Saturday, July 16, 2011

In the Interum

It was a FANTASTIC time at the Asian Art Museum... I literally could spend days there just looking at, well, everything. But, I must not be that much of an ubergeek since I couldn't even figure out how to turn off the flash on my digital camera. I finally had some help and figured it out but not after I took most of my pictures from my iPhone. That will have to wait until I get home but I'll try to transfer a few pictures from it to the laptop as soon as I can.

So, as you might have figure, this is not really my Day 7 blog but a stop-gap. I did spend most of the day at the Museum when E.F. called. Luckily when he was home, I was on my way back to his place. I got there and his friend Katrina from Sac was there. We all headed on down to The Mission District to eat (good Pakistani and Indian food, yum!) then went to a showing of archived films (yes, actually films on a projector!) at an event called The Oddball Film Festival even further down in the district. It was fun, but we didn't get home until close to midnight. I swear, E.F. and Katrina are half billy-goat. But, my legs survived and now it's time to get the day started here... Later.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

In the Place of Tall Buildings

Day 6 - The Black Sword in the City of Saint Francis


I have to be honest. E.F. and I had almost.... almost too much of a good time last night and I partly paid for it this morning. To thank him for letting me crash at his place and explore The City, I took him to wonderful restaurant and bar known as Absinthe in the Hayes Valley area. The food was delicious and I had one of the best Uptown Manhattan drinks I've ever had. But, you know there's always a 'but' in there, he took me to this literally hidden treasure of a bar called Smuggler's Cove. Wow. They specialize in rum drinks so I ordered a Naval Grog. Oh my... I think if anyone had lit a match around me I'd have been like a flame thrower at close quarters. To make a long story short, we slowly walked home and crashed for tomorrow. Thank goodness I had finished my blog for yesterday already.

Today I find myself in Downtown and the Financial District. E.F. gave me some reading material on the architecture of the area as a kind of self-guided tour of the most prominent buildings in San Francisco's past. So far as of this writing, I've visited and photographed the Wells Fargo/Crocker Center building, 111 Sutter Street, the Crown Zellerbach Paper Co. building at One Bush Street, and the Hobart Building on Market. Some of the examples of building in The City are impressive. The Wells Fargo one was actually cut down by several stories and a rooftop garden open to the public was put in it's place; really cool public space with a cool view. Several of the places I couldn't photograph inside because of security. A shame but I understand the need for security and privacy of clients in the buildings. I'll make sure to post them all on Facebook as soon as I can.

About 11:15 rolls around and I get a text message from Angie reminding me that she and the Seans are going to be having lunch today in San Francisco at the same Absinthe restaurant E.F. and I ate at last night. I catch the #5 bus up Market to McAllister and Gough then walk the couple of blocks to the restaurant where they are waiting for me. I'm starting to get my walking feet under me finally after about a week of walking everywhere. We have a delightful lunch and try a couple different absinthes than I am used to. Interestingly enough, the locally produced absinthe from St. George's Spirits is really good and smooth. I don't have much to eat as I only just got done eating breakfast at Eddie's Cafe up on Divisadero so I order an appetizer and a great brown ale. My friends wanted to specifically have lunch at this place since their calendar project involves a shoot of a Green Fairy ( which is the slang for absinthe) and the webmaster for the restaurant had 'liked' their project. Monkey brought the manager a poster, post card, and other stuff to the restaurant as a thank you for their support.

When we part I head back Downtown on the #5 bus again, get off at Montgomery and head up to catch my next building at 100 Sutter Street called The Shell Building. I turn down Sutter on the wrong side of the street and realize that I need to sit down and write. Taking the opportunity, I duck into this place called Bread and Cocoa on the corner of Sutter and Kearny to grab a drink, sit, and catch up on the blog... And here we are so far. I need to mention that the young staff here are just a great bunch. They are friendly, bubbly even, and just fun to talk to when they aren't slammed with customers. That is one of the sort of down sides to this part of The City is this almost frenetic pace that everyone seems to be in. I find it both exhilarating but also a bit impersonal and tiresome. It's meeting the people in the shops that seems to make it all worth it.


It's about 1:30 p.m. when I get back to my architectural scavenger hunt in the Downtown/Financial District of S.F. I'm only about half way through my list of buildings so I get right to it. Before I leave the little shop, I realize that I'm gonna need to take a couple ALEAVE even though I don't want to. I've been trying to take it easy in my walking but the arch of my right foot is just starting to get annoyingly painful unless I slow way down and there is just too much to see in this place to do that. So, I suck it up and keep truckin'.

