I unpacked my suitcase a couple of days ago and gathered together all of the souvenirs I bought and collected along the way. All together it’s a pretty little mountain of memories but I separated them into their respective cities to photograph.

On my travels I found out a few nibbles of information for other tourists planning to go as well; which I hope people find useful.

I’ll start witht LA, since it was the first stop.20130821-173357.jpgThese are the only souvenirs I took away from LA, it wasn’t my main focus of the trip and we were on the tour bus most of the time which limited physically going into shops and looking at stuff but I insisted on going to The Annenberg Space For Photography to see the Helmut Newton retrospective. If I had the money I’d have purchased a book but with no cash or credit it meant I had to miss out; but I did get a postcard and a quick shot of the interior which I want to share at a later date.

In LA, the tour bus company we went with has a vast network of routes to go on, all included in one price. You can go round West Hollywood, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Downtown LA, through Santa Monica and up and down Venice Beach. If you got up early enough you could go to Venice for a morning skate and eat in Chinatown for tea.

The second stop, and my main interest, was San Francisco. I love this city, so much going on and too much to see in 5 days.20130821-173402.jpgNow unfortunately I couldn’t fit every souvenir in the shot and I can’t talk about everything so I’ll just talk about one or two items.

The map in the picture is by far the most useful I came across whilst I was in San Fran. Nearly every other tourist map I picked up is “compressed” from Octavia which isn’t useful for planning walks or even gauging where a tour bus will stop because every other block is omitted from it to save space. This map isn’t compressed so everything is visible, very handy. If you can find this map hold onto it, I know I will.

We found out that the real Chinatown is on Stockton, the rest is all for show: so if you want some really good food, find a place on Stockton. One interesting fact about Chinatown is that the gate, which I never got time to find, was a gift from China and it’s the twin of the one in Manchester; a city 40 miles away from my home town. It would have been nice to produce a diptych of the two gates but I never went down the right street, I might do it next time I go.

One more thing, Muni bus tickets are $2 no matter where you go in the city, one ticket can take you everywhere so long as you use it before the rip, it’s amazingly cheap and not used by tourists so you can see and talk to the people of San Fran at the same time. The transit map on the bus stops looks daunting at first but once you know where you’re going and if you briefly study the map listed above you can’t get lost: even me with no sense of direction.

Onto Vegas, the last leg and the one stop I’ve been to before so I wasn’t that bothered about going out after sun bathing.20130821-173406.jpgThe only upside of going to Vegas this time was being able to drink and gamble, even if I only went on penny slots.

I guess now I just have to wait to get the rolls developed so I can scan some shots from the trip. I hope it’s not too long before I get to go back to SF, I want to go in the winter next time.