Welcome to the next post in the series Letters from America 1985 -1987. This week a slightly longer letter to my parents, telling them about our first trip to San Francisco. I took photographs at the time that I did not send home, but shared with my parents when they came to visit in November of that year.
April 1985 – Beverly Hills Cop, Sleepless Nights in San Francisco!
30th April 1985.
Dear M & D.. sorry about the slightly longer gap between letters this time, as we were in San Francisco for three nights and I thought I would wait until our return to tell you about it.
Whilst I remember… if you get the chance to see Beverly Hills Cop when it comes out in the UK or on video, do as it is very funny. We went to see it last night with Vicki and Kelly and actually the audience was just as entertaining. Much less inhibited than the English – applauding at the good bits and at the end of the film. Going to the movies does have its dangerous side too.. as you have to negotiate hundreds of pop-corn containers littering between the seats… it seems they rely on the cleaning crew to pick them up! There is a munching sound all through the film and it does not do much for the soundtrack. The cinemas here are non-smoking unlike at home but you do come out smelling like a hot dog!
David was away in Kansas the week before last, to finalise details of his first major contract, which meant that his boss from England came out last Thursday and they met up in San Francisco. He and David needed to go over the contract with a fine tooth comb before signing, but suggested that I fly in on the Friday for a celebration, and fly back Monday morning.
My flight was about four hours and I was sat next to a US naval commander going home to see his family. We of course talked about you Daddy, and how we moved around so much as children from base to base. He has young children that have moved about quite a bit and said he was glad that my experiences had not appeared to have done me any harm. He bought me a couple of drinks and we parted company at the luggage reclaim… then as I met David and Mike outside the terminal, he also arrived and told David that I had made that the best flight ever… there were questions asked!
It was 10pm by this time and our adventure was only just beginning. David’s travel agent has booked a motel based on their general reputation as a reputable national chain. Unfortunately this one was not one of their finest, and we were alerted to this by the fact the receptionist was behind bars with just a small slot for you to pass you credit card and booking number through! The area seemed to be busy with cars stopping, transactions taking place and then them driving away again… we wondered why the taxi driver had asked us twice if this was really our destination!
It was now midnight and it was too late to find somewhere else for the night, so we headed up to our rooms, which all faced inwards over an inner courtyard. We were a couple of floors up and Mike was across from us. The view from the window at the rear of our room revealed that rather than an ocean view, we overlooked a narrow alley and the back of the Salvation Army Hostel.
What followed was like something out of a Mickey Spillane novel. At midnight a gang of lads were running up and down the balconies throwing beer cans. At 1.00 a.m a rowdy drunk crowd arrived back and took 30 minutes to get into their rooms. Then after a couple of hours of disturbed sleep at 4am, a ‘lady’ got into a fight with a client outside our inner facing window (we had been listening to her heels clicking past several times and unfortunately she had the room above us). The language was very colourful to say the least, and she didn’t neglect a single part of his anatomy. She finally told him that he didn’t have a dollar, let alone twenty for her! However, 20 minutes later we heard her heels tottering passed and she had clearly found someone with twenty dollars.
Finally, feeling totally whacked, we checked out at 8 am and headed out via the scenic route to Fisherman’s Wharf, stopping to take pictures of the magnificent view and the seals that pile up on the rocks to bask in the sun. Our first sight of The Golden Gate Bridge was fabulous.
We found a Holiday Inn on the wharf and booked in and it was 100% better than the night before. The reception area had a very different atmosphere to our previous accommodation and the only bars in sight were serving beer and cocktails. We spent most of the day sightseeing, going over the bridge, traveling the many hills by cable car etc. I bought the most amazing red straw hat that will knock them dead in Houston…..After a siesta to catch up on lost sleep, we had a superb meal at a Chinese Restaurant which ended a wonderful day.
On Sunday morning David and Mike spent time going over the contract, but in the afternoon we went over to Alcatraz Island where the prison used to be. On the tour they ask for volunteers to be locked in the cells… it took David several hours to come back and have me released.. I should have been suspicious when he tried to buy me a one way ticket! The rest of the day was spent climbing up the hills around the city where some of the really fancy houses are. You would love them Mollie, facing out into the bay and every one of them different.
We actually thought about moving to San Francisco to rent a house and David could run his office out of it, but we got hold of a property guide and the houses in the this area sell for between 750,000 to 1 million dollars.. The company is unlikely to fork out the likely rental per month! However, we are definitely coming back for a longer visit as we want to explore the highway that goes from San Diego right up to Seattle.
We were up at 4.am. for flights out at 7.00… David and Mike to Kansas to sign the contract and me to Houston. A wonderful weekend that I will always remember and my particular favourite bit was eating lunch on Fisherman’s Wharf and watching the elephant seals touring the fishing boats looking for scraps.
Well that’s up to date, I hope all continues to be well and will write again next week.. love from us both Sally and David.
Thank you very much for dropping in and I hope you continue to enjoy our adventure in Texas and trips we made around America during our time there.