48 hours was not enough. I felt like we only nibbled at the edges of this very tasty city, failing to reach the substance of San Francisco. I want more.
A very jet-lagged P and I arrived in the afternoon, having spent 11 hours on a plane without sleep, sampling celebratory rose champagne that P had organised to be delivered to us in our seats (Virgin Atlantic played the game nicely - no drinking warning for us! Qantas, take note: we get giggly but are well behaved when sipping bubbly libations at altitude). Wandering the streets of Chinatown down to a park, we were floating in that odd state of unreality that jetlag gives you, having real trouble watching in the opposite direction for traffic. Solved the problem as far as we could by nabbing some incredible pork buns from a bakery, then dining out on a greasy burger, sports commentators exclaiming in the background. I dozed off early, but was woken in the early hours by an insomniac jazz trumpet player. Surreal.
|BUT HOW DO THE CARS GET ROUND THE CORNERS?! STILL CONFUSED|
Actually, that jetlagged sense of unreality followed me for most of the trip (more on that later). We walked the Golden Gate Bridge the next day (probably compulsory for a tourist) then floated down the waterfront back towards the city. I was so spacey that I even consented to queue for an hour to visit the Swan Oyster Depot. Seriously though - WORTH THE WAIT. We sat at the long bar and scoffed Japanese seeded-Washington oysters, Boudin bread soaked in crab fat, guzzled extremely chilled chardonnay and revoltingly licked our sticky fingers afterwards. Some kind of seafood bliss.
|VIEW. AND SKY. COMPELLING CAPTION, NO?|
Parts of the urban neighbourhoods, though littered with fantastic, individualistic and creaky architecture, had a feel of decline. Bars on lower floor windows always make me feel a bit sad, as do signs proclaiming a ban on dealing drugs in the vicinity of an apartment complex (isn't dealing kinda illegal everywhere in the States?!). We didn't have time to investigate the rest of the Bay area, but I wondered whether the rich live further away and commute into the city. Wondered whether these lovely buildings are chopped up into rental units with a corresponding decline in care (I'm a renter who generally gives a shit; I know not all tenants take less care than an owner occupier might, but I probably feel less responsibility towards the external surrounds of my house than I might otherwise). But this (generally) genteel decline also left room for interesting, one-off stores, cafes and bars, rather than being completely littered with chains or franchises. I know I'd still be happy to live there, with the diverse populace and relaxed yet interesting vibe.
The residents of San Francisco were fascinating. Urban dogs galore, every park a sniffy, poopy delight for a leashed mutt. Though mutt isn't strictly correct; most of these dogs looked like thoroughbreds. They led to wonderful sights like a very old man squirting cleaner on the curb outside his house (whether it was a doggy deterrent or just a curb freshener I'm not sure, but he cared enough to careful squirt each inch of his frontage). A huge Asian American community with a West Coast sensibility. So many people in gym gear. So many hipsters (including my personal favourite who had not one but two vintage cameras slung around his neck).
|I NEED TO ATTEND A GIG HERE. ALSO, YAY FOR CRAPPY IPHONE FILTERS AYE?|
Got to go back.