Sunday, 28 August 2016

Another day on the bay.

A good night's sleep and my laundry collected I felt So Fresh, So Clean. Simon missed out on Lori's diner yesterday so we paid a repeat visit. I had an omelette and a hot chocolate. The mystery menu item was an 'eggbeater'. I had to ask what it was. Apparently an egg with none of the unhealthy bits. I remained mystified but declined anyway. The waitress hinted they don't shift so many eggbeaters.

I'm glad I ate before I visited the loo though as there was a giant cockroach in there when I went for a wee. It didn't bother me and I was equally amused by spotting a salty old sea dog who styled himself the Jolly Codger.

We drove up to Haight-Ashbury where the hippie dream has fermented into head shops, tat shops, a few boutiques, and some decent looking food joints. A few 60s casualties lingered with sightseers and the homeless. The coffee shops, as with most big cities, overflowed with young people staring earnestly at laptops.

There were Bernie Sanders posters in a lot of windows and, thankfully, Clinton ones too. I say thankfully not because I prefer her to Bernie but because she can win - and stop Trump. Which would seem to be the most vital imperative right now.

We hired bikes and cycled through the vast Golden Gate Park to the Pacific Coast. Signs warned of fatalities if you risked swimming - or even paddling - and windmills, Dutch and Murphy's, surveyed the scene.

It's a great park even if there are, to my mind, too many roads and cars in it. The strong smell of gear that greets you is soon replaced by one of bbq. There are lakes galore, waterfalls, badminton and soccer courts, and imposing statues of people I've never heard of.

Back in Haight-Ashbury we stopped for a vegan burger. Delicious. The most mincing man in all San Fran served me up one hell of an Hawaiian teriyaki with chik'n tenders. My taste buds are still thanking me. Chrissie Hynde may be on to something.

We couldn't get parked near enough to the Golden Gate Bridge to walk over but, just as good, we pulled up at Crissy Field. You can form your own opinions of the views from the pics below.

There was a sea lion in the bay who managed to both frolic and kill a big fish at the same time. Mackerel fishermen competed with pinnipeds from the old wooden jetty as adorable kids dipped their feet in the brine.

There were barbecues in effect. Zorbing and sack races too. In fact the bag of kettle chips I saw one group working their way through could've doubled up as a sack.

As my first birthday messages came in from Australia (17 hours ahead of California!) we popped back to the hotel.

I took a PBR and wrote up the blog and then Simon and I hopped a cab to the Marina. The peppers and assorted snacks were good but the bar was playing terrible music (with the exception of Beyonce) at ear splitting levels.

A friendly Eritrean Man U supporting cabbie whisked us across to the Mission district. The grungy decor and brusque but friendly bar staff far more my scene. It was more multiracial, and gayer, than the Marina and all the richer for it.

The bar we tried was seriously ram packed though. A fire hazard surely. A girl slipped over on the piss stained floor of the gents, smashed her glass, and banged her head. She seemed ok though.

My birthday came in and Tamara, who had the misfortune to be stood next to me, generously bought me a Modelo. She was up from Santa Barbara to house sit while her sister attends Burning Man in Nevada.

Tamara's generosity, kindness, and eagerness to chat with a couple of strangers touched me greatly. As did the numerous birthday messages flooding in from all corners of the world.

When I got back to the hotel at about 2.30am I was tired and emotional in every sense of the word.

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