Friday, July 03, 2009

Day 13 - San Francisco

I’m realizing now why it’s so important to keep up with my blogs…this morning I couldn’t remember ever having been in Cleveland, let alone my thoughts and feelings during our day in San Francisco.

Luckily I’ve been taking pretty good notes throughout the day, so I have something to help rekindle my memory. However, sometimes I feel like I take notes out of obligation—not because I experienced something that I felt was noteworthy. I wonder what I wrote about in San Francisco…..hold that thought while I peruse my notebook.

As I mentioned before, I keep “pretty good notes” – unfortunately those notes don’t include El Paso, San Antonio, Los Angeles, or SAN FRANCISCO.

But wait, something’s coming back to me….Beatniks, Bubble Tea, Brussels, Boardwalk, Blistery.

Let me see if I can expand on this a little bit.

Beatniks. We visited City Lights bookstore, first publisher of Allen Ginsburg’s controversial poem, HOWL, and a major gathering place for beatniks to share their literature. Across the street, the Beatnik Museum offered an interesting array of artifacts belonging to Jack Kerouac, Ginsburg, and their fellow beatnik leaders as well as photos, paintings, stories, and a selection of poems on their original scrap paper. This was my first beatnik encounter (I’m sorry Garrett, I know my ignorance disappoints you) and an interesting one at that. Next door to City Lights, I was encouraged to pick up Ginsburg’s HOWL by my professor in Vesuvia’s upstairs reading room. If I remember correctly, after trying to get past the profanity and curious writing style, I deciphered a few lines and was surprised at the seriousness of their content. I’ll have to go into more detail later.

Bubble Tea. We visited Chinatown, and even though I really wanted it, I couldn’t bring myself to buy bubble tea from any of the many vendors. I only buy bubble tea in two places: (1) China, and (2) Fat Straw in Edgehill—down the street from Belmont. I’ve been burned too many times by bubble tea impersonators. Finding the perfect balance of blended ice, fruit flavoring, pudding, and tapioca balls is an advanced art requiring education, experience, and a natural propensity for the creation of this delicious concoction – it’s a drink that can not be left to chance. I approve the aforementioned locations—articles (1) and (2)—as authentic bubble tea manufacturers. All others should be approached with caution.

Brussels. The tall, skinny townhomes of San Francisco reminded me of living in the Belgian capital (aka Seat of the European Union). But mostly I just like to take advantage of mentioning Belgium whenever I can—it’s really a great place and I miss my Belgian friends, family, and home a lot! Perhaps I should look into the tourism industry; I would be a great representative for the “Visit Belgium Today!” council.

Boardwalk. I think it was more of a pier than a boardwalk, but I couldn’t bear to break the pattern after coming up with three other B-words. During our evening free time a small group of us set out to explore Fisherman’s Wharf area, hoping to find a cute little local restaurant with a view of the ocean. Unfortunately there were slim pickings (i.e. nothing) in our price range, so we settled on Subway, across the street, with no view of the water. But all was not lost. After a not-so-local dinner experience, we took back up walking until we were too cold and tired to continue. Fortunate for us, this point happened to coincide with a small pier featuring a Seattle’s Best Coffee shop. So, in the spirit of not shopping locally, we grabbed a cup of Seattle’s best and watched the moon rays bounce over the bay water….until we realized that it was dark and we were somewhat lost. Stopping to survey the general public, all 6 of us reconvened with 6 different sets of directions to the nearest metro stop. We stumbled through traffic (leaving a cell phone in the middle of a crosswalk and being nearly crushed by a speeding Jaguar), boarded the nearest tram, and after several false alarms (including getting-off, looking around, yelling to the driver to PLEASE re-open the door, getting-back-on, only to be given looks of pure hatred by local passengers) we found a subway station and got home.

Blistery. I don’t know how to say this pleasantly, so I’ll just say it. I absolutely do not like San Francisco weather. First off, I do not like coldness as my one and only weather option. It makes me, well, cold. Secondly, I do not like damp fog. It makes cold even colder. Thirdly, I do not like clouds. They reflect light and give me headaches. Fourthly, I do not like cold wind. Especially when I’m already cold.

Conclusion: I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, live in San Francisco. Ever. (At least I hope not.) ;)

On that happy note, dear reader, I will leave you with my thoughts and feelings on San Francisco, as remembered 13 days and 10 cities after the fact.


  1. Shirah, I'm sorry if my comments about what you are learning make it seem I'm dissapointed. What I mean to convey is that the amount you're learning on this trip and your willingness to share everything is incredibly inspiring and educational. Ignorance should never be apologized for unless it is willful, and I know that you don't hide from information. I hope Boston is wonderful!

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  3. Now I want to try bubble tea? Perhaps we should go when you get back?! :)

    I'm disappointed that you didn't run into Michael Savage out there, darn;).


  4. did you wear some flowers in your hair? :)


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