Saturday, January 5

San Francisco Deja Vu

I went to my favorite town the same time last year and this was almost a repeat of that experience,  though God knows I tried to make it otherwise. I didn't get to do the things I wanted to do last time so thy are still on the list but I managed to more or less straighten a heaving mess at a my friends house, connected with an old friend and we complained about my idiot brother. Learned another old friend died. This happened last year and frankly, from now on, I should just avoid checking my e -mail while on vacation.

The train trip down was delayed but uneventful with the full moon following us through the snowy mountains. I watched it rise at the Eugene Station and set in Sacromento. Nice book ends.

If you want to enjoy good weather in SF I recommend the end of December. It rained a bit Friday night and Saturday morning but was gloriously sunny the rest of the time. The best way to get around SF is the transit system. MUNI is one of the best. On my way to Golden Gate Park for a day of frolicking I rode the streetcar and got off at the Forrest Hill Station which is under the biggest hill in town. I looked at the elevators and decided the stairs would do. Big mistake. Lots of stairs, lots of panting for a fat, out shape woman like yours truly. I noticed strange cannon like objects on the walls and realized they were surveillance cameras encased in steel. When I reached street level the station attendant, a nice large black woman, approached me.

"Why didn't you use the elevator?" she asked.

"I thought they were for the handicapped." I panted.

"Say what?" was her incredulous reply.

"Um, I'm sorry I thought they were for smart people." How embarrassing, I thought.

"Say what?" was all she could manage while shaking her head at the crazy white chick. I realized she must have watched my slow ascent on the camera.

It was that kind of day.

The park was crowded and after a hour long ride on a rented bike I walked back thru the park past a asphalt roller rink where the locals were putting on a show with their flashy moves. In a pasture near the playground there was a regular, informal drum gathering by the looks of it, also putting on a show. Everyone was having fun.

Once out of the park I walked too far along Haight street looking for my favorite sandwich place, the Pork Store Cafe. The messy BLT with avocado was worth it. The street was so crowded and I was so tired I never had a chance to peek into the many boutiques and shops along the way. Next time.

I finally drag my friend out of the house along with her daughter and we head over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands for a stunning view of the bridge and city.

When you go to SF you will notice- you can't miss it- a tall structure on top of one of the twin peaks - Sutro Tower was built in the 70's as a microwave communications tower that domains the skyline but like the Effiel tower in Paris, no one in town notices it. Near my friends house it doesn't look that impressive but from the headlands it's dominance becomes apparent.

It's ignored by the citizens. It's never decorated with lights for holidays, no flags hang on it, it's always the same faded colors. I mean they could put a restaurant there if people and microwaves didn't mix ( "Where you and the food are well cooked" would not draw in patrons).

San Francisco is a major foodie town. I had Chines at Alice's Restaurant -no, not that one. Sushi on New Years Eve at Osaka and breakfast at the tiny Orphan Andy's at the corner of Castro and Market. I dined there with two old friends. One of whom was using a knee scooters. She hurt her foot on the way to a Springsteen concert then when shopping afterwards. She didn't know it was broken until she went to the doctor days later. Ballsy.

I walked around Golden Gate Park, a botanical garden in Walnut Creek and the old neighborhood of Haight and Pierce where the family lived in the 1970's.

Despite missing out on the Alcatraz tour and The Tonga Room at the Fairmont I knew I had a great time because I had a smile on my face where ever I went.

I can't wait to go back.

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