Monday, June 30, 2008

The City

You realize that it is taking me twice as long to recount our trip as it took to make, right? Hard to believe that it's already been 2 weeks since Mommy and Child's Day O' Fun in San Francisco.

Monday morning dawned exactly as it should in the Bay Area: foggy. This delighted me no end because I believe that one's first view of San Francisco should be of it shrouded in mist.

There was bread left from dinner the night before so I whipped up some French toast and served it with the star thistle honey. (Really, just the best honey I've ever tasted. Ever).
The Hat was going to enjoy a quiet, restorative day alone in our borrowed flat. The Child and I walked up to the bus stop, passing the house I found in Alameda that wants me to live in it.

A quick bus ride took us across the Bay Bridge, toward the soaring towers of San Francisco. SF was the first big city I ever visited and it, like all big cities, has the same effect on me still...a sense of recognition; an "if-I-believed-in-past-lives-I-swear-I've-lived-here-before" feeling. I am, without a doubt, a city girl.
The fog was lifting so that the streets themselves were full of light. The Child asked if we could pretend I was her tour guide and so I regaled her with what I know of the city. (Which isn't really that much but since she knows less it worked). We got some coffee and looked over the street map to get our bearings, then set off up the hill toward Chinatown. It should be noted, for any reader who has not been to San Francisco that everything is uphill.

I took this photo for Sling:
There are olive trees growing along the streets. Fancy that. There was a branch on the street and I really wanted to take it with me but decided that might look really odd, not to mention borderline vandalistic.

We wandered around City Light Books for a while (I bought The Naked Lunch, a couple of book bags and a bumper sticker that reads "Howl if you love City Light Books"). I totally neglected to take a picture of The Child in front of that noble institution. But I got these:

We started down the street and she decided that sushi for lunch would be a good idea. It was fabulous.

We poked our way through Chinatown, The Child in search of appropriate souvenirs.
We wandered into one shop that had some Haight Ashbury stuff; I hadn't realized that this is the 40th anniversary of "the summer of love". That phrase "old hippies" really has resonance now, doesn't it?. I asked the proprietor how far it was to the Haight. "You can drive there," he said. Then he fixed me with a look, "You don't really want to go there, you know. It's not the same". (What? Do I look like an old hippie? L'horreur!)

"Oh," I know," I said. "It's just that I was there when I was 10 and I have such vivid memories. I was hoping to show it to her".

"Yeah," he said, kindly. "But now it's just a nice shopping district with some good restaurants. I'm not sure it's worth it".

And under the circumstances, it really wasn't. Sometimes things are best left safe in memory. It probably would have vaguely depressed me to see the Haight all gussied up and gentrified.

So I got The Spouse a "Summer of Love" tshirt and that was that.

The Child and I hopped on a cable car and jerked our way down Powell St. toward Fisherman's Wharf. Now, generally speaking, I'm not a fan of sprawling tourist joints like that, but the day was fine and you could smell the sea. And The Child, being an inveterate shopper, was in heaven. We had an excellent time and took photos of fat pigeons and of the Golden Gate bridge, which could only vaguely be discerned through the fog that still hovered over the bay. None of them turned out.

The line for the return cable car was ridiculously long and we would still have a long walk to the bus station after that so after conferring with concierges and a very nice woman hawking happy hour outside a bar, The Child put her taxi-hailing skills to work and we got back to the bus station in record, comfortable time.

It was rush hour and I needed to confirm we were in fact standing on the correct line for our return trip. An extremely nice woman in front of us verified this and then asked where we were going. Turns out, it was her stop, too. "Just watch me. When I get up you'll know to get off". So we did.

Back home, The Child gave The Hat and I a fashion show of all her purchases, then I followed Dana's directions to a Chinese restaurant he'd recommended. The prospects were good. The place was full of Asian diners, many of them speaking actual Chinese. Always a good sign. I waited for our take-out and had a pleasant chat with another customer, a woman who'd just moved to Alameda from Seattle.

