San Fran-tastic: Day 3

On my third day in San Francisco I rolled out of bed a little before 11am. (See previous night‘s drunken photo pic for explanation as why.) This is particularly sad because my body was on Eastern Time, meaning it was 2pm my time. I drank a lot of water before going to bed, so thankfully my headache was no worse than usual. I had intended to meet some friends for dim sum downtown at 11am, but that obviously wasn’t going to happen, so I still haven’t had dim sum in San Francisco. I guess that’s a reason to come back some day.

Instead, I headed to The Crepe House (for crepes of all things) with a friend. I think we got there before noon, so hopefully it was still considered brunch. I feel better about having Nutella crepes for brunch than for lunch because the latter mealtime makes me feel like I should be eating something without whipped cream instead.

Mmm, crepes

Mmmm, that was yummy. I then headed off on my own to take a bay tour. I thought this was when I walked through The Castro to get money from a Bank of America ATM, but reflecting on the timeline now I realize this must have happened the day before. (See, this is what happens when you wait 3 weeks to write about a vacation. Bad blogger! Bad!) The Castro is a well-known gay area, so when I saw someone walking down the street in a sequined tank top I couldn’t tell if that was just normal or a Halloween costume. As DanaDanger said, “Halloween is like a straight pride parade,” so everything got muddled. I also dashed into a CVS to buy feminine products because I’d gotten my period 5 days early as a birthday present. Not the gift I wanted, and certainly not on my vacation.

But that was the day before! This was Saturday, so I walked a few blocks to the train stop. This is what it looked like:

The bus stop

Yes, that’s an abandoned house and a broke-down car permanently parked in the driveway. No sign or platform, just a set of railroad tracks. I had to wave at the train as it approached to signal that I wanted to get on. I must say, the Next Bus app was incredibly helpful and awesome because it pinpointed my location by GPS, figured out what bus and train lines were near me, and gave me an estimated time of arrival for them. I took the train to a street car that I took to Pier 43 1/2 where I bought a ticket for the Red and White line bay tour.

I had to wait about half an hour before I could get on the boat, so I bought some salt water taffy at a candy store and got high on the smell of bread at the Boudin Sourdough Bakery and Cafe. I think this is what heaven smells like.

Crocodile bread

You could watch people making the bread though a glass window. I wonder what it’s like to have a job where people look at you all day long. It would feel rather odd if everyone at the coffee shop stared at me while I coded HTML. I don’t even like to sit at the tables next to the counter because I hate it when the people in line hover around me.

After that I boarded the boat, checked into Foursquare and was far too delighted to receive the “I’m on a boat” badge. I used to think Foursquare was really annoying and stupid, until I decided I wanted to be mayor of the coffee shop I practically live at. Then I decided it was fun and not annoying at all. See, I am open to new opinions!

The boat pushed off for a one-hour tour down the coast of the bay to the Golden Gate bridge, then back past Alcatrez and eventually back to the dock. The audio guide on this tour was much better than on the Hop On, Hop Off bus earlier in the week. My favorite moment didn’t involve any human made attractions, though. About 10 minutes into the trip a sea gull flew overhead, keeping pace with the boat, so it appeared as if it were hovering right above me. It was a beautiful display of the theory of relativity, but I made sure to keep my mouth closed in case the bird wanted to display Newton’s theory of gravity via his droppings.

See? Gull!

Remember how I bought a bag of salt water taffy before the trip? Yes, well I walked off the boat with a bag of wax paper wrappers. The sea gull ate them all. I swear. Rats of the ocean, I tell you. Or, you know, I shouldn’t be left alone with a bag of taffy.

At this point, I was starting to get tired, so I headed toward Chow where I was having dinner with friends that night. Actually, I spent 30 minutes at a bus stop waiting for the damn bus. When it finally came, we crammed in there as tight as they do in the Japanese subway. (Ok, maybe not that tight.) When I got off to transfer to the bus, I ran smack into what had caused the bus to be late:

Cop-ucpy Mission Street

At first I thought some sort of parade for the police force was going on. Then I realized the Occupy YourTownHere people were taking a moment for their daily vigorous exercise, right down the middle of the street. The cops kept things orderly and didn’t bash anyone in the head like they were doing across the bay in Oakland.

I eventually made it to Chow, but I was early so I popped into Aardvark Books which is next door. Honestly, I was less interested in the books than finding somewhere to sit my ass down. My feet still hurt from all that walking I did on my first day. Little did I know that the bookstore was just a front for a feline bordello, because this is where I met Owen, the kitty cuddle whore.

