Tag Archive: travel


Day 3: Friday, April 27, 2018 (Continued)

Erik told me about this amazing bar at the top of the Marriott nearby and that I should check it out if I felt like a cocktail (uh, have we met?) later. I got there and asked an impressively-attired liveried doorman in a top hat about it, but he said it wasn’t open until 4:00. I checked my watch – only 2:30. I didn’t feel like sticking around for an hour and a half just for that, so I headed home on the train. But it’s called the View Lounge, and it looks absolutely incredible:

Maybe next time.

On the train platform, a foreign traveler approached me. She wasn’t sure which train to take. I started to explain that I didn’t live there, and she made to walk away, so I stopped her, “But I still might be able to help!” She showed me the text message from her friend, who’d said she could take any one of 4 trains to get to Church street, just four stops away. One of the trains was sitting right there, but she and her companion were reluctant to jump on just yet. Finally she understood, we confirmed she was on the right side of the platform, and all she had to do was wait for one of those 4 trains, the L, K, M, or T to come along. Then my N train arrived and I had to leave. Nice to be able to help someone who’s even more of a newbie than me!

Back home, I popped into Hobson’s Choice rum punch bar around the corner for a cocktail. Their punches are pretty tame, so I added an extra shot for only another buck. It’s a great neighborhood bar. On their website: “During the eighteenth century, Rum became England’s most popular spirit. As Rum was brought back from the new colonies, the British realized its inherent appeal and ability to be mixed into fantastic concoctions known as punch. By the end of the century, in almost every living room, inn, or pub, a punch bowl appeared. Thus blossomed ‘Punch Houses.’ They were relaxing environments, plentiful of couches, colors, and Victorian flair.”

Arrr, grog!

Before dinner, I filled out my postcards. I’d brought 5 postcard stamps along, but had to go to the post office to get postage for Australia. (Did it arrive yet, Inga?)

Tim & I took an Uber to the Castro District. First we stopped in at the famous, historic Twin Peaks Tavern. It was one of the first gay bars anywhere where people displaying affection to one another did so in full view behind their enormous plate-glass windows, as opposed to hiding in some dank basement bar or windowless dive.

Tim placing our order.

They have a cool little loft, too.

I ordered a Negroni, just because I’ve never tried one before. Tim got a Sidecar, saying, “I just read about this drink in a great book…” The Negroni was okay, I didn’t hate it, but I’ll probably not get them again.

Second round, I got a Sidecar (they ARE so good). The bartender filled it so full I had to take a sip before I could pick it up:

New profile pic!

Great people-watching there:

Red Rubber Rex finds the Castro fascinating!

Great painting of the tavern:

Tim went out and got a pic of me and the bartender from outside. Pretty cool double image, eh?

From there, we headed over to Super Duper Burgers for dinner. They’re said to be even better than In-N-Out Burgers. I got a Mini Burger with cheese and bacon and a side of garlic fries. SO good.

Great people-watching from here, too.

I need to find someone who makes sugar-free ice cream!

In the evening, we watched the 2nd episode of Legion, followed by the 4th episode of American Gods, while eating the most amazing macarons from Munchery.

**Next Post: Day 4 (Part 1) – Ferry Building, Hillstone Restaurant

Day 3: Friday, April 27, 2018

Took the N train inbound toward downtown. The train was packed around 11:30 – this seems to be a normal occurrence, but I’m not sure why. I can understand morning rush hour, but lunchtime?

Met up with my old high school friend Erik for lunch at a soup and salad place. He works downtown. I got a smoked corn chowder that was quite good.

Erik

Afterwards, Erik showed me around a bit, walking us through Maiden Lane, a two-block-long pedestrian lane that was once a red-light district and now houses high couture shops like Chanel, Hermes, and Prada.

Also walked through Yerba Buena Gardens before parting in front of the Museum of Modern Art.

Boy, there’s nothing like seeing a bunch of vacation photos to realize how fat one’s gotten. I’ve started on the Keto Diet, BTW.

Catholic church across the street

MLK Memorial

Got to MOMA and began exploring all seven floors on offer. There were plenty of artists I recognized, like Warhol:

Self-portraits

Brando

Dolly

Elvis

There were several gigantic wall-sized Chuck Close pixelated portraits:

Photographer Diane Arbus:

Surrealist Salvador Dali:

Several Lichtensteins:

Not really my bag, but I kinda liked this one.

