Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
27.5.12 29 °C
My flight from Las Vegas, Nevada to San Franciso, California took off at 6:30am the morning of Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 and landed at 7:58am of the same day. My window seat ticket (surprised?) cost me $116.00 and we were in the air for a total of one hour and 34 minutes. There was a high school marching band on my flight, all grouped together, and they had no qualms about starting up conversations with the other patrons on the plane. Needless to say, I had a lovely conversation with around 14 teenagers for the entire trip, which was super enjoyable. I remember how exciting it used to be back in high school to go on school trips, let alone trips ones that required the use of an airplane. Their spirit certainly reinvigorated my own. Once we landed, a short cab ride from the airport took me directly to my accommodations for the night, at the Hotel Nikko, located in the downtown core of San Francisco. It cost me roughly $141.00 a night, and the room was fully equipped with everything to make for a relaxing and enjoyable stay. One I unpacked a little, and freshened up, I was ready to embark upon the last leg of my trip, and tour around the historic city of San Francisco.
The first thing on my list of sight-seeing was, of course, a trip to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. It is the most photographed bridge in all of North America, and once I got there, I could see why. The landscape itself is something that sent shivers down my spine, and I was sure to capture all of it's beauty on my camera. The bridge is accessible to people on foot, bike, and in vehicles. I decided that it was a must-do to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, and snap a few photos of the view from the very middle. It was quite windy on the bridge, and I almost blew away a few times. It didn't cost me anything to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, but I couldn't help but leaving the site wondering why it's named that, when the bridge itself isn't even gold!
The next thing I felt like I had to visit while in the gorgeous city of San Fransisco was Alcatraz Island, located in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Home to a maximum security prison, up until 1963, the island now serves as a tourist destination. Guided walking tours are available, and I was lucky enough to have been able to join a tour group, for only roughly $20.00. I have read quite a few books on the folklore and history of the Alcatraz prison and island, so being able to visit and explore around it in person was a special treat. I'm sure everyone on the tour felt a slight eeriness that is still ever-present while visiting Alcatraz Island, and although I wanted to continue to learn and explore the island, I wasn't upset to any degree when it was time to head out.
I then headed a short way toward San Francisco City Hall, a place that really hits home hard for me, as a queer and trans rights activist. Standing on the steps that Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in the United States, once stood on, as he was transforming the city into a place of acceptance rather than tolerance, I completely lost it. I never dreamed, in a million years, that I would be lucky enough to visit the place that brought about such great change that I can live openly and freely as who I am, thousands of miles away in Ontario, Canada. But there I was, standing on the steps that Harvey Milk always insisted to take, rather than taking the elevator, in attempt to always make a 'fabulous entrance'. I feel that this was the epitome of the entire trip, and wrapped everything up wonderfully, as there was nothing left to see or do that I had set out to that I hadn't gotten a chance to.
I decided to talk through the area known as 'The Castro' near the Castro Theater, where a group of young men and women began to voice the opinions that would forever change the world as they knew it, for the better. The work that was done within the 4 city blocks of the Castro was done not in the name of Harvey Milk or any other well known activist, it was done so that people like me, a young adult, in Canada, or Antarctica, or Venezuela can be free to be who they are, without fear of violence or judgement. Walking home through the city I have idolized since I was 13 years old, and reminiscing about every single event that had taken place over the last week and a half, I knew that when I returned home tomorrow morning at 9:35am that my life would never be the same. The things I've been blessed enough to have seen, done, learned, and explored will stick with my throughout all the days of my life.
I will take one thing away from My Dream Trip Around the World, and that is that if you dream it, you can achieve it