San Francisco was everything I expected and better. Palm trees, hippies with long pointed beards, chinese grannies doing tai chi in the park, purple houses, faeries wearing Diesel jeans, hills so steep there are steps in the pavement, cable cars and boats and fat breakfast waffles. mmmm and chicken apple sausage.
And so many beggars. A little granny came over to us while we munched on crab cake sandwiches at Fisherman’s Wharf and chattered a us in chinese, taking our empty cardboard boxes and putting them in the bin. We left our empty bottles for her as it would save her hunting through the rubbish for them after.
The Fillmore, where we saw Placebo on the Monday night has greeters at the door who welcome you. It’s small, I think they could only sell about 1500 tickets, It has a ballroom with crystal chandeliers, an upstairs balcony with cozy little tables and framed posters all over the walls. Every show they make an illustrated poster. It has been there since the 60s so there were hundreds of posters, all the way back to The Doors and Led Zeppelin. They gave us each a copy of the Placebo poster on our way out. The show was fab. I love seeing them in a small crowd, they played my favourite song and my boy cuddled me and the lovely Brian’s hair grew back. It was delicious.
We ran about Japantown, through the Peace Park, into shops full of anime comics, bonsai trees and stuffed koopa troopas. And I found the most fantastic store in the world. I’m obsessed with stationery and this shop was full of it, japanese pens, tiny notebooks, sushi erasers, everything in mini size. I could have stayed in there all day.
I woke up early one morning to go exploring Chinatown. I loved watching it wake up, people shuffling about, windows full of electronics and herbs, beads and lucky cats, shops opening, store owners sweeping the sidewalks. I bought colourful pastries from a little bakery and went back to wake up my boy.
We spent a night in a old Jazz club on the Haight with creaky floors and big semi circular windows cut into the wall between the bar and the stage where they were having an open stage Jazz/Poetry gig, drinking brandy. We went back to the Haight the next day for a look around at the multicoloured houses and the random shops and through Golden Gate park loving the palm trees. We walked through the Japanese Tea Garden feeling zen and drank Jasmine Tea served by a gorgeous Geisha.
We went out on a boat with giant mesh trampolines to lie on and had it nearly to ourselves, just the captain and his mate an three other people. We cruised around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge wobbling round the boat and taking pictures.
Our last night we hung out in a trendy club drinking more brandy and beers by the window watching the world go by and then walked to another pub. It was a tiny little place that made me so happy, it looked like it had just dropped out of the English countryside, with old creaky beams and mismatched tables in little nooks, only with an old Mexican bartender.
Our last day was spent doing more walking. Our legs and bums were so sore from hiking those huge hills, the trouble is you never seem to be at the top of the hill, there’s always another one. And on those cable cars is like being on a roller coaster, especially if you’re standing. They don’t go too fast but if you don’t hang on you’ll get flung about all over the place.
We went to the Castro where most of the gay people live, there are rainbow flags everywhere. It’s the happiest place in the world. We walked about the Mission where lots of the Latino people live as well. It’s so pretty, and there’s a huge church called Mission Dolores in the centre. We also went up to the Marina and looked at all the posh houses. I really loved all of it. I’d go back for sure, I think I could live there for a while.