First observations are that it’s far more spacious & sunny than NY.
There’s hills. and homelessness. Amazing architecture. Pretty parklands. Cable cars. And finally decent coffee!
I noticed more gays, Asians and surprisingly, a lot of people in wheelchairs.
It’s the perfect place for a livid lesbian or an aging activist. If you want a soapbox, you’ll find one here, complete with an audience… I witnessed a few mini protests.
I was relieved to see they take their recycling seriously here. Not like NYC where, as Angie pointed out you’ll buy a coke and they’ll give you a straw wrapped in paper, then throw it that into a plastic bag with a dozen napkins. None of which you need. Except maybe the can of coke. And even then, thats dubious.
So, I ended up in San Fran twice, the weekend before meeting up with Martin and then again, after Vegas.
It turns out it’s the sort of place I could return to again and again. The deeper you dig, the more you’ll find. It’s colorful, diverse, rich with historical moments & strong linkages to famous people. Harvey Milk, Joe DiMaggio, Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Keraouc, and the beat goes on. It’s a pretty city, people are friendly and food is good.
The first weekend I stayed at Faith’s beautiful house close to the Mission. She has two lovely flatmates who very generous in letting me stay in her room. Faith unfortunately, was in New York. I met Matt at Mojo Cafe and we shared a bit of banter. He shouted me a lovely beer by the name of Death & Taxes, made by a local couple.
Next day I did the hop on hop off bus. I wouldn’t normally, but SF is quite spread out and rather hilly. There are also 4 different types of transport not including the cable car, so it was just an easy way to get my bearings, see a bit of the city and get some interesting insights into the history.
I went down to Fisherman’s Wharf for a seafood lunch (touristy) and then linked up with Matt for a couple of cocktails and my first ever furnet at a cool lil dig called Davla.
Next day, a nice Russian brekky and the perfect coffee at a place called Bluebottle.
I spent some time ambling through the Beat Museum, and was fortunate enough to stumble into a room where some journalist students were interviewing an 83 year old woman by the name of ruth weiss who was part of the whole scene back in the day. I shared a beer with an old hippie, Hal and made my way to Oakland.
I’d been invited to a barbie by a girl I’d met in Turkey. Maya and I had stayed in touch the old fashioned way and I was seeing her and meeting her husband and kids (she’d just given birth to their second the week before!) for the first time since 1998. It was just super to catch up.
On Monday, I finally got to see Faith over The Best French Toast I’ve ever had. I later did the Alcatraz tour (this is a must do even if you’re not into tours) and then caught the cable car up the hill to meet up with Faith & her sister and friends for dinner. This form of transport makes you feel transported…hanging off the sides, imagined I was a philosophy student back in the 60s, with flowers in her hair.
On Tuesday I flew to Las Vegas to meet Martin for a bit of fear and loathing. But that’s a whole ‘nother story…
We arrived back in SF quite late on Thurs evening and were absolutely desperate for food that was fresh, included nutrients of any description and didn’t involve cheese, sour cream, heavy sauce or fries. Or a packet of crisps as a non-specified, no requested side (WTF). We were lucky to happen upon a late night ramen noodle place with a small queue of Japanese people. Always a good sign. Some melt in your mouth sashimi, green soya beans, and clean spicy soup hit the spot.
Next day, the weather was a bit dodgy, so we treated ourselves to a luxurious massage in a beautiful old hotel at the top of Nob Hill. The pool (not snooker) room had glorious views over the city, and it started fining up.
We decided to bike over the Golden Gate bridge (thanks for the tip, jendowd). I was all like, a bridge is just a bridge is just a bridge… but up close, I realized not all bridges are created equal. It’s a gorgeous piece of modern architecture. I stopped many times to take in the scenery and photos of the bridge itself.
A short ferry ride from Sausalito afforded us a different view of Alcatraz, and the pretty cityscape. It was almost ruined by a godawful ugly snogging couple sitting opposite us. Why ugly people feel the need to engage in PDAs is completely beyond me. We moved seats.
We met up with Faith and her friends for cocktails (mixology is a very serious business in this city and I’ve developed a taste for smoky tequila cocktails.)
On Saturday we had decent enough yum cha (although nothing like the Golden Unicorn in Maroubra).
We visited Martin’s old stomping ground in the colorful Castro, sunned ourselves in Mission Delores park and strolled thru a Latin American festival before hitting up an old bikers bar with Melissa, one of Faith’s flatmates.
Early evening, Martin’s old uni friend, Nicola met us downtown, and Martin shouted us all a beautiful steak & a nice glass of red at a a cute little French restaurant.
Our last day we had a traditional American breakfast in an old 50s style diner complete with checkered floors, red leather barstools and a waitress who looked like she just stepped out of a scene from Happy Days.
And then we started off for the southern Californian leg of our holiday together…