Friendly people and dogs…

Everywhere we’ve been in San Francisco we’ve encountered two things: friendly people and dogs.

The friendly people aren’t just from California. They’re from all over the world. Some work and live here, others are visiting like we are. But everybody who has said hello and chatted to us has been upbeat and positive. I think San Francisco encourages the optimist out in you. Yesterday we met Brenda and Derek from Bournemouth on the boat trip, who were visiting San Francisco on the last leg of an 8-week round-the-world trip. We also met several friendly buskers around Fisherman’s Wharf and a bloke in Union Square who told us about Tony Bennett and took our photo for us. Today we met a very lovely Chinese man (and his dog) at the viewing point overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, who told us about his favourite places in his city. The lady at The Warming Hut (a fab cafe at the edge of Crissy Field near the bridge) asked us about Birmingham. And the busker entertaining the queue of people waiting for the cable car at Victoria Park remembered us from yesterday.

Dogs are everywhere: being walked (or carried) around Union Square, running with their jogging owners along Marina Street, playing on the beach by Crissy Field and riding the Muni trolley buses. They are all shapes and sizes and by and large are well-behaved and as friendly as their owners. San Franciscans LOVE their dogs. There’s even a ‘doggie couture’ boutique in Ghirardelli Square, selling everything your sartorially elegant pooch could possibly want!

One thing both friendly people and their dogs have in common is that you feel how happy they are to have you here. And that will be great for Book 5’s protagonist Nell Sullivan, because she visits San Francisco after being made redundant in her home city of London. After being used to the impersonality and avoidance of eye contact there, San Francisco will be the polar opposite – the difference enough to make her take a different view of herself and how she communicates with her world. I want Nell to experience a place where the best is expected for her, where she can allow herself to believe that anything is possible and where she dares to step outside of her comfort zone to discover what she’s capable of…

More tomorrow! xx

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