Our flight landed in Dallas Fort Worth around 20 minutes late, and we were sat right at the back so were among the last to get off the plane. Therefore meaning we were also last to get to customs, but it seemed everyone around us we could hear were also getting connecting flights, so we figured we should be fine to make our connection which was now in just under 2 hours time. How wrong we were. First off we had to queue for around 10 minutes to get to a machine just to tick we had an e-Visa and nothing else to declare. From this queue, we were shepherded into another queue, and we've never seen anything like it. It was pretty much our whole flight which was well over 200 people, all queuing to be seen by only 2 customs officials. It just didn't move! At this point we started wondering what happens if we don't make it through in time for our flight, and we weren't the only ones. We could hear lots of panicked travellers trying to ask the staff and many of them had much earlier flights than us. All they were told was to stay in line, and if they miss their flight the airline will have to get them on another one that day. They genuinely seemed to be taken glee in telling people this and seeing the misery on their faces.
It took us almost an hour and a half to finally get to the customs desk. Once through, we had 10 minutes to make it to our gate before it closed. Sounds fine right? No. We also had to recollect our bags and then put them back through baggage, as well as get through security, who were so slow. We absolutely pelted it to our gate, and by some miracle we made it onto the flight literally at the time the gate closed!
The flight into Vegas was a nice one after how uncomfortable the overnight one had been (we had zero sleep at all) , it's crazy we had more room on this 2hour flight than we did on the overnight one. We even flew over the grand canyon so we had a sneak preview before our trip there, and the views flying in were beautiful.
When we arrived at the hotel, looking forward to getting some sleep, we were told we weren't able to check in until 4pm! So we left our bags and had the day to explore the strip! Luckily our hotel was right on it, opposite the Mirage hotel. Being only 8.30am, we started off with a massive American breakfast; it really was American size portions, we were so full after! We didn't eat for the rest of the day!
Even at 10am we realised very quickly that we had made a mistake in not putting suncream on before going out, so we had to make a stop to buy some to put on. We are glad we did as that day went up to 43 degrees!
It was amazing to walk along the strip and see so many of the different casinos you see in films. We tried to walk along inside them as much as possible so we could stay in air-con! At first we were hesitant to walk into a casino we weren't staying in (as you would never normally just walk into a hotel your not staying at) but we soon realised this was the done thing and anyone can walk through or use any casino. You cannot get to any sort of hotel reception desk before spending at least 5 minutes walking through a casino anyways!
Our taxi driver that morning had warned us that what may look like a 15 minute walk, in reality will probably take 30minutes, just due to how huge everything is here. And he wasn't kidding. We had decided to walk the whole way down the strip, visiting all the big hotels and casinos on the way, until we reached the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign. Even after reaching the last hotel, Mandalay Bay, it seemingly took forever to reach the sign, and our tiredness and the heat were starting to kick in. Annoyingly, and predictably, there was a huge queue of people waiting to get their picture taken underneath the sign. Not in the mood to queue (how un-British of us!), we followed the suit of some others we'd seen just getting a picture to the side of the sign out of the way of the queuers.
It took us over an hour to walk all the way back to our hotel, taking the longer way through all the Casinos just to make the most of the air-con. Obviously the air-con was the only pull... but we did have a sneaky try on the 1cents slot machines. Most of them sneakily require you to spend 75cents just on one go, so your money and spins get eaten up pretty quickly and we didn't hang around long, not really understanding how they work.
Thankfully our hotel let us check in a little earlier at 3pm when we finally made it back. In desperate need of a shower and a nap (or just a lie down in Lisa's case, one day she'll master the nap!), we took a few hours just to recuperate.
Vegas is a City that comes alive at night, so as much as we'd have loved to sleep through (especially as we have a 5.30am alarm tomorrow), we headed back out. Lisa wore Mascara for the first time in 3 months... a new woman, and Dan wore his best black t-shirt, we were ready for a night of winning. As it's just across from our hotel, we started in The Mirage, one of the three Casino's 'robbed' in the film Ocean's 11.
This was actually the only Casino we managed to make a 'win' in, so quickly became our favourite. Sticking with the roulette table (machine not actual table), we bet $5 and managed to make a cool $30... don't be jealous. Our winnings actually made it up to $42 at one point but we were waiting on a free drink from the waitress so had to keep on gambling obviously.
Taking our proud winnings, we headed next door to Caesar's Palace, of The Hangover and Friends fame. Accepting our free drink, we took our place at the Roulette machine, and hoped we'd increase our winnings. But alas, it was not meant to be. At least we didn't lose anything, still making a whopping $5 profit at the end of the night.
