BootsnAll Travel Network

San Francisco rolls out the interesting people for me

You’ll just have to wait until later to see what the title means. It will be worth the wait.

I achieved my goals that I set for myself on Wednesday. After striking out from the apartment, I heaved, puffed, and blew my way up a very steep hill to see the crookedest street in the world. The street was every bit as crooked as people said it was. Imagine that. I stood for a while and watched drivers make their way down the street. Each car followed a clear pattern. A driver would crest the hill and then pause at the front of the street. Everyone in the car would then gawk for a few seconds at the imposing site. Finally and very slowly the driver worked up the courage to go down the hill. I saw this pattern repeated over and over. I believe only tourist drive down this street. Almost every car that went down this street had a camera pointing out of every window. My next goal for the day was to find a used bookstore. I have been participating in the book exchanges that hostels provide. It is a leave a book, take a book sort of thing. So far it has been me (at least in my opinion) leaving very nice expensive books and in return only have German Harlequin novels to choose from. You know the one, with Hanz bare chested and blond on the cover, with Brunhilda in the background wearing a very tight peasant bodice, succumbing to the vapors. To counter this, I have decided to start hitting used bookstores whenever I need new books (at least I could eliminate some of my expense). I inadvertently wandered my way into Chinatown before I came across my first bookstore. I suddenly noticed that I was taller than everyone else. I went into the bookstore and all the books were written in Chinese and seemed to be about herbal aphrodisiacs. I thought about buying one thinking that this would show the German Harlequin readers. I changed by mind though as I would only be punishing myself. The Harlequin readers are an elusive race. The only evidence of their existence is the books they leave behind.

After failing to find a bookstore, I made my way to Coit Tower which is on one of the highest hills (Telegraph Hill) in the San Francisco area. This hill was once used as a signaling post to let people know when ships were entering the bay. After visiting Coit Tower, I went to Fisherman’s Wharf to buy my Alacatraz tickets. The were sold out for Wednesday, so I bought one for Thursday at noon. As it was now getting late in the evening, I started wandering my way home walking along Fisherman’s Wharf. I came across one pier that had been turned into a sea lion sanctuary There were about 40 sea lions stretched out on floating rafts sunning themselves and generally having a good time. There were also several musician’s groups. I passed one group of men who had painted themselves silver and gold. They were doing some sort of performance for the crowd. I never figured out exactly what they were doing, but small children were taking picture of them. On a bench behind them was a man dressed in a dog suit with two real dogs wearing hats. I believe the metallic men were horning in on his territory. He didn’t look very happy. Also, everytime a little kid took a picture with the metallic men, the dog man would try to rush up and get them to take pictures with his dogs. I finally did find a used bookstore in Fort Mason and bought two books for my trip.

On Thursday, I caught the 12:15 boat to Alcatraz island. Upon landing at the island I spent the next three hours exploring the site. The tour is self guided. I first looked around the outside of the island which had been turned into a massive garden full of exotic plants. These plants have been planted over the course of the last 150 years or so that island has been in use (first as a fort, then a prison, and now a national park). A large part of the island was off limits as it was now bird mating season and the island is one big nesting site. After seeing the outside of the island, I took a very well done forty five minute audio tour of the inside of the cellhouse. The tour ended as all of them usually do in the gift shop. Inside the gift shop, a former convict by the name of Darwin Coon (bank robbery) was doing a book signing for a book he had written about his time in the prison system including Alcatraz.

On Friday, Robbie had the day off. He works the coveted 9/80 schedule that I used to have when I lived in Houston. About midday we headed over to Ocean Beach. This is the longest sandy beach in San Francisco. We first stopped and explored the sight of a former public bath house that was destroyed by fire. One can still walk through the caves that brought water to the saltwater baths. We then walked on the beach for a while. I went into the water which immediately numbed my feet as it was so cold. Getting hungry by this point, we walked to a Safeway (grocery store) that has a deli that makes sandwiches. At the deli counter, there was a mass of people causing some confusion as to who was next in line. The worker decided to try to get us to form a line. As people began to shuffle into place, a little old lady on the side of me with a very large buggy apparently didn’t notice my calfs. She was on the front of her buggy pushing as hard as she could as the buggy grinded into my legs. She finally noticed and apologized by saying at least she got to meet a very nice young man. After buying food, we headed to Golden Gate Park to find a place to eat. On the way we passed a man that was sitting under a tree having a very heated arguement with himself. It seemed to involve lots of hand gestures and a can(?). As soon as we passed this man, who did not appear to notice us, a women stopped us. Seeing our deli bags, she asked us about the wait at the deli. At this time, the man who was having the argument very lucidly asked Robbie or I if we smoked. Before we could answer, the lady turned to the man and very loudly told him “Excuse me, I am talking to them.” Trying to give both of them equal attention, we replied that no we didn’t smoke and the deli wait was not that long.

Once in Golden Gate Park, we passed an archery contest. I had to resist the urge to put an apple on my head, run through the contestants, and ask if anyone had seen William Tell. We found a place to eat. While we were eating, an Asian couple decided to do some modeling work. The whole time we were eating, the lady posed on various rocks and trees while the man snapped her picture. They weren’t just standing in front of the rock and smiling poses either. They involved one limb, or another flailing out at some unusual angle. After eating we walked through Golden Gate Park for a while and then headed back to the apartment to meet Lacy who was getting off work. Once we met up with Lacy, we went out for the evening for drinks and dinner. We ended up at a Mexican restaurant.

At the moment, I am doing laundry and will spend the rest of the day repacking and preparing for my 18:00 flight to Fiji. I would like to thank Laci and Robby for giving me a place to stay for the week. It certainly helped me save money. I would also like to thank the city of San Fransico for showing me such an interesting time. On a personal note, I must say not having access to my usual clothes is taking some getting used to. San Francisco is a very stylish city. Its hard to keep up when all I have at my disposal are sandles and nylon pants. I went to eat out last night in my swimming trunks.

This post is longer than most for two reason.

1. Friday was a very interesting day.
2. I am currently not paying by the minute for Internet use like I normally have to, so enjoy.

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One Response to “San Francisco rolls out the interesting people for me”

  1. Gashwin Says:

    How did you know the Chinese books were about aphrodisiacs? I didn’t know you read hanji … ! :-p

    And isn’t it spelled “Alcatraz?”

    And you certainly attract the nutty ones, don’t you! 🙂

    See, I can still pick on you from here!

    Safe travels across to Fiji — remember, there are lots of Indians there, and since we all know each other, you better be nice to them! 🙂

  2. Posted from India India
  3. Dogwood Dell Says:

    I agree with G – you do find some interesting “friends” in San Fran.

    Keep up the romp and safe travels to Fiji.

    BTW…I have trouble believing that G knows every single Indian in the world (he may only know one or two or maybe a few hundred thousand).

  4. Posted from United States United States
  5. Preeti Says:

    You know those Harlequin readers are not as few and far between as you like to think. And for the record, every fourth or fifth book will introduce you to at least one word you have never seen before. And no, the words don’t have anything to do with aphrodisiacs.

    So did you find my soul mate in Fiji?

  6. Posted from United States United States

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