Everything you could possibly know about California.
- Fish Tacos – not canned tuna on an Old El Paso taco kit, as I had previously imagined, but a glorious beer battered fish cocktail smothered in guacamole.
- Social Security – Centrelink, Medicare and the ATO combined. Located in San Francisco’s shadiest neighbourhood. It’s usually a three hour wait, and you can’t eat in there, but you are allowed to bring your pets, so if you get desperate, I’m sure there’s a homeless person who can show you how to skin a chihuahua.
- Minor celebrities – I met this man in a bar last night. Yes, that is a Grammy. No, he is not Ray from Girls.
- Cheap booze – 750mL of vodka: $5.95. 12 cans of beer: $6.99. Bottle of wine: $3.27. Liver disease: priceless.
- Minimum wages – Before I left, I would periodically freak out about working in a job that only paid $19/hr, and wonder how I would be able to survive on my savings while on exchange. Now, I’m writing this while working my campus job. I earn $12/hr, one of the highest unskilled wages in the United States.
- Internet banking – Nope, stop there. No need to go any further. This doesn’t exist. But hey, there’s always Walmart.
- Ben & Jerry’s – Always carry a spoon, because you never know when one of these will pop up.
- Rednecks – Admittedly, they’re few and far between in a city like San Francisco. That’s what makes it feel so special when one grinds on you in a bar, like you’re the most beautiful girl in a Linkin Park video clip. Add extra points for excessive body odour and an American flag bandana.
- Sunsets – Like watching the sunrise at Bondi, but you don’t have to be in last night’s clothes. Or do, whatever.
- Dairy products – Milk is fine, but yoghurt and cheese are a character building experience.
- Laundromats – In a city so obsessed with environmental activism, the humble Hills Hoist (or any of its less advanced counterparts) is very rare. If you’re not into re-wearing your undies and can’t afford to pay for a surrogate mum to was your clothes, find your local coin laundry. Checkered floors mandatory, rats optional, homeless person sleeping guaranteed.
I’m in San Francisco until June, and I still haven’t bought a return ticket so I’m not sure when I’ll be back in Sydney, sorry mum.