I'm going to try and keep this short as the last few entries have been quite ridiculously long. Sorry for that and thanks for sticking with me.
The dismal Vegas experience very much over shadowed much of the trip in San Francisco. I was grumpy and disappointed with Sin City and also a little strange from watching all those Law and Order reruns. Whenever one has too much time to ones self, one finds one can get a little peculiar and also a bit introspective and feeling a tad homesick. So as I descended upon San Fran, I was grumpy, strange and had high expectations that I would feel better soon. The problem with high expectations is that you often are left disappointed as you've set them too high to meet.
This I feel was the case with my first few days in San Fran. It didn't help that it was really cold and foggy so I couldn't recooperate by sitting in a park reading a book (my usual mood lifting cure all). Also, when I feel a bit low, I need to be left alone until the mood lifts and a German girl in my dorm persisted on trying to befriend me. "what are you doing' 'what are you planning on doing' 'what are your plans' and so on. Now I'm sure (in retrospect) she was just being kind, but I all wanted to do was leap from my chair/bunk bed (wherever she had cornered me) and scream at the top of my lungs "Get out of my FACE!"
Now, this is obviously an over reaction to a German attempted befriending. I'm aware. But as Winston Churchill said 'you cannot dodge the blackk dog of despair' or something similar. So I sullenly sulked and slunk and all together tried to avoid her for, oh 3 days. However, after this time (during which I had been doing my best to be a good tourist, did a tour, saw the Golden Gate Bridge, the gays and the hippies- buy a book if you want to hear about the sights) mooching around avoiding Germans I suddenly and inexplicably whilst having an late shower to warm myself after a long day of walking in the cold, started feeling better. Oh it was a fantastic feeling. I felt energised and ready to be socialable again.
Unfortunately, it was about 10 at night and the German was asleep, bless her and the next day she left before I could apologise and show her I actually was a nice person, not a weird recluse.
After my sudden epiheny or whatever it was, I truely began to enjoy San Francisco (the sun deciding to descend probably helped this) and I spent my last day there feeling far more myself. And I bought a book. Maybe two.
However, it was now time to move on to my next destination, a place called Portland. You may or may not have heard of this little city (I had not), but main reason for going there was 1. it broke up a tedious rail journey to Seattle and 2. I was told it had a very large bookshop. For once my expectations were met. What a bookshop. 4 floors of well laid out, alphabeticalised joy. And it was a mix of new and secondhand. If I could have moved in, I would have. If I could have actually picked the building up and transplanted it to Edinburgh and employed myself there, I would have. Actually, if I get a genie wish that would be it (stuff world peace).
Portland also has a wonderful array of arthouse cinemas pouring out of every little cubby hole and a very large clean park with a massive rose garden. I have basically been in hogs heaven for about 3 days. If I hadn't of already prebooked my journey onward to Seattle today I would have stayed. Forever. Well, may be two days.