Wednesday, February 07, 2007

San Francisco

In general, I don't fall in love with cities. Venice, New Orleans, and Savannah are exceptions, while NYC, Boston, Montreal, and Paris didn't compel me to pack up a bag.

S.F. didn't make it into the top 3, mainly b/c it's in California, which-- being a snobby Virginian-- I can enjoy but not take it seriously. Quite alluring, but not suitable, honk honk. Despite my east coast prejudices, we had a wonderful weekend.

K. and I met at the Cartwright hotel in Union Square (recommend it-- cheap, clean, and old-world European-style) and moseyed northwards. It was raining, but we went up Montgomery and stopped at William Stout's Architectural Bookstore.

AWESOME. We curled our sodden selves into funky little chairs and he read about stone houses while I speed-read Swedish and Finnish architectural books. Must move to Finland.

Walking the one block over into Chinatown, we discovered the dim sum is in fact middady dining and my research had been for naught. We wandered around, looked at crazy-expensive mushrooms and herbs and whatnot in jars, avoided the ppl trying to hand us menus, and ended up eating somewhere unremarkable but satisfying.

Saturday, we took our camera on the walk between us in Union Square and Ella's, a groovy brinch place on Presidio. Hence:

Brunch was fab, even though K. got up every three minutes to talk to N., his best friend, who graciously got up before dawn so he could drive from LA and spend the day with us. I just stole sips from his fresh-squeezed oj and concentrated on my bacon, havarti, and apple scramble.
Gorged and happy, we wandered northwards and found ourselves on the corner of the Presidio park place...

After walking up a remarkably steep hill, we ventured downwards to Broadway, where I'd been told there were some mighty fine houses. There were, and also, to my glee-- a view of salboats! And super-steep steps in a park thingie!

Notice the copper garage door. K. was aghast.

We walked along Broadway, passing some arty forms of yard art, and met Nicholas.

We went up to a park, ate sticky bins from Ella's, and caught up for a while, then headed towards Japantown for our appts at Kabuki Springs and Spa. K. and I got our first-ever shiatsu massages, which were...divine. This little Asian lady hopped on the massage table and rolled her knees around my hips at one point. I probably left saliva marks. Meanwhile, K-- who DID enjoy his-- came out in wonder because his small elderly Asian man would touch him with a single finger and my big brawny lumberjack of a husband would recoil in pain.

Nicholas, however, experienced the tradional Japanese baths. Unfortunately for him, no one there was actually Japanese-- or traditional. Eh, he loved it.
Later that afternoon, K. took us to the top of the Fairmont, which is where his conference was held. We took the elevator to the room where they'd brunched and whatnot to see the views.

I know, this is the longest day in the world. But we were determined to see as much as we could!

The view of the most crooked street in the world and the view from the top of it:

I was trying to herd the troops toward North Beach, but first we "had to see the sea lions." After K's one hundredth bathroom break here:

We saw the stinking seals. Unfortately, I can post no pictures, as it was DARK and we couldn't actually SEE THEM.

We then trudged up a hill, found an Italian place, and gorged ourselves.

Sunday's installment will post tomorrow.

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