Global Passport –
Having a European or an American passport makes travelling really really easy. We Desis have to first fill long forms, apply, pay and then wait for days to get our visas. In this section, I tell you about the visa formalities and process.
Although US visa process is a tad different from most of the other countries.
There is an online application that you need to fill and submit with a photograph on their official website. It’s called DS-160; it’s a very lengthy form and asks you more questions than Arnab asks his guests on that show. It will cost you approx. $160 and you make the payment online.
US visa process and its interview is over hyped amongst us Desis, trust me it’s not that bad. In fact, it is the easiest and the quickest of the lot.
Living up to the hype I took 49534 documents with me on the date of my appointment and they didn’t even open that envelope. The lady just asked me why was I going, she smiled and said – “Ok, you’ve got the visa” after my reply.
Not only that, they return the passport in 3 to 5 working days.
Tickets and Wanderlust –
If you’re wander lusting about San Francisco then the tickets would cost you about AED 6000 for a direct roundtrip. It’s about 15 hours and 40 mins away.
The best time to visit San Francisco is from September to November. Autumn offers warm temperatures and fewer crowds. Spring is another good time, but you can expect the breezes to have a little more bite. The Golden Gate City witnesses a surge in tourism during the summer as people head west in search of sun, sand, and surf.
Backpack and Stories –
I like waking up in new cities, I like talking to a lot of people, I like learning a different way of living and travel makes it all possible. I hardly plan my trips, I never book any tours or research about a place on the internet. I believe if I read reviews and see pictures of a place online then it will kill the element of surprise for me and also I would know what to expect. I like being surprised and San Francisco was a perfect one for me. This place has got everything, nightlife, buzz, beaches, amazing restaurants, headquarters of Facebook/Twitter and HOMELESS PEOPLE. Yes! San Francisco is going through a homeless crisis. So, I decided to talk to most of the homeless and I came across this guy called Cacie. Unlike the others, this guy was always sober and would always compliment people around him. Here you go – Cacie telling you his story –
“I used to work at a farm with my dad in a small town here in the USA. Me and my wife Lena moved here to make some more money. We were married for 13 years. She found a rich guy and left me like this. If she saw this I would like to tell her – I still love her.” – Cacie
That last line almost made me cry.
Been there done that –
I love San Francisco for its food. Also, have you noticed I haven’t yet used the word, San Fran, I would suggest you shouldn’t as well. Locals don’t like calling San Francisco that. It’s a name given by the tourists.
1 – Fisherman’s wharf – More than 75 percent of San Francisco’s visitors include Fisherman’s Wharf on their itinerary. Waterfront marketplaces and the Wharf’s famous fishing fleet make for a terrific fish story. Fishing boats, sea lions chilling in the sun, seafood stalls, steaming crab cauldrons, seafood restaurants, and sourdough French bread bakeries. Just be a little careful of the seagulls when eating outdoors.
2 – Take the tram ride – San Francisco is made up of 49 square miles of long boulevards, curvy streets, hidden alleyways and lots of hills. The best way to see the city is to take a tram.
3 – Union Square – Where history meets fashion.
4 – Sunset Cruise – If you like sunset more than sunrise then San Francisco will not fail to amaze you.
5 – Alkatraz – Step back in time and experience the legendary island that has been a civil war fort, a military prison and one of the most notorious federal penitentiaries in US history. Make sure to book way in advance.
6 – Art Tour – This city has some amazing artists and some beautiful art galleries. Most of the art is displayed on the streets.
7 – Stinking Rose – If you love garlic this is the place you would want to settle down at. Everything is made of Garlic, right from the main course to desserts. Even the ice cream, make sure to eat a lot of mint post your visit.
8 – Of course – The Golden Gate Bridge – This bridge can be seen from everywhere, try and trek till the top, where no tourist bus/coach goes and this is the view you will get.