Second full day of vacation. Tim had some work to do, but also wanted to take the dogs to the dog wash, then get dim sum afterwards to bring home for lunch before Alex had to leave for work. I walked down to Flywheel Coffee Roasters, right across the street from Golden Gate Park. Got a cortado (two shots of espresso with an equal measure of steamed half & half) and camped out in the tiny garden patio in the back. Read my book.

Popped across the street and spent some time by Alvord Lake. It’s really just a pond, but it has flowers and shady trees and jetting water fountains and resident ducks. A maintenance worker was mucking algae and weeds from the bottom.

Tim texted that dog washing was off, and therefore dim sum was off. He needed to work anyway. So I walked at a leisurely pace east down Haight Street. A friend of mine keeps recommending Toronado pub, in the Lower Haight neighborhood, about 13 blocks away. I hear it’s a great beer bar with good food. There used to be a location in San Diego, which I’d been to, but it closed permanently during the Covid. Anyway, got there, and the place is closed. I think I was just a few minutes early, but I didn’t want to stand around waiting on the street. So I took myself south on Pierce Street, hoping I’d run into the N line somewhere along the way so I could take the train home. Some street art:

After a few blocks, I came out at the foot of Duboce Park. “Okay, now I know where I am!” The N line runs right alongside the park, with the Noe station at the top. But I spy a little cafe at the bottom corner across the street and check it out. Duboce Park Cafe has a charming sidewalk patio, shaded with big trees and protected from the road by large concrete planters.

I got a glass of Chardonnay and a grilled cheese sandwich and sat outside with my book. Posted pics on Facebook. A guy on a unicycle cruised by – not something you see every day. Realized that large blocks of time were regularly passing by without a single thought about my mom.

This lady was tying up her adorable dauschund. It howled from her lap when a firetruck went by. She apologized to everyone, but we all thought it was too cute.
Right by the train line.

Here’s Duboce Park from the top, by the Noe station:

Lots of dogs.

Took the train back and popped in at the Sword & Rose wicca shop at Carl and Cole. It’s unmarked and hidden from the street, down a breezeway that opens onto a darling little garden with water fountains, and there’s this tiny shop selling crystals and metaphysical books and tarot cards and incense and jewelry and there’s a wee nook for tarot or palm readings. I’m glad to see they’re still there. I got a couple of crystals. A Nambian jasper:

And this rainbow bismuth. Rich couldn’t believe it was the crystalline form of an elemental metal – he thought it was machine-tooled.

The plan for the afternoon was to meet my old high school friend Erik at the View Lounge atop downtown’s Marriott hotel at 4:00pm. I’ve been wanting to see it for six years. Tim was invited but begged off. I had some time to kill so I got an IPA at Hobson’s again. It’s a nice peaceful locals place. Very friendly. Read my book and people-watched through their enormous windows.

Then I changed into a decent dress and huaraches and took the N train downtown. (By the way, I had the damndest time negotiating the Muni system this trip. No more cash fares, it’s all on these blue plastic “Clipper” cards, which don’t like to work for me except on the BART. On busses and Muni trains, it absolutely refused to work, except for one time. Mainly I just rode for free, and luckily didn’t encounter any cops. I left my Clipper card with $17 unused bucks on it with Tim.)

Spotted this street musician on Market downtown. I tipped him the three bucks I’d intended to use on the train.

I got a bit lost, but Erik and I connected via cellphone on the street. Got to the Marriott, and on the elevator, there’s an electronic sign in the car saying the View Lounge was temporarily closed. Confirmed with an employee – yup, it’s closed just today. Bummer! Luckily, Erik worked downtown for years and knows all the best bars. We head to a cool old place called Sutter Station and catch up over cocktails. It’s got great atmosphere with old brick and dark wood. The place is mainly empty and quiet, just how I like it.

Erik and his wife used to live in the Haight district, too, so he suggested he accompany me back home on the train and we could visit a couple of his favorite bars there. So we came back to Haight and went to Zam Zam first. It was much quieter this time. And finally we ended up at the Gold Cane. I was drinking greyhounds. Erik, martinis. Then he walked me to my door, the gentleman.

At Zam Zam.

Tim and I watched the first episode of the 1993 miniseries Tales of the City, starring a very young Laura Linney and Parker Posey and Olympia Dukakis.

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