Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pacific Heights, The Marina, and Geek Heaven...

Day 5 - The Black Sword in the City of Saint Francis


The girls have flown the coop home and now it's just E.F. and me left to have time together. We all finally recovered and got up at about the same time, said our goodbyes and that left me to prepare for the day ahead. Showered, shaved, dressed and I'm off to Eddie's for breakfast. The ladies all give me their hello's and ask me why I'm coming in so much. I tell them about my travels in The City and how I'm blogging about it. It's so cute. The main manager asks, "Are you writing about us?" and I tell them yes but only good things which makes them laugh. I then give them my URL for my blog and invite them to read about it. The breakfast is good and I'm on my way, drop back to the flat after I remember I need a small USB cable, then it's back to Divisidero to catch the bus...#24 Line to Pacific Heights and the Marina districts.

While I was at breakfast I had to take care of two other things. First, I just had to take some ALEAVE to take care of my walking pains. Oh well, I'm not 25 anymore you know. Second was a complete surprise. I got a friend request on Facebook from Jackie Jones. Now I had a familiarity with that name but it had been a long time. Suddenly it hits me that it's a former student. I accept the request and it hits me again how many students I've taught in my life.... In the next few years it will be almost 5000!

I find the stop for the #24 Line bus, climb on with music from my iPod in my ears this time around, and cruise on down Divisidero to Jackson and Fillmore in Pacific Heights. Right at the stop is this little coffee shop named Tully's Coffee.... Ah, perfect place to stop, plan and write. And so here we are....


Fillmore looks like it's kind of a main drag for traffic so I head off on Jackson street. This is the bedroom part of Pacific Heights as I see street after street of upper middle to upper class apartments until I start to get toward the top of the hill. Almost there and at Jackson and Octavia I spy a road with bricks instead of asphalt with huge planters of brick and concrete in the middle of the street. The residences are huge, beautifully manicured, and no doubt worth millions. The flowers growing on the edges of the properties are lovely.... And yet even here I find a place that looks as though it has been in somewhat of a state of abandonment and disrepair.

I decide to head on up Octavia until I reach Washington. Here I find Lafayette Park. The vies are spectacular but the fog has still not burned off yet. People are in the park even now though walking their dogs and letting them play together. A puppy of a German Shepard ambles on over to me. I put out my hand, he sniffs, wags his tail, and off he runs away to play. Cute.

To live in Pacific Heights I'm pretty sure that the closer you get to the park the more you have to have a last name like Rockefeller which I just don't even dream about being able to live in this part of San Francisco.

I wind my way around to Gough, twist on down Broadway for a while, down Laguna, turn on Vallejo, down Franklin to Union. Now this is the part of The City on the border between Pacific Heights and the Marina District that seems to be really hopping! I've strolled up to Van Ness and then down the other way to Webster. Along the way I stop to talk with this Red Cross volunteer named Sarah who is a recent transplant from Chicago. We have a fun time talking about Chicago and her move to San Francisco evidently only 6 months ago. We talk a little bit of the politics of charity and giving. I try to help her out by saying I'll post her picture in her Red Cross vest and asking friends to give before a disaster occurs.... She can't because she's not an "official" representative of the organization. That's kinda hinckey as far as I'm concerned. I say goodbye and I'm off again.

Finally I stop at this little shop called Cocoa Bella Chocolates and have the BEST hot chocolate I have ever had in my life! Seriously, no hyperbole intended. Whipped whole milk, whipped dark chocolate in it with raspberry flavoring.... I'm in food heaven. It's been good so far. Perhaps it's time to stroll down to The Marina for lunch...


Worked my down to The Marina District for lunch. I've never really strolled off the beaten path down here. It's usually been that I go down to the water and muck around down there. But, here I am on Chestnut and Divisidero at a restaurant called A16 having a fabulous time talking with the bartender after eating a great lunch. I get the Zuppa di zucca, a fantastic Italian Red wine and we start talking about how he came out here to San Francisco from Salt Lake City. The discussion invariably turns to how The City has changed his outlook for the year that he's lived here. The talking reminds me of some of my readings and studies on the nature of cities ( see my blogging on The Triumph of the City and The Rise of the Creative Class). Well, it's 2:30 almost and I need to explore some more before getting home to finish the blog and post before my friend gets back from work.


I decide to stroll down Divisadero to get to the marina proper but as I near Beach Street, I look left and there’s the Palace of Fine Art. Oh holy crap. The Exploratorium is there. If I go there now, I’ll be spending hours being a geek in a geek store. Ah! What the hell. I start down the street and every step takes me closer to the domed colonnade of the Palace grounds where the Exploratorium awaits.

When I get to the Exploratorium, I get my ticket, walk in and just do what geeks do best for the next two hours. Displays on vortecies, making giant smoke, rings, massive lenses, weird doll houses with wacked out perspectives, and too many fun things to even recount here no matter how hard I’d try. It does dawn on me that I should keep track of when the Exploratorium is moving and see if I can somehow finagle my way into getting at least one Honors Science field trip to the place next year.

I look at my watch (dammit) and realize it’s 4:15. Time to leave. I check my iPhone for location and time of the next #22 Line bus and where the nearest bus stop is, then make my way about 8 blocks to Fillmore and Beach. When I get there, I run into this couple of tourists from New York who ask me if this is the #22 bus and the right bus stop and I reassure them it is. We start chit chatting about the differences in the cities and the coasts and they assure me that they have decided they like California much more than New York. I smile inside.

The bus ambles on over the hill as it makes its way to my stop about 25 minutes later at Fillmore and McAllister. Two more excruciating blocks, open the door, come in and collapse. The dogs are really barking this time. E.F. arrives not long after and we start talking, showing photos, and I get him to let me take him out to dinner at Absinthe restaurant down in the Hayes Valley area. We make the reservations and then start seeing if maybe we’ll do Bourbon and Branch tomorrow. It’s good to be with a friend in The City.

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