California, Girl It’s Unforgettable

HIIIIIIIIIII! I’m sitting in Pearson Airport (Toronto, for those not quite so seasoned a traveller as I *cue to roll your eyes*) ready to share the first leg of my journey with you. I hit the place where the beaches are hot, the bays are cooler and the fun just doesn’t stop under a burning dessert sun. Oops, desert, wow, projecting my desire for sugar ammirite?

Also I had to pun up my title (for those who don’t know, though I don’t how you can’t know, it is a reference to one of Katy Perry’s catchier tunes, ‘California Gurls’.


Before hitting Cali, and seeing my wonderful cousins over there to help me adjust to the weird world of tips, too many smiles and supersized regular meals, I was crying on the way to airport, for all purposes acting like I was going away forever. Look at this happy snap (it was taken pre-tears when the excitement was still high…)

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I had a pretty (sorry Qantas, got to be honest) shoddy flight to LA then San Fran international. What once was an airline serving delicious meals, listening to my ovo-lacto specifications and having a snack bar at the back of their plane turned into a poor excuse for a flight. I didn’t even get a tray of food this time, just an awful meal and a bag full of bread, butter and milk. It’s my fault right, expecting the extra water, juice, salad and edible cakes you used to give? Cheapskates…

But anyways, let’s not dwell on that. Let’s just say the flight was so rancid (with even worse quality of flight attendants) that I certainly hope I take a few photos on my way home (shock horror, I photograph everything!!)

Anyways though, I got to San Fran and literally from the first night, the adventure had begun. Just from my Aunty’s homecooking, I mean LOOK at this beautiful pizza of delicious proportions!

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And the Indian desserts you can get in Cali, let’s be honest, the are better there. You know the brightly glowing orange jalebi Sydney has become accustomed to. Well in Cali, you can buy golden, syrupy, plump and juicy jalebi, similar to my favourite place in India. Though excuse my poor photo, I was in too much of a hurry to eat it…

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And a gulab jamun in sandwich form. It literally cannot get better than this… 😛

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But as much as I am sure my regaling of fun family times would interest you, I won’t keep talking about it. Rather, how about I introduce you a little bit to the wonderful world of San Francisco. I had already guessed this but apparently, SF is the home of all things liberal, radical, extraordinary and hipster in the entire US. Democratic for the win, and ridiculously fashionable in a ‘I’m homeless but it’s ironic’ way, I fell pretty much in love with this city. This is despite it’s random patches of sewage smell… which I am assured is a common property of many US cities… 😛

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It also seems to be the birthplace of food trucks. Every corner, every street, it it’s not Thai, then there is a moving coffee cart. Just another thing to come out of SF!

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I would have taken photos of the rolling hills that have made San Fran famous, but seriously come on. They are literally cement hills. It was much more fun to actually be on them in this old-school trolley!!! While the line was ridiculously long, I would like to think it was worth it. I’ve seen these famous cable cars-trolleys on TV and it always seemed like so much fun to ride. And to be honest, it is a mini rollercoaster when you go down those hills!!!

And of course, we saw Lombard Road, the crookedest of them all 😉

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T
o give us the energy at the beginning of the day, my cousins and I hit up the cutest little tucked away sandwich shop SF has to offer. Miss Tomato Sandwich ShopSounds sassy just in name right? One of my cousins and I shared a Veggielicious falafel creation which was so filling! It was generously stuffed full of vegetables, two types of cheese and this incredible garlic aioli on top. My mouth waters just thinking about it, I wish this photo did it justice!

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We actually ate these while at the famous Fisherman’s Wharf in San Fran. A giant pier offering views of the famed Alcatraz and festering with seagulls on steroids (I swear, the U.S. supersize everything!!), this was a lovely place to enjoy our lunch!

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I unfortunately didn’t book in advance enough to go see the inside of Alcatraz but hey, is it not a reason to go back to SF once again??

It was here that I also encountered one of the greatest places in the world. Musee Mecanique – French bien sur 😉

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This free (entry) arcade boasts a host of different modern games, but I don’t really give two figs about that. The original owner of this musee actually owned a HUGE collection of vintage games dating back to the 1800s! You know, that time that people frowned in photographs and were all creepy? Well, it reflects in these ‘games’

Look at this puppet. If she isn’t crawling out of the wardrobe of your nightmares I don’t know what is…

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A few examples of this ’25c’ games that we played? A bogus fortune teller puppet, an execution by hanging and watching the shenanigans of a moving ol’ west model. Yes, those children in 1800s were sincerely lacking in fun times if these games were considered ‘games’. But now, some 200 years later, their gothic style and vintage appeal is definitely… well … appealing 😛

But look at the beauty and intricacy of their work as well – and it moves!!!!!

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Because maturity is my middle name, I also couldn’t resist taking my ‘before U.S.’ and ‘afters’ premonition shot in the trick mirrors. I do believe these mirrors were more accurate in telling the future than that creepy old grandma fortune teller!