We ended our evening watching the high rollers play Craps, a game we still cannot get our head around, but watching people throw $100 bills on a table like we throw $1!
We took a slow walk back to our hotel enjoying the views of Vegas at night, which made the Strip look totally different.
THE GRAND CANYON
We got picked up just after 6am, ready for our day trip to the Grand Canyon. Most visitors from Vegas head to the West Rim, as it's a much shorter drive, however after lots of research the South Rim looked to be the best views, and actually inside the National Park (where the West Rim isn't). It meant however a 4 hour drive to reach it, but we're pretty accustomed to long journeys by this point so it seemed worth it.
It was a small tour group, only 8 of us, and our guide Chad was very talkative, giving us a full history of Las Vegas on the way to breakfast. And what could be more American than a tour company taking us for a stunning McDonald's breakfast all included in the tour price.
On the way to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, you pass by Hoover Dam, so we got to stop off here to head to a viewpoint. Hoover Dam is one of the engineering wonders of the world, and given it was built in the 1920's, under budget and under time, it really is. Chad told us that there is enough concrete in the Dam to build a road going east to west coast USA!
The Dam protects Lake Mead, a man made lake which acts as the main water supply for California as well as places such as Mexico due to the lakes irrigation system. It would be a national emergency if Hoover Dam was destroyed, and there is lots of security around the place. It was actually another one of the intended targets on 9/11.
It's crazily impressive to see and the photo's don't do it's sheer size justice.
After a quick stop in the small town of Kingman for snacks and petrol, it was solid driving all the way to the Canyon. The scenery throughout the drive was impressive going from mountainous, to desert to forest. The area surrounding the Grand Canyon was surprisingly green, we'd never imagined it being on the edge of a forest!
We'd booked onto a walking tour, so after a huge lunch, we spent 3 hours walking along the upper trail to various viewpoints, each more impressive than the next.
We took so many pictures of the canyon as every turn you took you got a stunning view that looked totally different to the last. After around 5 miles of walking along the rim, Chad our guide decided it was time to start heading back as you could see rain coming quickly on the horizon. Rain was another thing we never expected to be at the canyon but before we knew it heavy rain was coming down on us. Luckily we were able to catch a bus back to the car, but we still got pretty soaked running to it when we got back!
It was going to be another 4 hour drive back to Las Vegas with one stop off on the way, a town called Seligmen. This town was situated on Route 66, so we were both excited to be able to have a little bit of the journey on this famous road. Seligmen was also famous in its own right, Chad told us that it was the inspiration for the Pixar film Cars. He explained that one of the head creatives of Pixar had taken a holiday after finishing Toy Story 2 and he took his family on a trip on Route 66. When arriving in Seligmen he saw all the old American cars that had been left to rot there, therefore getting the idea. He also got inspiration from a man who lived in the town called Angel. Seligmen was dying due to a new highway built just next to its part of route 66, meaning that people could bypass the town. Angel petitioned the government for 7 years to make route 66 historic, being turned down 7 times. On the 8th attempt they finally passed this motion, saving the town and many others along this historic route. A character from the film was based on him.
Walking around Seligmen was quick as there was only a few shops and bars. The town really plays on being based on route 66, with lots of gift shops selling route 66 memorabilia. It was nice to look around the town and see all the old cars the film was based on though - one of the pick up trucks which is one of the main characters in the film was still parked up on the main road.
We got back to Las Vegas strip around 9pm. We got dropped off outside the Mirage hotel as we wanted to see the Volcano display that goes on every night outside the hotel. Every hour, the fountain outside of the hotel puts on a fire show. You get even hotter just watching the show from the side from all the fire, not that Vegas needs any more heat.
After a lazy morning and making the most of the air-con whilst catching up with the blog, we headed over to the Venetian, wanting to see the canals. We made the mistake of grabbing a light lunch here, literally just a pizza slice each and a bottle of water, the most expensive pizza slice either of us have ever eaten. It was fun to see people being paddled down this huge indoor mall complete with fake sky.
From here we wandered to Treasure Island to see the pirate ship, sadly not home to the pirate show anymore, although that would have been fun to see.
From here we jumped in a taxi to Downtown Las Vegas, which although looks only just up the road, still took around 20 minutes. Downtown is where the original Vegas started, and holds lots of old Casinos, neon lights and most of all is where you can find most of the Chapels. Vegas holds 300 weddings a day, and from the amount of chapels you can believe it.