Next stop is supposed to be just across the street. It's the Hallidie Bldg. At 130 Sutter Street. I walk on down, seem to miss the address, mistake one building for it, cross the street, and sure enough, it's completely covered for restoration work... Great. At least the building NEXT to it seems just as interesting but I'll have to wait until the work is done to see it and who the he'll knows when that's gonna be. OK, check that one now what's next?

The list has 100 and 130 Bush Street next. Hmm, I wonder if they are right next to each other? So, off I go. I arrive to find I'm right. But the two buildings are way cool in their own ways. 130 Bush is termed the "Narrow Building" and when you see it you might be tempted to either giggle or just say, "Cool!" at how it looks. The guide states, " 20 feet wide, 10 stories, Gothic revival, 80 feet deep. One of the narrowest buildings in San Francisco. Originally a garment manufacturing building... Converted to offices in 1929."

The address next door is much more majestic and when you see the ornamentation near the apex of the building you understand why. Called The Shell Building for obvious reasons it was the last of the great Art Deco buildings to be constructed in San Francisco and was finished in 1929. Sepia-colored terracotta skin with jutting projections of shells at the apex of the building, man this is really cool. I jet over to the interior and ask the security if the building allows interior photographs... Sadly, no because the interior is guilder in golden art deco shells and other adornments which are great examples of the style of the time.

I head back to Montgomery and my other important but much more modern building which I've been next to before but not in decades... The Trans-America Pyramid. The building is a bit overwhelming but what is almost the prettiest part of the place is the public park that is at the base of the place located about the middle of the block. The park has a great grove of Redwoods with a pool and fountain that has bronze sculptures of jumping frogs in various poses. The park has lots of space to sit and nice built-in benches and in typical San Francisco fashion there is a plaque commemorating two beloved dogs of the area in the 1860's named Bugger and Lazarus. I'm a dog lover and thought that was especially cool.

But mentioning dogs at that point, well, my dogs are especially tired as well from all the exploring of the past six days. The arch of my right foot is just not gonna be able to explore any more... Time to make my way to Market and the #5 bus and some rest time. I slowly trudge down Kearny to Market, bop onto the bus, put in the ear phones, and zone out for the remainder of the trip. The bus hits my stop at Pierce and McAllister and I abuse my feet just enough to get in the door and put them up.... and fall into a much needed nap. Ahhhh. Rest. What a concept.

Tonight, when E.F. gets here, we'll see what's up for the remainder of the day and evening...

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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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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Black Sword, The Stein's, and Trolley Cars

Day 4 of The Black Sword in the City of Saint Francis

The day has consisted of mostly being with my friend Dena and Eric’s mother Dorothy. Eric is working this week, of course, and so he leaves before we wake up. So today we lounged until about 9:15 and decided we’d go get breakfast and then head out to the SF MOMA to see the Stein’s Collection Exhibit.

The standard good place to get breakfast is the little breakfast shop on the corner of Divisidero and Fulton is Eddie’s which serves breakfast all day. Coffee, juice, and eggs and pancakes with good conversation is such a nice way to start the day. Dorothy is 81 and so, even though she’s in great shape for her age, we need to plan where we’re going to go and be careful of how many hills we might need to climb (I should be doing so well at 81 if I live that long). We get done and head up the street to catch the #5 Line to Market Street and 3rd Street so we can walk on down to the MOMA.

We chit-chat on the way up to the bus stop. Dena is such a kick to have around and I sure as hell hope I can be good enough to keep Dorothy’s sense of humor when I get to be her age. When we finally get to the bus, it’s kinda crowded but we stand for a while then finally get Dorothy a seat. Eventually we all get to sit down as people come and go off the bus. There’s this one point where Dena seems to have lost her mind as she is making the weirdest faces. Then I see that a little girl in a stroller is making faces back at her and just having a blast. When we round the corner onto Market, we get off a little early at the corner of 4th and Market and slowly walk to the MOMA. Yesterday has not been kind to my legs and feet and I’m still feeling the adventure in the Richmond District. As a friend I know might have said,”Boy! The dogs are still barkin’...” and as we keep walking the barkin’ keeps getting louder. Ouch. For those who have lived all their lives in San Francisco, I have no doubt that they are just plain used to this kind of constant physical exercise. But coming from a town where the car reigns supreme, the pedestrian calisthenics that the streets and hills of San Francisco can put you through have just about done me in yesterday and today.