You know the old adage, "Hunger is the best sauce?" The person who coined that phrase must have once had a similar meal. The BBQ pork was fabulous and the mu shu was acceptable, but the pancakes were stale, the spring rolls were filled with what appeared to be chicken noodle soup and the two chicken dishes were by turns bland (Szechuan chicken bland? How is that even possible?) and cloying (sweet and sour...what would you expect?). Not the meal we were expecting and I can only assume it had to have been a very off-night.

But despite the less than spectacular meal, we were all happy and content. We cuddled up on the couch and watched "Big", while I checked my cell phone, hoping for a message from Danny. We were supposed to have lunch with him the next day but hadn't yet heard from him. We went to bed with our fingers crossed.

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Anonymous Anonymous opined...

Ba Ha Ha Ha (Note no W)

There's no place like home. I am sure you know inumeral good chinese places here!!

And yes, our own nothly art festival is only days away.



June 30, 2008 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...


June 30, 2008 2:11 PM  
Blogger Buck opined...

It was wonderful to read that the child put her taxi-hailing skills to work and to know I taught her that.

I just knew it would make her feel special someday.

June 30, 2008 2:13 PM  
Blogger sageweb opined...

Oh I am on the edge of my seat to find out if Danny called.
I love actually sorta reminds me of Seattle. Except different.

June 30, 2008 3:48 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Anonyba, reminds me of the Chinese place that delivered to our old apartment. The last night there, before we moved, we ordered from there. And then I cried when I hugged the delivery guy goodbye.

Yes, Buck, you get ALL the credit for that one. I asked the helpful woman if one called for cabs or hailed them in SF and she said, "Oh, just hail it". The Child was all, "I'll do it, Mommy! Uncle Buck showed me how!" You'd have been soooo proud.

Sage, oh, the suspense! And yeah, SF and Seattle are very much alike, except for how they are different.

June 30, 2008 4:31 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

See!..Now I feel all jealous 'cause I had to stay in O-Town.
Still,I did get a nice picture of Mark Twain street outta the deal. :)
That house taht wants you to live in it is awesome!..and probably not haunted.

June 30, 2008 5:46 PM  
Anonymous rosemary opined...

What a totally wonderful all of the SF pics...we honeymooned there and go back as often as we can. Great kimono/jacket.

June 30, 2008 5:47 PM  
Blogger LostInCO opined...

What a great trip to the City! You are such a great mom....

July 01, 2008 6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

I swear it was chicken noodle soup in those egg rolls. (shivers)

July 01, 2008 10:58 AM  
Blogger danny/ink2metal opined...

hehehe...san francisco, the city that just goes up and up and up. perhaps that's what tony bennett meant in that lyric about the cable cars climbing halfway to the stars.

yikes, sage! the suspense is killing me too. ;-}

July 01, 2008 3:40 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Sling, I'm pretty sure it's not haunted. (makes note to have that checked out) And if it needs new cabinets, as I'm quite sure it will, we'll get you out of O-town for a few days.

Rosie, ooh, what a totally awesome and romantic place for a honeymoon!

Sometimes, Lost, I come through.

And what I don't understand, Hat, is how they managed to keep the soup wrapped up long enough to deep fry it while still keeping the soup soupy. Really, something of a culinary feat, if you can look past the complete and utter gaggation of the dish.

I think that must be exactly what Tony meant!
And suspense is good for the soul. Or something like that.

July 01, 2008 5:28 PM  
Blogger Miss Healthypants opined...

I loved City Light Books. Did you ever read Naked Lunch before? Iwanski and I rented the movie once and thought it was SO weird. But then perhaps we didn't have the requisite drugs to enjoy it with. *grin*

July 01, 2008 8:04 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

No,MHP, never did. Just thought it was an appropriate purchase. I started reading it on the bus and got way confused. It'll probably take me three years, given my whole no-drug thing.

July 01, 2008 10:47 PM  

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