Our first stop off in downtown was to the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, made famous from the TV show Pawn Stars. It was actually smaller than we thought it would be from watching it on TV, and of course none of the main guys were actually in the shop. But it was really interesting to see the massive variety of things they have on sale there.
The main street in Downtown is called Fremont Street, so this is where we headed next. It definitely screamed old school Vegas. Filled with bars, half naked dancing girls, half naked dancing guys, guys dressed as girls dancing, magicians, musical performers, and pretty much any sort of street act you can imagine, mostly involving wearing very little. We enjoyed wandering around taking it all in, and our favourite act to watch was the pull up bar challenge. You had to pay $10 just to try, and won back $50 if you held on for 80 seconds, and $100 if you held on for 100 seconds. We watched for ages, entertained by the unending stream of people wanting to try. We barely saw anyone make it past 45-50seconds, let alone win.
After a much needed salad for dinner, along with a few too many pints, we headed back to the Strip for our last Casino visit. And we saved the fanciest for last... The Bellagio.
All the casinos by this point look pretty much alike inside, but this one was much newer, nicer and cleaner. It's crazy what money can buy, the lobby to the hotel is elaborately decorated and filled with tourists getting selfies with it all.
And of course no trip to the Bellagio, or Vegas even, would be complete without seeing the Bellagio Fountain show. We got to see it twice, once on our way in and again on our way out. They put on the show every 15 minutes from 8pm and each time to different music. Lisa was ecstatic when the first show was to Cher, but it got even better on the way out when it was to Elvis' Viva Las Vegas. A very fitting way to end our time here.
GETTING TO YOSEMITE
It turns out changing flight times and not notifying you isn't just a South American thing, it happens in North America too! Not too bad but pushed forward an hour, so a much earlier wake up at 5.30am than we'd expected.
The flight was uneventful, or so we thought until we arrived at baggage claim. Dan's bag arrived, and we waited right until the end for Lisa's which never showed. Not yet fearing the worst, we went on a search around the Carousel in case someone else had removed it by mistake and left it somewhere on the floor. Turns out someone had removed it but it had been put within a huge plastic bag... and when seeing the bag it wasn't hard to see why. It had clearly been caught up in some machinery during part of the transit process, and it had been ripped to shreds.
The entire contents of the smaller detachable back pack was missing, all our toiletries, sun cream, deet, drugs etc, but worst of all the memorabilia such as tickets we'd been saving since Peru. There was also loads of damage to items inside the bag which had been ripped too. The duck down coat, one trainer, 2 t-shirts, some of the packing cubes, make up bag and a few more smaller items all received irreparable damage. Luckily none of the items we'd bought as presents for others and ourselves had been damaged, as they would be harder to replace, so it made it easier to stay calm, but a lot was lost. Although when we reported this to the staff they were helpful and got us some snacks, some emergency toiletries and a duffel bag to use instead to carry all of Lisa's stuff, we never really got a sincere apology, we think they just didn't want to admit blame. Once sorting through everything, we got damaged baggage claims forms from them, and so we'll have to see how much we manage to actually get back from them to cover everything that's been lost. Annoyingly we won't have any WiFi or signal at all in Yosemite, so it may take a while to get everything processed.
It was a four hour drive to reach Yosemite, and we stopped en-route at Walmart to stock up on snacks and lunches whilst in Yosemite, as it's very expensive and limited once you reach the park. Despite a few panicked moments of not being too sure on the rules of the American road Dan got us to our motel safely. We were staying within the National Park just outside the valley. After reading mixed reviews on the motel it was actually much nicer than we'd expected (still not as nice as the cost warranted!) but we were looking forward to exploring the park refreshed the next day.
YOSEMITE FALLS & EL CAPITAN
We'd read a lot about it being really difficult to get parking spaces in the park after 9am, and as we'd accidentally had a bit more of a lie in that we'd intended, we decided to see the park by bus for our first day. Luckily there was a shuttle that ran from our hotel right to the visitor centre, and after almost being WAY overcharged and having to argue a little with the driver we were on our way in.
We were about a 30-minute drive from the entrance of the park, but traffic was already building. Once you go through the entrance you go around a few corners and then the huge rock wall that is El Cap can't be missed from the view! We were driving past here and towards the main centre of Yosemite Valley. As we'd done very little research into our time here, we decided to go chat to some of the rangers and get some suggestions on some of the smaller walks that are around the valley.
