What a day! It began at 5:30, waaay too early but a necesity with my flight leaving at quarter past 7. I quickly got dressed an left Sanda to continue trying to get up. Having washed my face and feeling a little better I re-woke Sanda and was fairwelled by Anna and Reiko, who wanted to make sure they saw me before I left.
Walking sleepily downstairs with Sanda after waking her for the third time we ate breakfast in weary silence and began the trek to her car, half way there she realised she had forgotten her key, so running back (she's extrememly fast when she wants to be) I waited in the deserted stretch of sand for her return, watching the tumble weed roll lazily accross the feild.
Not too long and she was back then hoping in the car and giving it a few starts we were of to the airport. She dropped me at the Atlanta terminal and hugging goodbye (not sure whether I'll see her again) I left for to collect my ticket and make my way onto the crowded plane.
It was a short flight to Oakland, which had a lot to do with the fact I fell into a groggy sleep straight away. Trying to snap myself out of it as the captains voice crackled over the loudspeaker "we have now arrived in Oakland" I gave myself a few light slaps and quickly grabbed my bag from under the seat in front.
It was busy inside the terminal and the wind and rain outside had put a melancholy mood on the passangers, but I perked up with clear information from the ladies at the transport desk and after a tub of yoghurt and a friendly chat with the lady who selled it too me I was of into the rain to wait at 3E for air bart - the shuttle that would take me to the station.
We rode express through Oakland which didn't give me a chance to see a great deal, however considering what people have warned me about Oakland, I'm not sure whether thats a bad thing. The rain hadn't let up as I made my way into the station, starring perplexed at the ticket machine that you just put money in - luckily the ladies had told me exactly how much I would need (3.35) so pulling my ticket, receipt and change from the chute I proudly rode the escalators up to the platform.
Catching the bus was relatively easy, and when we arrived at Central I got of (and trying not to look lost) made my way into the now torrential rain drenching the city. It took me a while to find the hotel, stopping to ask a few clueless people, getting harrassed by a couple of bums and seeking refuge in more than one brightly lit fastfood resteraunt. Watching a blind women get drenched on the bus platform I desctretely covered her with my umbrella and once on the bus was finally pointed in the right direction.
The Hostel is brilliant, bright and bustling with all sorts of people form all over the world. I was met by a nice guy that after going over the usuall check in procedure told me a few tips and tricks for getting around as well as a list of all the social activities happening in the dorms (tonight is beer pong!).
The room is nice and clean, I even get the top bunk. After putting on my linen and taking a rest I made my way outside again with a map and a vague idea about how I would spend the rest of the day...first up food! I walked into China town for sushi, which was given to me on delcate wooden boats floating sereenly along a fake pond around the sushi counter, then browsing the overflowing streets and marvelling at architecture, crazy lamps and stores I eventually arrived at Fishermans wharf.
I didn't stay long, just for a bad Chai tea at a huge bakery and a superficial look at the wax museum and Ripley's believe it or not. I decided I'd catch the street car around all the peirs and getting of at Market street walked to Fourth and Mission to find the giant movie theatres.
It was here I found an awesome frozen yogurt place that combined it with fruit in the crazy drill machine, I took my giant tub into the theatres and enjoyed "The Golden Compass" that would have been awesome except for the ending! It was getting dark, but determined to be adventureous I continued to paroose the streets, doing a spot of shopping (soo many good shops) and enjoying the streets that were suddenly comming alive with twinkling lights and laughing people.
Ending me exphedition in borders, full after dinner, a smoothie and a pretzel I made my way back to the hotel, were after renting a towl and writing to you I will crash early for a big day tomorrow!
Until then : )