We get to the MOMA, get tickets, and go straight to the 5th floor. We take a look at the exhibit there on the Last 10 years of Modern Art and part of it has this exhibit of sonic sculpture called Sonic Shadows that is just fascinating. Dena and I stand in the middle of the exhibit and close our eyes and are treated to this sonic experience of white sound and oddly melodic noise that zips past us on our left, then right, then above, the left.... and it’s a really cool effect.

We finish the 5th floor, take the elevator down to the 4th, and give our tickets for the Stein Collection. It’s crowded even for a week day and we slowly make our way through the exhibit. The Matisse and Picasso work along wit some other lesser know artists is incredible. I must admit both some admiration and a touch of disappointment at both the Matisse and Picasso selections but I chalk that up to having seen a number of those along with other artists in Paris so any disappointment is just temporary.

The tour takes almost 2 1/2 hours and by the end my feet and legs are screaming at me to sit down again. We exit the MOMA and head back to catch the F-Line to allow us to get Dena’s jeep which Karen has let her park at her condo’s parking garage. The F-Line is a trolley line which is occupied with trolleys from San Francisco’s and other city’s past. We get on an island egress terminal in the middle of Market and here comes a blue and gold 1940’s Sand Francisco trolley. Cool.... but it’s packed to the gills with tourists. Oh great. Somehow we squeeze on and Dorothy finds a seat. We’re set.

Like the modern bus rides, people are squeezing on and off and we get a seat as it curves from Market to the Embarcadero and finally we get off at Sansone and Chestnut, walk to Karen’s condo garage and get ourselves in the jeep. A quick ride later and we’re parked and back at E.F.’s place in the Western Edition. A brief refresher and we’re once again on our way to an enclave at the end of the Western Edition called Hayes Valley. Basically, where Hayes and Gough streets intersect is this wonderful collection of shops and restaurants. We bop around there for another couple of hours where I pick up a cool set of antique cufflinks for a decent price and then drag ( no exaggeration this time) back to E.F.’s place. No sooner do we settle down then he comes home and the decision is made to go out for dinner while we all have any strength left. We trudge to the Japan Center for some outstanding ramen soups at Suzu’s Soups in the Kinokuniya Bulding at the end of the Center.

The conversation is light and playful as usual with our company.... but we’re tired and the Saki is flowing so it’s slow going home. We stop for ice cream for dessert ( Dryer’s Green Tea for me... yummm) and finally walk inside the door with only one thing on most everybody’s mind; go to bed. And that friends is pretty much the way the day has ended with me the last man standing and writing to you while stealing a neighbor’s internet and getting the last pictures off the SIM card from the digital camera. Enjoy the pictures and I’ll be writing to you tomorrow after I figure out where I’m off to next. Later.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

The Black Sword in the Richmond District

Day 3 in the City of Saint Francis


I'm a solar powered individual.... The Sun comes up and I'm up too. So I drag my sorry carcass outta bed, plug in and charge the mobile devices, and then shower. I check the house.... Steve forgot the hoses. I hate to call him so early in the morning but they gotta be moved for the gardener to mow. Poor Steve sounds so groggy but faithfully answers, begins to profusely apologize and I try to reassure him it's OK. We work it all out that morning and I thank him for taking care of my place again... Here's a secret, Steve's actually a super hero incognito.... Ssshhhh. No telling!

E.F. and company are still asleep so I leave a note and head out for breakfast a couple blocks away at Eddies Breakfast place on Divisidero. E.F. and I eat there plenty of times. Good eats, nice conversation, close, and reasonable prices. You can't lose there. I strike up a conversation with a guy at the counter named Ronnie. It turns out he's a youth counselor for troubled you and we get into the whole education in California topic. I have a great time asking him questions about The City then say good bye and jet on down to the Richmond District to explore on my own.

