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we land in san francisco

2009-01-24 - 9:18 p.m.


all photos 2009 by elaine radford

watch out for those wall geckos in san francisco, some of them are fairly good-sized animals
Well, here we are in foggy San Francisco. I was very much worried about landing in time to catch our prepaid shuttle last night, especially after the first shuttle company I called said, "Oh, honey, our shuttles don't run that late," because I was afraid they rolled up the sidewalks after 11 PM and we would have trouble getting to our hotel. But, honestly, we had no trouble at all. I think even if we had just walked up, instead of reserving in advance, we'd have had no trouble at all.

One lady on our shuttle didn't have a hotel and just asked to be randomly left off in the Casto area. At 12:30 AM. True. On a Friday. But also true...in California. She had a thick Slavic accent, and I have a very bad feeling that she has no clue that alcoholic beverages are not served after 2 AM in California, and her cool plan to party all night before catching her plane, instead of getting a hotel, might not turn out so cool. At least it's a low crime area.

I like our hotel -- great price, great location. I was so tired that I forgot to add DH's name to the room, but I went down in the morning and told them. They saw him anyway, but I wanted him to get the hotel points, since I don't collect them. In theory they have coffee with biscotti in front of the fireplace but let's just put it this way...you gotta get up early in the morning in San Francisco if you want biscotti. The coffee was good though. There was also tea and hot chocolate for those who swing that way.

We wanted the first day to be a low key day where we just got our bearings, so we headed out for a stroll around the area, which happened to be the Fisherman's Wharf area. We quickly caught sight of a California Brown Pelican, but the first impressive bird species to give us a wink was Anna's Hummingbird. I saw one fly in from over the water and land in a bare tree in bad light and then move on...but moments later, we saw one in excellent light as it fussed and cussed and exchanged "well, bless your hearts you sons of bitches" with other male Anna's Hummingbirds. Catch this dude in the right light, and he's just earth-shattering.

Of course we strolled over to Pier 39 to inspect the California sea lions. There were not 900 sea lions. There were maybe 100. But they were entertaining enough for us. There was also an evil gull which posed for our camera, which a British tourist informed us quite angrily had already tried to steal another woman's coffee by pecking through the lid of the paper cup. Evil, evil gull. I'm no good on western gull species and will get that information later after I inspect the (excellent) photo that the bird allowed me to take.


tough job being a sea lion but i guess someone's gotta do it
Lunch at the Boudin's Sourdough Bakery. I had the famous Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bowl which they claim they invented -- no part of a responsible low carb diet.

We went to Trader Joe's to pick up some groceries and, like a dumb-ass tourist, I photo'd one of their signs, and then a nice man had to come out and tell me that to protect their artists and their suppliers, they don't actually allow photos indoors. I offered to delete it, but he was super nice about it and said not to worry about it. But, folks, just for the record, no photos without asking prior permission from Trader Joe's.

The prices were great, I have to admit, and I was properly impressed. We ain't in San Diego or even Knoxville any more. The prices were actually something you could pay. And they know why they're famous -- at eye level as you walk in is the sign directing you to the display of the infamous "Two Buck Chuck."

Next we investigated the aquarium, which was most impressive with its two long tunnels of shallow species and deeper water species. I hate to say it, but I was not prepared for the moving slidewalk which sorta hustles you along, and when I got off the elevator and turned into the tunnel, and suddenly the ground was moving under my feet, I thought, fuck, there's an earthquake and I'm under 700,000 gallons of water and I'm afraid I screamed, FUCK! in a rather loud hysterical voice (sorry, Mom), but then I realized what was going on and apologized. It was actually a very good show but, just, warn people next time if the ground is going to be moving under them.

My favorite species were the highly attractive Leopard Shark and the White Sturgeon, a large fish that seemed to have the pattern of a skeleton printed on its surface.


you have to be a star to be in my aquarium

We noticed in the petting room that species like the Leopard Shark and the starfish species tolerated us petting them...but the various sting rays actually enjoyed it and would swim up to solicit being petted.

After we emerged from the aquarium, we were puzzled to see that there was a huge, frickin' ass ginormous protest going on. I was all the more baffled when I got out my binoculars and inspected the signs to see that it was a pro-life/anti-choice protest. Now let's stop and think about this. These folks have just had pretty much 30 years of complete control of the government, with the last 8 years having control of the executive, legislature, and and judicial branch. If they really gave a flying, then abortion would be illegal, and those of us who believe in choice would be the folks protesting. No. That ain't what happened. They don't believe it's killing babies any more than we do, or else they wouldn't sit on their thumbs for 30 years just to score political points with the stupid people. So...they are just fucking with people's emotions to create division. I really felt terrible for the woman I saw carrying a sign, "My only child became medical waste," because you can't help and think how they are playing on her pain. There has to be a horrible story behind that. And they are just playing on that, to stir up hate.

And don't even pretend you don't know who "they" are, since we all do...

There's a free tour of the bay included with the City Pass, and we hopped on the boat and enjoyed the dramatic semi-foggy views of the various islands, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and San Francisco itself. If I once knew the story of the natives who occupied Alcatraz after it was abandoned, I didn't remember it, and I was surprised to see and photograph the "Indians Welcome" graffiti. As the man said, they are the only folks known who were tossed off Alcatraz involuntarily.

DH returned to do some work on the computer, which proved more challenging than he had anticipated, for various technical reasons related to the fact that computers plus dog hair equal teh suck. I had lost all of my cheap, chee-zee earrings that go with silver/white gold jewelry, so I went shopping. I saw numerous examples of (cough) mammoth ivory impressively sculpted and carved and don't know what to think about that.

I returned to read the thrilling conclusion to my suspense novel by the fire whilst sipping a glass of Two Buck Chuck, while poor DH labored away to fix this computer. He bought, then returned, one piece of equipment, but the re-buy seems to have done the trick.

We enjoyed the free wine tasting hosting by the hotel which featured -- er, yeah, the same Two Buck Chuck sold in the same Trader Joe's behind the building. Then we strolled back over to Fisherman's Wharf and I had a fantabulous Pomegranate Cosmo at Fog Harbor, while DH had some much more low carb responsible bevvie. And so to bed...


structure on alcatraz

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