Thursday, March 27, 2008

great California odyssey: beat and meet day

What do you do when you are in San Francisco, home to all manner of seafood and delicacies from many cultures? Why you go to IHOP for breakfast, of course!

In our defense I will say that it is perfectly legitimate to celebrate this American institution, especially when you can get those American hash browns that I haven't eaten in 20 years. Plus you can walk up and down hills all day after that with no need for more fuel.

Highlights of the day:

- mind boggling architecture, not only cheerfully random flats stacked upon each other, but also doorways that open onto angled sidewalks which you need to crouch over to enter

- the market in Chinatown

- watching a funeral procession in Chinatown, led by the Green Street Mortuary Band

- the Resident Offspring finding her very own lucky cat in Chinatown

- experiencing the Beat insurgency at City Lights bookstore and the Beat museum in North Beach. City Lights was famous for continuing to sell Howl after it was banned. While the RO found a Ginsberg book and I found John Lydon's autobiography/manifesto, we all saw many nude photos of Allen Ginsberg, during many stages of his life, at the museum. Apparently he was infamous for going to parties, leaving his clothes in a neat pile in the bathroom and coming back to the party announcing "the poet stands naked before you!"

- the cable car museum, which is the actual working facility that runs all the cable cars in San Francisco

- meeting Will and Hillary for dinner at Nirvana. Great company, wonderfully flavourful Asian fusion food, and another notch on my blogger meet-up belt

- the best deal in the city - $1.50 to ride the F Line streetcar from Fisherman's Wharf to the Castro to meet Will and Hillary (about a 45 minute ride). And the ticket was still good for the ride home! And the Resident Offspring's ride was $0.50 both directions

- the streetcar driver on the way home. She stepped out of the car at our stop, stuck a cigar in her mouth and announced "you can't get on, I gotta go to the bathroom" and strode off across the street, against the red light, bleached blond dreadlocks swinging in the night wind.

Friday - Escape to Alcatraz day!


mellowlee said...

That cable car driver is awesome!!! I'm so enjoying your vacation posts! You know, we have IHOP here in Vancouver, but everytime I want to go, we arrive to see a very long line up of people waiting to get in. I don't care how good the pancakes are, I am not going to wait in line at an IHOP ever ever ever! haha!

I love Eva's lucky cat. I think I want one too!! Maybe I should go to our Chinatown and have a looksee. :O)

justacoolcat said...

I thought for sure the whole place would have fallen into the sea by now, I mean, you're pure evil afterall. . . right?

Anonymous said...

Love that cable car lady!!So did Eva kidnap that lucky cat? Guess what? Another Manitoba blizzard last night, with more on the way, apparently. Good grief, enough already. Soak up that sun- who knows what awaits you in Calgary.

Gifted Typist said...

Eeks when I first read that post I thought you said Bill and Hillary for din dins.

Always wanted to go to SF. Now I want to go even more.

Will said...

We enjoyed meeting you and your family!!! Glad you enjoyed dinner. Hope our city treats you well for the remainder of your stay and makes you want to come back.

Anonymous said...

All I knew about San Francisco was they have lots of hills. Thanks for the highlights. Glad your enjoying your vacation.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

There was a long lineup here as well, Mel, but it goes really quickly. When they say a 10 minute wait, they mean it. But I have found that those American restaurants are not as good when they come to Canada. I don't think they take service as seriously.
Lucky cat kept the rain off us at Alcatraz today!

I am pure evil, but I think it is counteracted by all the lucky cat statues in Chinatown, JustA

I don't want to go home, Berni! In fact we are all trying desperately to figure out how we can stay another week. You should leave the snow behind and run away with us.

Bill and Hillary as dinner companions would be, ummm, interesting, Gifted, but I would take Will and Hillary ANY DAY!
San Francisco is a place everyone must visit!

I don't even want to leave, Will. It was so lovely to meet you and Hillary! You two are adorable. Good choice of restaurant too.

It's even hillier than I realized, Sunflower. You can especially see that from Alcatraz island. A great city for walking, if you like hill walking.

Toccata said...


Your descriptions make me want to hop a plane to California.

Johnny Yen said...

I am jealous. When my co-best friend lived in Oakland, I went to the Bay twice a year on the average. I love the place and the people there. Of course, he now lives in Seattle, also a very cool place. Still...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

And you have to eat at IHOP while you are there, Toccata, especially if you are going to do some hill walking.

You are so lucky, Johnny Yen, I would happily visit there twice a year. Great city!