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IF YOU’RE GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO…

IT’S TYPICAL; YOU WAIT DECADES TO FIND THE RIGHT MAN AND THEN WHEN YOU DO, A FEW MONTHS LATER, HE TELLS YOU HE HAS TO MOVE TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD. SO WHAT’S A BOY TO DO? FOLLOW HIS HEART TO SAN FRANCISCO, OF COURSE
IMAGES > JURRIAAN TEULINGS & SFMOMA

It was just my luck: last year, I fell in love with an American man while he was living in London. Before long, his visa expired and he had to move back to his former home of San Francisco to find work. We made a commitment to stick with the relationship, and I try to look on the positive side. Just how bad can it be? After all, my boyfriend’s moving to one of the most exciting cities in the world. It’s a vibrant cultural hub that surely will appeal to me as I’ve spent most of my career working in arts broadcasting or journalism. It was the setting for Armistead Maupin’s famous Tales of the City novels, which inspired me to write my own fiction. And it’s a city with a rich LGBT history and one of the most famous gay neighbourhoods in the world, the almost-mythical Castro.

TRANSAMERICA PYRAMID SKYSCRAPER, WITH ALCATRAZ IN THE BACKGROUND

After an 11-hour flight I start my first day in the city trying to conquer my jetlag with a run along the Embarcadero. In some ways this palm tree-lined promenade reminds me of the seafront in Barcelona, while its warehouses and wharfs are reminiscent of the port area in Buenos Aires, and the old trams that rattle along it put me in mind of a much classier version of Blackpool. But none of these places can boast a colony of sea lions, which is what you get if you visit the end of Pier 39.

WRITER MATT CAIN AND HIS OWN MICHAEL TOLLIVER

Apparently there have always been sea lions in San Francisco Bay, but they started to haul out on the docks of the pier in 1989 and haven’t budged since. There are hundreds when I visit and it’s a delight to watch them frolicking in the earlymorning sun, despite their strong stench of fish.

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