Frieda Kahlo:

And her husband Diego Rivera:

Several of Rineke Dijkstra’s beach portraits:

Georgia O’Keefe:

This ghastly thing:

Michael Jackson with Bubbles, life-size in gold and porcelain. Ugh.

Even a few by Henri Matisse!

“The Bathers.” My mom, when she was in art school, did a version of this. It still hangs in her home.

Several paintings that I saw I ended up getting the postcard versions in the Museum Store:

A few automated pieces like this butterfly machine:

Or these self-playing violins:

And interactive stuff, too, like this sleeping couple projected in real time onto a bed:

Or this printer spewing out news articles in real time. People are encouraged to pick up parts of the scroll and read what’s there, but to not tear the paper.

Or this pocketless billiards table:

Sculpture gardens:

A permanent snowman!

Such charming detail.

As I was exiting a gallery, I was taken by this huge double image on the wall. It didn’t have an identifying placard next to it, and it didn’t seem to be a part of the exhibit around the corner. I asked a guard, but she didn’t know anything. I think it looks like my favorite 30s film star, Carole Lombard. One of her favorite photographers, George Hurrell, used to employ multiple images like this. But the hive mind on all my CL fan sites says no, it’s not her.

I still think it’s her.

Update: I’m told that this is surrealist photographer Dora Maar.

Even the bathroom was amazing!

Lots more stuff that caught my eye. This is just a small sample of what’s there – I only took pics of stuff I liked or found intriguing.

 

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I really enjoyed the Louise Bourgeois “Spiders” exhibit, but was sorely disappointed they didn’t have any spider t-shirts in the museum store:

 

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**Next post: Day 3 (Part 2) – Twin Peaks Tavern, Super Duper Burgers

Day 2 – Thursday, April 26, 2018

In the morning, Tim & I went to Gus’s Market on Haight Street for pour-over drip coffee. A small crowd gathers to watch Tim toss treats to the dogs for doing tricks. Notice the hobo walking by at 0:25. My friend Erik says he remembers this guy from when he lived in the same neighborhood 15 years ago!

The rest of the morning was spent making dog food. Much of it was made up of leftover Munchery food. Siri played lounge music on the stereo. No videos, but it was similar to this:

Around noon I took the N train out to Ocean Beach. By then I still hadn’t eaten for more than 24 hours, and I felt alarmingly woozy after walking several blocks uphill to the train station. I went into the first place off the end of the line, Java Beach Cafe, and ordered a fresh-squeezed orange juice and a bagel with cream cheese. I sat outside on their darling patio and felt much better after a few minutes of blood-sugar management.

Cute place.

I went up Judah a couple of blocks to check out some places I’d heard buzz about: a restaurant called Outerlands, and a shop called General Store. They’re both on the same block. I also found a cute bookstore with an antique greenhouse in the backyard, and this adorable shop called Case For Making that sells hand-blended watercolor pigments and all sorts of high-end art supplies. This darling seating area is out front of all these places:

Memorial or donor plaques

Loved this weathered mossy bench.

Outerlands looked slammed, so I headed north a couple blocks to the southwest end of Golden Gate Park to see one of the big windmills there. On the way I spotted this charming plot of California poppies:

This part of the park is remarkably wild and unmanicured. Just steps from a busy street, you find yourself in a verdant old-growth forest:

Natural jogger’s paths are the only mark of human activity.

I found the Murphy Windmill, and boy is it HUGE! Clad in slate tiles, it stands some 95 feet tall, and each of its sails is 114 feet long. It is one of the largest windmills in the world. Still functioning, its copper dome freely rotates. In its day, the windmill pumped about 1.5 million gallons of water a day. The water, pumped from a huge aquifer under the peninsula, went to irrigate the Golden Gate Park when it was still being created – before it was just sand dunes. The other windmill pumped seawater to the Sutro Baths, and inland to various bathhouses downtown.

Poppies!

I could see that giant gear rotating.

Caretaker’s house? There were no plaques.

On the way back through the park, I stopped and rested in the green oasis for a bit. Also left behind some of the ashes of my departed friend Art in the hollow of a tree and took a few pictures to send to his widow, Betty.