The first and easiest walk we decided to do the lower circuit loop of Yosemite falls - the highest waterfall in the national park. As it's one of the easiest walks in the park, and only a short walk from the visitor centre it was a very busy trail, and full of families with their kids. The closer you get to the falls the view is obstructed with people, so we decided to walk out to the meadow opposite the falls to get a clearer view.
From the meadow, we also spotted our first view of half dome, as well as Sentinel Rock. We had a really nice walk around the meadow soaking in the views and watching as loads of people float down the river in rubber rings, apparently a huge tourist activity!
After a picnic lunch we hopped on one of the parks free shuttle buses towards El Capitan to get up close to this famed rock. If anyone hasn't watched the documentary 'Free Solo' (we only watched it on return from our trip) we'd urge you to watch it, it's about a climber who free climbs (no ropes) El Capitan and it is a terrifying but equally incredible watch. Having seen El Cap in the flesh makes this feat even more terrifying. It is a 3000ft vertical rock and the top seems to hang out. You can't even appreciate the scale properly up close, so again we walked out into a nearby meadow to get a full view.
We thought we could spot some climbers (with ropes) but it's so big and they look like such tiny dots it was so hard to actually tell, as soon as we thought we'd seen them move we'd convince ourselves it was just a crack. The idea of climbing it and sleeping up there just terrified us.
From the meadow, we carried on walking a while alongside the river, until we got to a little riverbank. As it was absolutely baking we thought we'd dangle our feet in. As it's glacial water it was so clear, but also insanely cold. We were tempted to go swimming but we didn't have our swim wear on us.. It didn't stop Lisa half stripping down and go in though!
As the sun started to dip behind the rocks the glacial water was no longer the break from the heat we needed and started freezing our toes instead, so we decided to jump on the bus back.
We had a very uninspiring dinner or fried chicken and chips in the hotels restaurant (the only option around) and enjoyed some wine on the balcony as the sun set.
SUNRISE OVER YOSEMITE VALLEY
& LOTS OF WALKING
We really wanted to catch a sunrise over the valley as we'd seen some amazing pictures, and Lisa had looked up that the best point to catch this was at Tunnel View. We set our alarms for 4.45am and jumped in the car armed with breakfast. We were the first car to get there, but as we sat and waited, it got so busy with loads of other tourists and photographers all doing the same thing. But we got the best spot!
Once the sun had fully risen and we'd got the best of the view, we drove down into the valley to get a parking spot for the day. It was still only 6.30am so we had a good pick of spaces. It was beautifully misty now we were down in the valley. Making the most of the park being almost empty, we decided to do the lower circuit to the falls again. It was so nice to be the only ones walking about, and we got an amazing view from below the falls.
As we made our way back to the meadow the buses had started running by now, so we hopped on towards the other end of the valley to explore some of the hikes by Half Dome. We'd been recommended a walk to 'Mirror Lake' which you could complete in a sort of circuit. We had a very basic paper trail map and set off, the few others who had also got off the shuttle at this point for Mirror Lake seemed to be following us, so we hoped we'd made the correct choice at a turning. Walking on for 20 minutes we were supposed to have reached the lake however instead seemed to just come across what looked like it used to be a lake but was now dried up, with only a pond of water left. Thinking this was it and it was just the wrong time of year to see it, we got some pictures anyway.
It was still very early and we'd decided we wanted to do the full circuit around the 'lake'. Whilst those who had followed us from the bus looked disappointed and turned back, we carried on, half thinking maybe we just hadn't reached it properly yet. The path definitely didn't offer any new hope of a lake, but it was a nice walk through the woods, and through different terrain to what we'd seen in Yosemite so far. Dan was a little scared now it was just the two of us as there was signs saying that it was an area known to have mountain lions!
We remained unscathed from the mountain lions, but met our downfall to the mosquitos! Having lost all 3 bottles on deet we were carrying with us in the bag disaster a few days previous, it was one thing we'd forgotten to re-buy, and despite the sun coming up and it getting hotter, we were trying to keep our jumpers on as long as we could to keep covered up, as we could already feel our legs being bitten as we were both in shorts!
It was a 2 hour round walk and as we reached the end, we finally stumbled across the proper view of the mirror lake. We must have taken the wrong turning in the beginning, going the wrong way around the circuit! It was still emptier than it can be sometimes, but was more the view we thought we were going to get.
