Walkin’ San Fran

Busy day. Wasn’t sure it would be, given how little sleep I got last night (four hours), but I did a lot today.

I started with a big, early dinner in a lovely Thai restaurant near my hostel. Yummy. After acquainting myself with the cable cars, I walked The Embarcadero from the downtown area up to Fisherman’s Wharf. That’s a long walk, and carrying my heavy backpack made it longer, but it was beautiful. The weather today was so nice. It initially looked like it would be cloudy and drizzly, but that cleared up quickly. It was near 70 and brightly sunny. And because California’s not ass-backwards like Indiana, it observes Daylight Savings Time, which meant it was light until almost 8.

After such a lovely stroll, the gaudy kitsch that is Fisherman’s Wharf seemed even tackier. Tourists everywhere. I shouldn’t judge or complain, since I too a member of that nomadic tribe, but still… Chain restaurants, souvenir stands, Gaps and Starbucks. Damn. You want that stuff, stay at home.

I made my way to Columbus St, which runs diagonally from downtown up past the Wharf. Columbus is home to many SF landmarks, including the Museum of Tattoo Art (“museum” is grandiose, but it’s still very cool) and City Lights bookstore. On the walk down Columbus, I saw a line of people waiting for the evening’s Ben Harper concert. Joining the line was a woman who looked uncannily like one of my Bloomington friends–right down to hair and attire.

Strangely enough, I actually DID see someone I recognize from Bloomington today, but it’s not someone I know well enough to talk to. As some of my friends know, I can’t seem to travel anywhere without running into someone I know, someone who has a friend in common with me, or someone who has some other close connection to me.

City Lights. Made famous by the Beats, this bookstore is just a quaint and niche-oriented and well-stocked as you probably imagine. I could easily have spent thrice the time and quadruple the money there that I did. My only purchase, and perhaps it’s a cliche, was a copy of Allen Ginsburg’s poem Howl, collected with several other of his works.

By this point, my feet were swollen and achy, it was nearly 8:30, and I was exhausted, so I headed back to the nearest cable car. Along the way, I passed a little restaurant called Cafe Niebaum-Coppola, owned by the director and his wife. The cafe occupies the ground floor in a building that also houses Coppola’s production company, American Zoetrope. I was still full from Thai, but the auteur oversees some delicious winemaking, so I’ll have to stop in later for at least a glass or four.

Time’s nearly up on my Internet access, so I’ll sign off.