written about, in photographic form...