We were near to the start of the Vernal Fall Footbridge so we walked towards Mist Trail another popular short hike in Yosemite, meaning it was very crowded now by this time. It was quite an uphill climb and so many people were huffing and puffing their way up, we also saw loads of people having to stop for a rest on the way down. We felt quite smug powering up past them after all our trekking in South America these past few months.
We quickly got to the footbridge which provided a lower view to the falls, it was crazy how powerful they were, and we were surprised to see signs telling parents not to let their kids paddle in the water's edge, as two kids had tragically been swept down the falls. There is no way I would go near the water's edge though let alone let kids! It was so crowded here with everyone trying to get pictures we didn't linger long and carried on up the trail.
Half of the visitors turned around at the footbridge so luckily the path was a little quieter, but we soon found out why. As we got closer to the actual falls the amount of mist in the air soon drenched us through. The path got slimmer and slippier, and therefore more crowded, so after a dangerous and slippy climb to just get wetter and the same view, we decided we'd seen enough so turned back around to try and fight our way through the crowds to get down.
After a quick picnic next to the river, we hopped on the shuttle bus back to the main centre of the valley, and tried to find somewhere we could go for a dip, having prepared and brought our swimwear with us today. Annoyingly after finding a nice quiet spot on the river bank a tour of rubber dinghies pulled up on the same beach, drinking and shouting and being generally American and loud. So being grumpy Brits ourselves, we decided to try find a different spot. The spot we next settled on was just a little way down the river but the current was so strong here we thought it wouldn't be the best idea to try and swim.
As we had the car we thought we'd risk driving it down to El Cap to find the same spot of river we paddled in yesterday as it was so nice here. There were cars queuing for our parking spot as we left so we weren't very confident we would be able to park up in a different spot, but luckily as its further out the park we got a space no problem.
Our little swimming spot was free so we changed very inelegantly behind towels and jumped in *very slowly dipped a toe then took forever to get in as it was SO cold*.
After this we sat out trying to spot climbers again up on El Cap before driving back to our hotel and waving goodbye to the park. We were lucky actually and despite telling the guide on the way out that we had entered the park before the gates were open so hadn't paid, he still didn't charge us!
DRIVING BACK TO SAN FRANCISCO
It's the same road back towards San Fran so after breakfast we set off in the aim of getting to the airport at the same time as Yas and George, who we were meeting there. We did stop off at a Vans outlet on the way back to replace Lisa's broken pair, and after confusing the cashier over wanting separate receipts, he messed it up and Dan got a free pair of Vans! We quickly ran out of there and drove off. We timed getting to the airport perfectly, however only Yas had made it on the flight. After forgetting to renew his ESTA, George was still waiting at Vancouver Airport for it to come through to get on a later flight.
So the three of us hopped into an Uber towards Fisherman's Wharf where we were staying. We had a bit of a faff getting sorted in the hostel, the staff were completely incompetent and we almost decided to go stay somewhere else entirely, but in the end managed to sort it and settled into a very disgusting 24 bed dorm... it was literally the only affordable option.
Whilst waiting for George we found a nice spot to perch and drink some wine, watching the sunset over Alcatraz.
George finally made it to join us, and all very hungry we headed out to Fishermans Wharf to find a nice seafood restaurant for dinner.
CYCLING GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
Yas and Lisa had decided it would be fun to rent bikes and cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, but normal bikes would be boring and we wanted Tandems! We were told the most confident cyclists should be at the front of the bikes, so naturally, it made sense for this to be Yas & George, meaning Dan & Lisa took the back seats. Both places are equally hard to get used to. The front means you have full control, plus its so heavy and feels off balance having weight on the back. The back just means you have no control so have to fully trust the person in the front seat. Unfortunately, Lisa & Yas' first attempt did not go well, attempting for our very first try to go downhill. Lisa practically jumped off it running behind whilst Yas was still trying to cycle unaware Lisa was no longer on the back. It made for amusing viewing for anyone nearby. Annoyingly George and Dan were completely fine and made it look easy.
Eventually we got the hang of it and were off along the cycle paths, along with many other tourists.
Before our first attempt at a hill on the tandem, we stopped for some fuel and had breakfast on the seafront looking out over the bridge and back towards the City. There are a crazy amount of people also cycling the bridge, and it was pretty hard on the tandem to keep balanced when the path was so thin and there were so many people. But we survived, and despite being a very long bridge and taking a long time to get over it, it was definitely a fun way to experience it.
From here we carried on cycling to the small town of Sausalito on the other side of the bridge. It was such a cute town, with loads of boutique type shops along the seafront. We had thought about heading to Muir Woods National Park but it turns out you need to apply in advance to go here, so we decided to just go to a local bar instead.