I catch the 38L line and settle in for the ride. This is one of those accordion buses that makes limited stops. I get out my iPhone and start looking at maps and decide to stop somewhere around 40th Ave. to start my explorations around Geary. It turns out that once you get past 27th on Geary it's mostly residential so I stop at 33rd and start walking down Geary. Around 26th I decide to take a side trip and start walking down Clement street. At first it seems residential but then another street filled with business, restaurants, and shops materializes before my eyes. "Cool. I've never been down this part of the Richmond. My first new discovery." It's a blast walking when I realize two things... 1. I need to write about yesterday and 2. I need to start the blog for today! I settle into this little cafe called Angelos's Cafe. A cup of coffee and a nice table to sit at and I start writing. Life is good.


So I've trekked my way back up Geary to 26th Ave. and the back and legs are telling me to take it easy and sit down again. On the corner is a coffee house so I stop to sit and write. Billy Joel's "Piano Man" is playing on the radio and there's a grand upright piano in the place... Yup, this is a good place to stop. I think it's time to avail myself of those two Aleave tablets so I can keep trekking along.

Walking down Clement was cool and I made it as far as Presidio Park before I decided to S-walk my way up and down Geary again. The walk down this part of the Richmond strikes several chords in my head... First, it seems that the Asian cultures are ubiquitous in San Francisco ( as it should be) but pit hits me in a way that I don't think I've every been conscious of before. As I talked with my friends yesterday and other people I've met today, one of the hallmarks of The City is how diverse the languages and cultures seem to be. It is hitting me as the most intriguing of mixed salads of urban living I've ever been privy to experience.

The second thing that strikes a chord is how distinct the individual areas seem to be. Some have a similar SF flare but the spice of the neighborhood is distinct and unique. I know I don't hear most people talk about this area so that's one of the things that brought me out here today. As I continued the walk, I realized I'd left my good writing pens at home. As luck or chance would have it, I come upon a small stationary and office supply store on Geary called Gables Office Supply. "Hey, what the he'll, this is kismet." and I go in. After a quick stroll and not seeing the good pens, I ask the proprietor and he points them out to me. I grab a couple good Uniball black pens, go to the counter to pay for them, and strike up a friendly conversation with the owner. He asks me where I'm from and I tell him of my exploring of the city's neighborhoods. I get some great info on where to go in the Richmond. Then, as chance would favor it,, he gives me directions to Green Apple Books. Well hello! That's like pointing out a pile of candy to a fat kid. Yeah! After this stop to rest,I'm off to bibliophile heaven.... Later.

So I make my way eventually back to 15th and Clement after walking down both sides of Geary and then I'm off to see the rest of this part of the Richmond. It's too bad that more people don't know more about this part of San Francisco. I'm sure the natives do and perhaps they like the situation like this because it's striking me that this is almost a suburban environ for S.F. Quiet, bedroom like, and probably a fairly nice to have kids. The shops are mostly groceries and a number of different shops but one that struck me was the place that had action figures of Japanese and Hollywood Hero figures.... I know about a hundred 8th grade boys who would go out of their minds there. I actually liked this one of the Kendo fighter since that was one of the martial arts I studied. I make it to Green Apple Books and Music eventually and, yep, I'm in heaven.... So many books is this mindless mantra that keeps playing in my mind over and over. I spend about an hour there until I realize that my back and feet just don't seem to be able to take it any more. I gotta find a place to sit down.

I mozie on down the road and feel very fortunate to find a great Turkish restaurant on Clement and 5th Ave. known as Troya. The waiter is there immediately and I ask if they have Turkish Coffee. He smiles a delightful grin and says yes. I must seem like a kid because I guess the way I asked for it delighted him to give a little chuckle. It is a welcome respite as I finally have some time to rest and write and eat since I suddenly realize that I haven't eaten for hours in any substantial way. I have a lentil soup and a meatball wrap that is just wonderful and now I feel like a human again. Finally I realize it's starting to get damned breezy and figure I better work my way over to Geary again to catch the 38L bus.

I walk to the end of Clement and turn right on Arguello to get to Geary. I start walking down Geary looking for a bus stop for the 38L. I keep walking... and walking... and walking. I'm tired but there's a kind of rhythm I've gotten into. I keep truckin'... Before I know it I'm at Geary and Masonic and then stop to look at the Muni map. Oh Hell! I'm only 3 blocks from Divisidero! I might as well just finish walking back to E.F.'s place. I get back at a quarter to 4 and Dena and Dorothy are home. The exploration for the day is done.

