My wonderful friends Tim and Alex graciously hosted me on another visit to their fair city.

Day 1 – Saturday, April 23, 2016

Loved this huge bronze sculpture and fountain in a sunny atrium of the San Diego International Airport:

Sea lions, fish, and whales swimming among a kelp forest.

Sea lions, fish, and whales swimming about a kelp forest.

kelp fountain at SAN

There’s also this mesmerizing hanging LED light display that mimics the view above from an underwater perspective. The focus sucks, but you can still see the effect.

I was in boarding group A, and so when I saw people lining up at the gate, I just went up. Turned out they were only boarding first class, but she said, “oh never mind” and waved me through anyway. WOOT! First one on the plane (at least in coach). Virgin America was great, BTW. The flight was uneventful, except for the screaming infant across the aisle. Thank god for the earplugs that live permanently in my purse for just such emergencies. No airsickness — whew — thanks to Dramamine.

Took the BART train to downtown, then hopped on the Muni light-rail N train to Carl and Cole, which is just three blocks from Tim & Alex’s 100-year-old Edwardian in the famous Haight-Ashbury area. The station is right next to that dog park we had wine night at last year. San Francisco was cool, sunny, and windy. Tim let me unwind and settle in with a couple fingers of good Japanese whisky.

In the evening we took the N to the Castro district for dinner at Warakubune Japanese Restaurant, featuring sushi boats!

Warakubune Sushi

I’d never been to a sushi boat joint before, and the experience was adorable. The sushi chefs work at stations in the center, and place freshly-made dishes on open spots on the boats as they sail around the perimeter. If you see something you like, just take it off the boat as it sails past. The cost is based on the ceramic glaze decoration on the dish: at the end of the meal they tally your bill by counting how many of each style of dishes you’ve collected.

I treated the boys, but my appetite was off because of the damn Dramamine comedown. That stuff does weird things to my stomach. I feel okay, I feel hungry, but when I actually encounter the sight and smell of food, I feel a bit green. Still managed to get a few dishes in me, washed down with lots of their delicious green tea.

Afterwards we explored around the Castro district. It’s easily the gayest place I’ve ever been. WAY gayer than Hillcrest, for instance.

Me by the giant rainbow flag.

Me by the giant rainbow flag. (looking FAT)

castro flag

It was breezy. And COLD.

Got a set of three ninja erasers at some funky shop:

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1940 Ford just parked on the street.

A gorgeous 1940 Ford just parked right there on the street. He needs to get one of the new black plates!

The famous Castro Theater. They were showing "Purple Rain" that night.

The famous Castro Theater. They were showing “Purple Rain” that night. Of course. Nice tribute.

This insane doll collection naughtily displayed in someone's window.

This insane anatomically-correct doll collection naughtily displayed in someone’s window. Don’t look too closely, children!

dolls in castro window1

A rainbow crosswalk.

A rainbow crosswalk.

Loved this cafe's sign.

Loved this cafe’s sign.

This huge painting of a little girl sinking her teeth into a live tarantula was just too strange and disturbing to let pass. The owner says it’s based on a real photograph, and yes, it was a real tarantula, not a stuffed toy.

tarantula-eating girl painting

Of course, we had to roam around inside a couple of the gay porn shops.

I had to ask about the pink thing on the right: "I know what *this* end is for, but what on earth are you supposed to do with the long curly end?"

I had to ask Tim about the pink thing on the right: “I know what *this* end is for, but what on earth are you supposed to do with the long curly part?”

Dildos Dildos Dildos!

Dildos Dildos Dildos!

Of course, when you spot a seven-foot-tall anatomically-correct wooden penis from Indonesia, the only possible thing to do is have your picture taken with it!

Oh myyyyy...

Oh myyyyy…

Some random architecture and wacky color schemes:

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We went home and watched Ratatouille. It was adorable and lots of fun. Had a hard time sleeping the first night without a husband on one side and a dog on the other!

Next post: Day 2 – First Full Day – Exploring Lower Haight – Ice Cream Bar