This story will be the last installment of my graduation trip to the States back in 2009!
If you miss the earlier posts in the series, make sure you follow our adventures:
I really regretted not writing down this post as soon as I got back from San Fran to keep the memories fresh. It’s been a decade since the trip and I still remember it as one of the best times I’ve ever had! San Francisco was wonderful and everything (and then some) that I expected.
It has been a great trip up to that point: having fun at Disneyland and visiting the heart of Los Angeles; Sea World and making new friends at San Diego; experiencing the high energy and the friendliest people while welcoming the new year in Vegas; and mostly, having the best time with my best friends. I can’t think of any other 2 people who would make this trip as epic and eventful as them. They’re spontaneous, crazy, social, fun and always up for anything!
We left Vegas by Greyhound bus to a city called Barstow to meet a longtime friend of mine who would pick us up and drive us to San Fran. I could go on another full-length post about my friend Todd whom I knew for a few years by then. He and I met online; obviously didn’t think we would have stayed friends for as long as we did. We’ve never met each other in person either, and my friends were teasing me whether he would really show up.
Or worse, if he would end up kidnapping us and selling us as sex slaves or something.
Well, I know it probably sounds crazy to ‘rely’ on someone you only knew online. But then again, we have been talking for a while and I am a pretty good judge of character… most of the times.
So, I remember us waiting for him at Barstow while having lunch at Panda Express. Well, the pit stop where we got dropped off by the bus had nothing else but Panda Express and maybe a couple of touristy gift shops.
I remember being tired and sleepy because well, those bus ride was never really that much fun, because the three of us ended up sitting away from each other. The ride took hours, and plus, if you didn’t get to sit by the window, you couldn’t really see anything else outside. So you’d just end up sleeping or dozing off.. (well, who can really sleep, really?)
Anyway. I’m rambling..
And Todd showed up! I had imagined our first encounter would be kinda awkward but it wasn’t at all. Three of us ended up having a laugh while trying to pile up our suitcases in his car trunk it wouldn’t fit because there were just too many of them! (One of my friend’s luggage was this huge pink suitcase and we spent legit, half and hour trying to fit everything in.) Some of our bags (probably my luggage) had to go to the passengers seat too so poor thing, my two friends were squeezing themselves back there.
What do you expect from 3 girls on a long trip? The clothes, shoes, make-up..
The California Roadtrip
It was afternoon by the time we started driving and we didn’t reach our hotel in San Fran ’til night time. It was a long but peaceful drive; I tried not to fall asleep to keep Todd company. The song California from Phantom Planet was playing on the radio and that moment? Oh my god, it was magical.
It was the most quintessential moment ever; you watched many shows and read books about people taking road trips in the States – and THAT was exactly how I imagined it to be.
Us, driving across the state and singing along to CALIFORNIAAAAAAA HERE WE COME!
(Stop reading this post for a moment and listen to that song!) Yeah, that song was the soundtrack of our youth – the metaphor of being young and carefree and not worrying about anything else, and friendship and puppy love.
Us checking in our hotel was funny too cos Todd was with us 3 girls and after we checked in, he asked for a room too. The guy at the concierge was smirking and giving him the ‘way to go dude’ look. Haha! Because we would be there for a few days, he decided to stay for a few days too to have fun together.
It was probably around 8pm but for us, the night was still young! We wanted to experience the city as quickly as we could and not waste time!
Sleep? Who needs sleep?
Partying It Up!
We made plans with a friend that we met in San Diego who happened to be in town too. We decided to go to a club called Holy Cow.
It was a typical American bar with some pool tables at the corner, dancing area and stage that’s filled with people. Everyone was super nice and friendly. I don’t know how but we ended up dancing on the stage with this dude and 2 girls. We had a great time partying!
The club closed early there though. So we were pretty surprised that the lights were on by like 1 or 2am. In Singapore, the party was just heating up by that time! We went to a nearby shop to get sandwiches for supper instead, and we went home.
Golden Gate Bridge
The next day, we had plans to check out Golden Gate Bridge, spent some time at the bay and then went to Fisherman’s Wharf in the evening. San Fran was seriously a pretty city; we ended up walking all the way to Golden Gate and we’re glad we did.
The houses and the notorious ‘slopes’ – when else would we be able to experience that? We were walking by the bay, and saw many locals running and walking with their dogs (even police on horses too!) Everyone just seems so chill and down-to-earth.
By the way, I want to preface this by saying that this was taken a decade ago so, as you can see, the camera quality.. uhm, left a lot to be desired. It’s not like we were bad photographer!
At night, we had dinner at Bubba Gump at Pier 39 and it was wonderful!
At night, we also got to ride on the notorious San Fran tram. How pretty and exciting!
The Next Epic Party
Of course we wanted to go out and party that night, so we called up our friend, Todd called his friend and 6 of us all went to a club called The Temple. This was a bigger club with two storeys – bars and dancing areas on the ground and more chilling-out areas with couches on the second.
My friends and I wore the same touristy white t-shirts that says I Heart San Francisco – very dorky but hey we’re tourists so we could get away with anything!
We planned this beforehand to buy matchy shirts to wear. Our friends who saw the three of us together when we first finished getting ready at the hotel were cracking up. We looked like twins!
It was a prop too cos everyone stopped me in the club everytime I was walking through and yell I LOVE SAN FRANCISCO TOO! Then we would fist bump, or throw peace signs and laughed.
This night was probably one of the most fun we’ve had in terms of partying throughout the trip! That says a lot, given the amount of times we’ve gone partying. 😉
We stayed til the club closed and we continued drinking at the hotel. Suddenly the memories of me chugging down shots of Jaeger Bomb came back like a flash flood!
How was I such a badass back then, and now I get high from just 3 glasses of beers!
The Day After
We had almost a full day the next day cos our flight was almost at midnight. We woke up, slightly hungover but we gotta check-out and find places we could go before our flight.
We already bidded bye to our San Diego friend by then, and Todd had to drive back early too if he wanted to reach home before dark. So his friend that partied with us the night before ended up spending the day with us. He let us put our suitcases in his place too.
I don’t really remember where we went exactly but we took a walk that afternoon and just explored and soaked in this beautiful city for the last time. We stopped by an Irish bar where we met his friends and by the time we were done, it was probably like late in the evening. Exhausted, we went back to his house and pretty much took a few hours of nap before we had to order a cab to take us to the airport.
Three of us were legit, feeling sad about having to go back. We didn’t wanna leave yet and we loved the city so much and the friends we just made.
By the time we reached Singapore, our holiday might be over but we would always share the bond of that memorable graduation trip that we would never forget.
The getting-lost and pulling cops over for help.
The walking around in heels all day.
The late night hunt for Malibu.
The long hours of queuing for cabs on New Year.
The long greyhound rides.
The late night gossips and talks in the hotel rooms.
All the people we met and the places we’ve been.
And most of all, the fun we’ve had and memories we’ve shared.
Our motto at that time which we kept reciting every chance we got: Living Life!
So that concludes the story of my unforgettable graduation trip when I was just 21 years old. I often look back and feel very blessed that I’ve got to have these moments.
It’s just words now, but hope that my excitement shone through this writing and I can’t wait to share more stories because I’ve got plenty!