The Black Sword, Friends, and the Waterfront

Day 2 in the City of Saint Francis

E.F. was great to see again but we didn't have much time to talk in the morning at his place. We had been invited to brunch with our friends Karen, Dena, and Amy down in the Northeast Waterfront area so we had to get ready and hustle. The brief trip required a run on the #5 line down McAllister to Market then taking the F Line to the Embarcadero and finally to Karen's place on Lombard. E.F. was kinda stoked to take this line because they were all old trolley cars from decades past and he had never taken it as far as we were going. Appropriately enough, we ended up on and old wooden paneled Italian trolley that the city had purchased and it was a blast. It had this somewhat jerky way of moving as it rolled down the tracks and the signs were in Italian and English so that was cool.

We get off at Sansone and Embarcadero and walk a block to Karen's. She lives in a great condo in a gated complex whose other taller building has a roof-top garden and incredible views of The City... I took a slew of pictures which I'll post soon as I get how to transfer them from the SIM card to my laptop. Karen had some great croissants and latte's for E.F. and me and when the girls came out it was like being back in high school again ( sans a crap-load of the pimples, drama, and insecurities of that time). Finally walked on over to the waterfront and went to a great restaurant named Butterflies. The view was great with big glass windows looking out onto the bay. Karen informed me that that was. The place to be when the America's Cup races come to San Francisco in 2012. Let me put it plainly, I am SO THERE.

A wonderful brunch done, we get to Karen's place, the girls change into walking shoes and attire and we're off to explore Telegraph Hill. Karen and E.F. take us on this great trip up these series of stairs, up Grant street and round to Coit Tower. This may seem crazy but in all the years I have been coming to San Francisco, I've never gone up to Coit Tower. The views are hard to describe but let's just put it that they are breathtaking. I'll be posting plenty of those pics as well. The tourists were thick so it seemed like a bad time to try to get to the top of the tower but I'll do that again before I leave if I can swing it.

We ended up going down a series of other stairs with wonderful gardens and quaint homes as we made our way back to Karen's again. The rest of the day was walking down the Waterfront and then back to Karen's again where we settled down after miles of walking. I'll end here only because I really want to write mostly about my time exploring on my own. But, man, what a great day.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

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

July 9th. A Black Sword in the City of Saint Francis

Day one of my explorations of The City and I find that I'm starting with some somewhat familiar territory .... I'm sitting in a cafe in the Japan Center and watching beautiful Japanese women and men walk by, having a decaf coffee ( what!? No tea? Yeah, yeah... I figured I'd be an iconoclast a bit and have coffee in the heart of Japan in S.F. So shoot me...) and waiting to decide on my next move. It was much less hassle to get to San Francisco than I had anticipated this time. Even though I packed large as I usually do, the taxis in S. F. make it much easier to get around and be a wanna be Sherpa with luggage when you remember to go do Powell Street Station which is right near a major hotel so the taxis are always hovering in the vicinity. $7.15 later and I slip the guy a ten note, tell him to keep the change, and thank him for the conversation. I'm at the inimitable E. F. Kohler's house for the duration gut he's not home. "Oh yeah! His mother Dorothy's in town for a few days too! Ok, I'm sure he's out spending time with 'mom' so its up to me to explore.... Off I go." More after I spend a few more hours out and a'boot.

Well, the shops are starting to close in Japan Town and so I slowly make my way back to E.F. Kohler's place in the Western Addition. It's a cool walk over the pedestrian bridge that spans Geary Blvd. and the views are great of the clouds just over my head. I pull out the camera and take a few pics.... I'll upload them as soon as I can. I spy a dad teaching his son the finer points of pitching at one of the local parks. I say, " Yup, 10,000 hours of practice." He spys back and says, " Yeah, you got that right." and I smile and keep moving. There's this great house only a block or two from E.F.'s place which is just this incredible example of turn of the century 19th-20th Century kitch architecture. The place is gilded with gold trim and is an interesting purple color. Gaudy is the word that comes to mind.

I get back and sure enough E.F. is there and his mom Dorothy whom I haven't seen in ages. We chit-chat and have a great time catching up when some relatives of theirs from Michigan call and say they'd like to have dinner. It's a nice trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. I can't remember the last time I did either... It's a small italian restaurant that we are in just a block off the water front. The food is vacuumed down by me when I realize that I hadn't eaten too much since I started this trip.

The return is nice and I get some idea even at night of where I wanna do some more exploring later in the week. We're all pretty tired by now. E.F. sets up a very nice air mattress and it's off to slumber land. More adventures tomorrow.

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