For the cycle back Lisa & Yas switched over, so Lisa was in the driving seat. Dan was happy staying at the back! I think both Lisa & Yas were regretting this to begin with, with lots of screaming coming from Yas in the back. Eventually, we got the hang of it again, just in time for a huge uphill.
We made it back safely to return the bikes, and were all starving so found an amazing Thai restaurant. Yas had researched some recommended bars in San Fran, we were nearby to one of them so thought we'd check it out. It was closed when we first arrived, so we found another bar until it opened in 20 minutes. For anyone that doesn't know Yas, no matter where she is in the world or what she is doing, she will always attract strangers that want to talk to her. And this interim bar was no different. Whilst the rest of us were ordering drinks, Yas went to get us a chair. Instead she came back telling us we were now going to be playing a game of cards with the 70 something, Eastern European, tramp like looking, missing one finger, smelling of alcohol man sat alone at the table with the spare chair. Except the man only dealt Yas into the card game. He was full of strange facts (some of them definitely not true) which he preached at us. Lisa eventually helped us all escape pretending we had a reservation to get to.
Thinking the night couldn't get stranger we headed to KozyKar, the bar Yas had found online. It was pitched as "if you are easily offended, don't go here". Expecting controversial slogans on the wall or something like this, we walked in to find hard core porn showing on huge TV screens around the bar. The seating areas included a bed, a hot tub and gaming chairs, which seemed the least creepy spot so we perched ourselves here. We stayed for one drink and this was more than enough time here, especially with all the creepy guys who seemed like it was their local.
TOURISTS IN SAN FRAN
Of course we couldn't come to San Francisco and not see the real life Mrs Doubtfire House. It was a short walk (although very uphill) so we headed here first thing. There was one other sad tourist like us getting pictures when we got there, but loads more turned up as we were leaving.
From here we walked over to Lombard Street, famed for being "the crookedest street in the world", with eight hairpin turns spanning the distance of only one block. Again there were a crazy amount of hills on the way to get here, and also some insanely beautiful and huge houses! The street was flocked with tourists, and mostly with cars all trying to drive down the 'famed' street., causing lots of traffic. This actually meant it didn't look that great walking down, and I think its somewhere that would like nicer from an aerial view, but at least we saw it. Plus there were again some incredible houses to ogle at on the walk down.
It was getting towards lunch time now, so we circled back towards Fisherman's Wharf to continue our very touristy day of San Fran and grab a Fish Chowder. Every restaurant along Fisherman's Wharf serves this, so we settled on somewhere Yas and George recommended from their previous trip here. The chowder comes in a bowl of bread and is generally delicious, if not a little hard to eat as you chow through the bowl.
We were really near to the start of the main tram line from here, and despite being over an hour long queue to get on we figured it was something that had to be done whilst here.
Once we finally made it on, Dan and George got seats, whilst Lisa and Yas were left standing on the edge. It was a fun way to experience it although we did swap so everyone got a turn hanging off the side. As it's so hilly it was quite the arm workout trying to stay safe!
We had no idea where the end of the tram would leave us, so we jumped off and had a google, and saw that another one of Yas' bar suggestions was a short walk away, so we headed in that direction, hoping for a less seedy place than the night before. However again, when we arrived turns out there was around half an hour until the bar opened. Trying to find another bar in the surrounding area which didn't involve walking straight back down the enormous hill it took us around 10 minutes to walk up proved tricky. We were right near China Town and a park with a fun name (Willie Woo Woo Wong) so we thought we could chill here from a bit, but turns out the park was now a building site. And China Town has no bars only weird looking tea shops. We actually just ended up wandering around for ages, all our feet aching by this point, and trudged back to the bar early to wait for it to open, and actually good job we did as it was already starting to queue to get in.
The bar was called Tonga Room and Hurricane bar, it was essentially a tiki bar but every half an hour had a 'rain show', where thunder, lighting and rain happened above a giant pool in the middle of the room. It was a fun novelty and we shared a giant cocktail.
Yas had reserved us a table that evening at another 'novelty' type restaurant, named AsiaSF we had a three course meal and in-between courses there was a show. The novelty (if you can call it that) being that all the waitresses and performers were lady boys. And Jesus they were hot women. It was a very confusing for all. The highlights of the evening included Lisa having to do a shot out of one of their crotches, but not to be beaten by George having his t-shirt taken off him and nipple licked mid performance.