So peaceful. The whole time, I only saw one jogger about 50 yards away.

Headed back to Outerlands, but by 1:30 in the afternoon on a weekday, the place was still packed. I passed on it and took the train back home.

It was noisy in there, too.

Found this great message outside a shop:

Popped into the Ice Cream Bar on the way back and got one of those Gold Standard cocktails I love:

Red Rubber Rex approves.

Plus, because I was still hungry, a cup of this delicious mushroom/barley soup.

Chilled and read for a bit at home, and then Tim & I went to San Tung for Chinese food.

I have been thinking about these crispy, garlicky green beans for two years, and their famous chicken wings: sweet, sticky, spicy, with shatteringly crisp skin. Also got an order of tofu and veggies in a garlic sauce that Tim was surprised to find he liked. Before: “Well, you’ll be eating that yourself.” Later: “Damn, this is pretty good!”

OMG OMG OMG

On the way out, I was taken by this image on the restaurant’s wall:

It looks remarkably similar to my neighborhood’s logo:

In the evening we watched the 1st episode of Legion followed by two more episodes of American Gods.

 

**Next Post: Day 3 (Part 1) – Lunch downtown, MOMA

It’d been two years since my last vacation in San Francisco. Once again, my excellent friend Tim and his husband Alex were kind enough to put me up for five nights. You guys are the best! Thank you so much.

Travel photos are more fun with dinosaurs!

Day 1 – Wednesday, April 25, 2018

I flew on Southwest this time. The “exploding engine/woman getting sucked out the window” incident had just happened a couple of days before. As a result, my flight was packed with people whose flights to Oakland had been cancelled for inspections. The Southwest people were great at getting folks to their destinations, or at least close to them. Because the flight was delayed by 10 minutes, drinks were free. Woop!

Terminal 1 at the San Diego International Airport SUCKS compared to Terminal 2, by the way. In Terminal 2, there’s a gorgeous fountain and sculpture, a fun moving LED light display, and multiple choices for food and drink. In Terminal 1, there’s literally one restaurant / bar. No art, nothing interesting at all. Red Rubber Rex and I got a Bloody Mary and a fruit/yogurt/granola plate to wash down the Dramamine while we waited for our plane.

We arrived in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood without incident, and I chilled for a bit before Tim & I were due at the neighborhood dog park for Wednesday Night Wine Night.

OMG the big pine tree’s gone!

A huge pine tree in the backyard next door has been cut down. The city ordered it – I guess it was dying. It changes the whole character of the gardens back there.

This was before:

And this is after:

Tim and Alex have a second rescue dog now in addition to Moby, a female named Xena, Warrior Princess:

She has the prettiest nose.

Around dusk we went to the dog park.

Xena has a habit of humping anything that moves.

Went home and I met their roommate, Danny, who’s a rabid John Stamos fan and a well-traveled whiskey connoisseur. He was nice enough to share some of his good stuff with us – a Japanese whiskey. I skipped dinner, knowing that the Dramamine does weird things to my appetite: I feel fine, I feel hungry, but when presented with the actual sight and smell of food, I feel a bit green.

Alex works for a meal-kit delivery service called Munchery and comes home most nights with loads of leftover food that would otherwise get tossed. Here are the dogs getting fed raw fish. Xena, being a delicate lady, eats daintily, while Moby practically chomps the chopsticks off:

In the evening we watched the first episode of American Gods on their giant projection screen. I think I have a wee bit of a crush on Ian McShane:

Both dogs were seriously pooped. Me too.

**Next Post: Day 2 – Dog Food Making, Ocean Beach, Ice Cream Bar, San Tung

Heading home today!

“Good Morning Golden Wave” by photographer Danny Mai.

 

Having a great time in SF!

An aerial view of the Golden Gate Bridge by photographer Tina Sullivan.

Pic of the Day – 4/25/18

Heading on vacation for a week in San Francisco!

Golden Gate Bridgein winter by photographer Ravi Kulkarni.

Huangshan mountain range, Anhui province, China.

Night stars and clouds at Ta’if, Saudi Arabia, by photographer Abdullrahman Almalki.

Hotel Ubud Hanging Gardens, Indonesia.

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