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:
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!
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.
Got a set of three ninja erasers at some funky shop:
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.
Of course, we had to roam around inside a couple of the gay porn shops.
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!
Some random architecture and wacky color schemes:
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!
Quick Navigation Guide:
- Day 1: Arrival – Sushi Boats – Castro District (you are here)
- Day 2: First Full Day – Exploring Lower Haight – Ice Cream Bar
- Day 3 (part 1): Japanese Gardens at Golden Gate Park
- Day 3 (part 2): Wings at San Tung – Parklets on Noe – Super Duper Burgers
- Day 4 (part 1): Land’s End – Sutro Baths Ruins
- Day 4 (part 2): Hobson’s Choice Victorian punch house – Carnitas taco dinner party
- Day 5 (part 1): Lunch with an Old Friend – Alcatraz Island
- Day 5 (part 2): Japantown – Ramen with Friends & Day 6 – Travel Home
- 2015 San Francisco Travelogue – Day 1