A plan on the go trip to San Francisco and Las Vegas (Day 1)

It was a free and easy tour...

We managed to cover---> San Francisco city centre (Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf), Las Vegas Strip, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas North Premium Outlet, Yosemite National Park, Livermore Premium Outlet, Napa Valley, Sausalito, Silicon Valley (Google, Apple, Facebook HQ), Half Moon Bay.

And yes, we went without the kids! Hence the flexibility to plan on the go...

SEASON: End of summer, beginning of autumn...

Day 1 

We only confirmed the flight a week before departing as we wanted to redeem the free flights using hubby's KrisFlyer mileage. Even though I had waitlisted for a couple of flights over the few days that we plan to go and choosing different timing (even including connecting flights) , but I did not receive any email from Singapore Airline confirming the flight until a week before departure when I receive quite a few flight that is open for mileage redemption. Hence, the booking and planning does comes a bit last minute as I could not have booked for any hotel and plan the exact itinerary until the flight is confirmed (cons of redeeming free flight)

Therefore, in between confirming the flight and take off, we manage to come out with a rough idea on where we would like to go (decided on San Francisco and Las Vegas so we booked an internal flight from SFO to LAS), and we booked the hotel for our first night in San Francisco and book the following 3 nights stay in Las Vegas. 

After the three nights stay in Vegas, we will be flying back to San Francisco but we have not decided if we would like to go straight to Yosemite National Park or to stay in city centre for a bit before going to Yosemite and exactly where we would like to visit around San Francisco so we decided to hold off any booking of hotel until we are sure where we would like to go. 

And the day comes for us to board SQ32 direct flight to San Francisco. 

FLIGHT TIME: 15 hours
BOARDING TIME: 9.25am 
LANDED AT: 9.30am on the SAME DAY (different time zone)

We flew for 15 hours and the time difference is 15 hours, so we reached at the exact same time as the time we depart :D

We had a pleasant flight (minus the fact that I ended up with backache towards the end of the flight due to the long flight time). The crew that were with us are very pleasant, we were served two hot meals and lots of snacks in between (chips, nuts, pretzel). Sandwiches are available if passenger are not full despite the main meals and snacks. 

The service is good and after writing a feedback, we were given a bag of goodies which consisted of nuts, instant noodle and some souvenirs. 

It was a long flight but we survived with some movies, food, chilling along the aisle, chatting with the air steward and catching on some sleep.


And here we are at SFO International Airport
There was a queue at the custom but we were cleared in less than an hour. We took our luggage and took the hotel shuttle to a nearby hotel (as we are flying to Las Vegas tomorrow so we settled for a hotel which is near the airport).

Our first impression of The United States is the people here are really friendly and helpful. We were waiting for our hotel shuttle and one staff saw that a couple of shuttle bus had passed by and we did not get on. He walked over and wanted to make sure that we were waiting in the right place. And just a couple of minutes later, our shuttle bus arrived and we are on our way to our hotel.

*Shuttle bus to Crowne Plaza San Francisco airport runs every 30 minutes and it is complimentary service by the hotel. 
**If you decide to rent a car, self parking at the hotel cost $20 per day.

Crowne Plaza San Francisco Airport http://www.sfocp.com

Checking in the hotel is fast and we got a voucher for complimentary drinks (house wine, beer or juices) at the bar as hubby is gold member of IHG Rewards Club. 

Our room... I have to say their bed is really comfortable
Some welcome drinks and snacks by the hotel
Free coffee and OMG! They give free Starbucks coffee!!!!

We were exhausted from the flight and not having enough sleep. It was actually lunch time when we reach our hotel and settled in. We were too tired to go out for lunch and it is already midnight time back in Singapore so the jet lag sets in....

We make ourself a cup of coffee and gobble down muffin that we took from the flight for our quick lunch. 

Our lunch...
We doze off in no time and by the time we woke up, it was 4 plus local time. We slept for about 3 hours plus and even though I would like to continue sleeping, I forced myself to wake up so that we could go to the city centre and have some dinner before it gets too dark. I heard that USA is not that safe at night so it is best that we had dinner and come back before it is too late at night. 

Took a nice and warm shower and then we head out to Union Square with Uber. I got a $10 referral fees previously when my friend chose the wrong country when signing up and I did not know that couple of months later, I actually manage to use the $10 referral fees in USA. So we paid $6 for the trip from our hotel to Union Square (after the discount). 

View on the way to city centre
City Centre
Union Square view from 8th floor of Macy's building where The Cheesecake Factory is located. 
For dinner, we went to The Cheesecake Factory near the Union Square. Located on the 8th floor of the Macy's Building, it offers great view of the Union Square. We queue up for a number and were given a device that will vibrate when our turns come. We waited for about 30 minutes and then were shown to our table. There are outdoor and indoor seating and we went for the indoor seating as it is getting a little chilly outside. 

The Cheesecake Factory: http://locations.thecheesecakefactory.com/ca/san-francisco-34.html

Menu
Many selections for cheesecake
Steak
We ordered a steak each, and one cheesecake to share. Generally the portion in the USA is huge so if you have a small/normal appetite, do share with your friends or family. 

Complimentary bread, tasted very good.
Espresso Martini
Hubby's Japanese style steak close up- he says it is very good!
Dinner time :)
My steak close up.

We were very full after our main course, so we share a piece of original cheesecake and it was soooo good and sinful. Yummy!

Original cheesecake
When dining in restaurant, expected gratuities is around 15-22% of the total bill. When you sign the receipt, you just add the gratuities yourself. If the service is amazing then you would give more , otherwise give slightly less. It is a very new culture for us as back in Singapore, service charges and tax are added in the bill when we dine in restaurant hence tips are not a norm.

If you have your meal in a fast food restaurant then no gratuities is expected. Something new to learn while in The States. 

After dinner, we walked around the shops around Union Square area. We saw Apple Store, Walgreens etc. 

Some meds in Walgreen...

Some meds are not displayed on the shelf. Rather, you will have to grab  the card and then buy them at the counter.
Cough syrup 
City tram... when they do a U-Turn, they do it manually...

Blommingdale..
After walking for a bit, we went back to the hotel with Uber. If there is more than 1 pax, Uber is actually cheaper than their MRT and definitely faster too. 

Once back in the hotel, we went for our complimentary drinks (beer and house wine) and then FaceTime our kiddos before going to bed.

Tomorrow we will be catching a morning flight to Las Vegas. 

Good Night :)

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