Own makes his bed

I sat down on the first empty stool I found, which happened to be in the erotica and sexuality section. Go figure. A minute later a yellow cat came around the corner and started kneading my hoodie, which I’d left in a pile at my feet. It seems to be trendy for bookstores to have cats these days, doesn’t it? I just let Owen do his thing and knead my jacket like those bakers kneaded bread earlier in the day. I have experience with cats and I know to just let them do the OCD things they like to do. After a few minutes, Owen stopped kneading and started doing that head bob thing that cats do when they’re judging whether they can make a jump. I took his cue, took my elbows off my knees and PLOOF! A kitty landed on my lap and we preceded to cuddle. And cuddle some more. And cuddle for 15 freakin’ minutes, right there in the erotica section. Please don’t tell my kitties. It felt so good, but I felt so guilty. (Also, he got a peak at my bra.)

Owen the kitty cuddle whore

Finally I saw my friends walk past the window and had to say good-bye to Owen. If not, I think he would have let me cuddle him until my leg went numb.

At Chow I ordered a boysenberry soda. Yes, a boysenberry soda! Boy, I like to say boysenberry.

Boy, I like to say boysenberry

It was manufactured by Hot Lips Soda if you’re looking to score some yourself.

Hot Lips soda

After that we headed to The Mint, a well-known karaoke bar, where I had to listen to someone butcher Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead. That’s one of my favorite songs, so I thought he should be arrested for aural manslaughter. After about an hour of that I was pooped, so I waved down a taxi to drive me home. This was the first time I’d actually waved down a taxi. I’ve ridden in taxis from the airport before, but they’re all lined up waiting for you. This time I got to stand on the sidewalk and flag down the cab myself. I felt so metropolitan!

When I got back, I watched some Breaking Bad with my friends who were having a Netflix streaming marathon of the show. Then I went to bed to the sounds of drunk pre-Halloween revelers stumbling down the street.

I had an early afternoon flight, so I hugged my friends good-bye and rolled my luggage to the closest BART stop and took the train to the airport. I make it a habit to check in online for my flight as soon as I can so I can reserve a good seat. After recalling how I was crammed next to a man with long legs and BO on my five-hour flight in, I decided to go crazy and spend $20 extra bucks for the last available exit row seat. I swear, this is as close to first class as I will ever get. Look at the leg room! I could fit a subway car of Japanese businessmen in there!

Look at my leg room!

As lovely as that was, I had the seat next to the window and nearly froze my ass off. I don’t know if that happens on all planes, or if this one was just one crack away from bursting open and sucking me into the freezing atmosphere, but it was damn cold. I tried to stick it out, but it became obvious that I needed my jacket from the overhead compartment. I try to avoid crawling over my fellow passengers except when completely necessary, because I’d like for them to do the same. I’d already had to do it once when I boarded the plane, and again when I went to the bathroom, so I was hesitant to do it again. But it was so cold that I said “Screw it,” got up and ignored any unspoken rules of airplane etiquette. The lady next to me wouldn’t get out of her seat though. We had extra leg room, but we didn’t have that much leg room. I was like, “Damn lady, would it kill you to get up so I don’t wave my ass in your face?” Anyway, I got my jacket, but then my legs were still cold, so I moved my backpack from underneath the seat onto my legs, which helped a bit.

Despite all that drama, it was totally worth it for the extra leg room. From now on, if I have a flight longer than three hours I’m definitely going to try to get an exit row seat, just not by the window. To sit in that row, you have to tell the stewardess you’re able and willing to help in the event of an emergency, which honestly, made me anxious. If the plane actually had an emergency, I’m probably not the person you’d want right next to the door. My imagination is good at conjuring up scenarios in which I take so long trying to open the door that everyone else on the plane burns alive. Still, I felt reassured that if there was an accident I would be one of the first ones out. I think about this when selecting airplane seats, always trying to get something close to one of the exits. I was very conscientious and reviewed the illustrated instructions on how to open the door, but I sort of wished I could get a practice run in before take off, like how they made us drill jumping out the back of the school bus as a kid. Bonus fun if I got to ride down the inflatable slide!

Thankfully, the plane landed safely without incident and I eventually arrived home. It was a great trip, and having the freedom to travel when I want to is one of the biggest luxuries of freelancing. I plane to take advantage of it again!

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  1. Merry says

    Portland now has an UnOccupy group. They protest about the Occupiers while agreeing with the fed-up feelings that started the movement.

  2. Ana says

    For some reason apparently the exit row is always freezing. Makes me wonder about the quality of the door seals. The last time I had an exit row seat the second the seat belt sign went off the flight attendant leapt up and flung blankets at all of us exit-row-ites. Since her seat was right there (awkwardly facing us), she knew how cold we were going to get. Thank god it was an international flight and there were blankets because while I am ordinarily the type of person who likes the AC on high, man it was fricking cold. But hey, yay for legroom!

    It was great reading about your SF adventures. I’ll be visiting next year and I need to work out what to see.

  3. JenFul says

    @Ana – I didn’t even think about asking the stewardess for a blanket. That would have been a much better solution than stacking my backpack on my lap. Glad to know it wasn’t just me, though.

  4. JenFul says

    @Rose – No, it’s not you. It really is in the shape of a crocodile. Or perhaps an alligator. I can never tell the difference in my bread reptiles.

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