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Our final stop after a seriously long day in San Fran (since I can’t do any shopping till Boston due to lack of space) was in the gorgeous Ghirardelli Square, home of one of the finest chocolates ever to come to fruition from the minds of chocolate geniuses! While Ghirardelli may be common here in the US, for Aussies, it is definitely one of those high-end chocolates!

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I totally stole this adorable couple’s photo opp. Oops 😛

But can you believe this is the site where the first even Ghirardelli, so delicate and sweet in its chocolatey perfection, was created? Sigh… *dreamy eyes*

And then they suppressed the bars *big eyes*

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My cousins and I also treated ourselves to sharing one GIGANTIC sundae of epically delicious proportions, which you may have seen me share on Instagram already 😉

Look at this choice!?

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But we narrowed down and chose the original. And boy were we blessed and rewarded for our good decision making. This is Ghirardelli meets ice cream porn and has a love child, at its finest.
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The famous hot fudge made from pure chocolatey goodness… sigh…

We demolished it all… #noregrets

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And our day was topped off by the friendliest waiter in the history of waiters, who literally sang waltzing matilda as a gesture to my Australianism. Ngawwww 🙂

Can I just tell you I slept like a dog that night? 😛


A slight breather later…

My next big adventure happened in Santa Cruz.

Dear non-American Archie comic readers. Those boardwalk amusement parks that border the beach are real. I went there, I went on the rides, I dropped 125 feet from the sky and just before I plummeted down, I saw the bay twinkling with lights at night while the last stragglers left the beach.

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As fun as the rides were, and I promise you, one can never get enough of giant rickety wooden rollercoasters ( 😀 ) it was more the absolute novelty of the day that made me so happy. People swimming, then casually going upside down and swinging around. A burning sun and these incredibly delicious garlic fries (with REAL garlic, can I please emphasise), this is what an amusement park is all about.

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Lots of people, lots of junk food, beaching, and walking in thongs (which I have learnt, means underwear to Americans and not flip flops 😛 ) – it was just so ALL AMERICAN. I did honestly expect to see Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Jughead and Archie make an appearance from behind. I was disappointed on that count 😛

And as if the day couldn’t get even better, my relatives and I took a laborious, but well worth it walk, down Santa Cruz’s chilled out lanes and found a little local restaurant (which are always the best kinds of restaurants) called Taqueria Los PericosI told you, the Hispanic influence here is hectic 😀 (while I learnt Boston and the East coast are English/Irish influenced!)

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Best Mexican ever.

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Soft tacos, gigantic burritos and complimentary nacho chips with DIY salsa basin on the side. Magnificent. And their refried buttery beans of deliciousness were just so mouthwateringly good!!!

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There was a reason it has been called the best Mexican in Santa Cruz guys – anyone up for seconds?

I also loved trying Chipotlea popular Mexican restaurant franchise, but by no means did it even begin to compare to the fresh taste of this gorgeous meal above!

So fresh and healthy, but just not the same!

So fresh and healthy, but just not the same!

So now my fingers are exhausted as am I, but I hope you liked my California Segment (what am I travel host!)

Can’t wait to introduce you to adventures in Canada next OMG OMG OMG!!!

I’m sorry I literally can’t contain myself right now, Jasmine was right, it is a Whole New World 😉

And I should have said this at the beginning BUT, I’m sorry for any typos! I have been typing up this post at legit lightning speed 😀

See ya later? What do Americans say that is typically American for bye?

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18 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Concrete Jungle Part II | Go Bake Yourself

  2. Pingback: Part I: I Was In Canada, eh? | Go Bake Yourself

  3. California….how I miss thee! Uru, you will be surprised how much the Eastern coast differs from the western one. East is more beautiful, West is more charming. This is the best time to come to the York lands. Welcome to US!

  4. krisbigrigsncookies says:

    I’ve never been to California, but have lots of friends that have. I had no idea about Ghirardelli and some of your other highlights! Loved seeing the area through your eyes. Hope to visit there someday myself 🙂 Enjoy Canada!

  5. Debra says:

    It’s great fun to see my home state through your eyes! I’m delighted you had such a good time, and your adventures have just begun! With everything you do you’re making wonderful memories. I’ll look forward to all your posts this coming year! ox

  6. AWWW this is the best post ever! I didn’t even know you were in my neck of the woods, glad the hospitality on the ground (can’t speak for in-the-air) worked out! And I LOVE Ghirardelli, nom nom. Missing that so much!

  7. Kim Bultman says:

    Uru, sooooo glad you made it stateside! (Sorry your flight was horrific though.) Enjoyed your travelogue of San Francisco very much and looking forward to your next adventures! xo

  8. A_Boleyn says:

    Great start to your trip (jalebis and gulab jamun = yum) . And those are some very decadent sundaes.

    Welcome to Canada. I could hop in the car tomorrow … only a 5 hr drive to see you. 🙂

  9. Kathleen Richardson says:

    CCU, this post is wonderful. Glad you had such fun time on your first (?) trip to the USA. Watch for the supersizing or you’ll end up supersizing yourself!! Ghirardelli is more of a high end chocolate, pricier and tastier than Hersheys, Bakers or Nestles products. Loved all of your wonderful photos, too.

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