Special Guest Post by James
As someone who never did a J1, I really didn’t know what to expect.
Its been a holiday of firsts for me – First trip to America, first transatlantic flight, first two week holiday with friends.
My trip began at 3am on July 1st (Irish time) when I hit off for Dublin Airport. Apprehensive but excited. After a short stop in London Heathrow, I began the 11 hour flight to San Francisco. The tone of the holiday was set when I was greeted by a “Cllr James O’Sullivan” sign in the arrival section of San Francisco International.
First impressions of San Francisco and, in particular, 222 Moultrie Street were pretty fantastic. The group have managed to get a great place, in a brilliant location. After the bags were dropped off, we headed downtown. I spent much of the first few days saying, “wow”, “look at that”, “they have that”, and “the yanks really know how to live” etc. After getting a sandwich from Ike’s we headed to Dolores park. I have been struck by disbelief at many points during this trip, but never more so than then. From an Irish point of view it, the idea that a huge group of people could sit around, having beers, in a public park on a Friday afternoon seems crazy. But the atmosphere was electric. A brilliant way to start the holiday.
It would be impossible to record anything we’ve done over the two weeks but here are some of the highlights:
Going to Fisherman’s Warf was pretty cool. A real tourist trap for sure, but good to see. The cycle across the golden gate bridge was something I’ll always remember. Of course, we were wrecked by the time we made it to Tiburon. But it had a real adventure feel to it.
I was lucky that my trip coincided with the 4th of July. The atmosphere was great at the fireworks. Brilliant to be able to experience it on my first trip to America.
How could I not mention dinner in Hooters. After much discussion (and gently persuasion by a particular someone) we headed for Hooters!
Making a homemade monopoly set and having a group sauna are definitely two things I will never forget. The random banter was unbelievable.
In true American fashion we went to a baseball game. It was Giants vs. Mets in AT&T park. After four hours, two beers, and chicken & chips, I finally understood the game.
Dinner in the House of Nan King was superb. After being shouted at by the waitress we eventually made our orders. The food is just thrown out onto the tables in no order at all. Everyone digs in and has a bit of everything. Brilliant place. You quickly learn why there is normally a queue out the door.
There have of course been so many other great experience, such as, two trips to the outlets, a night out in the Ambassador, the peddle boats, some four loko and, of course, many many deadly sessions.
All of the above of one thing in common, I’ve done them with an amazing group of friends. Its been great to catch up with everyone again. Greystones has certainly been quiet since they left. Since I arrived, I’ve been made feel so welcome. Everyone has gone out of there way to make sure I had a great holiday. Even when I was eating their food, taking up space in room, or storing shopping in their wardrobe, they were great.
Its been the holiday of a lifetime and certainly one I’ll never forget.
Thanks everyone (your all absolute legends!)