Musings from some former inhabitants of the sprawling metropolis that is Prudhomme City

Saturday, August 16, 2008

San Francisco Day Three: Art of God and Man

by CajunKate

So Day Three of my City by the Bay Most Excellent Vacay Ever Sponsored by San Francisco Best Friend/Tour Guide Seth (hmmmm, still seems a bit wordy, but it has certain je nais se quos, no?), we headed downtown.

Now, I must admit that downtown SF holds no allure for me. Staying with a friend who has intimate knowledge of the city, and can take you to all the cute neighborhoods and show you all the quirky little insider places kind of puts a damper on visiting the Virgin Megastore and Neiman Marcus, y’know? So, my overall perception of downtown was lots and lots of tourists and lots and lots of homeless people. Anyway, that’s where the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was so that’s where we were.

Seth had mercy on me and let me stop at Starbucks to get a coffee and a poppy seed scone. (God, I love a scone. I don’t know why. Maybe I was British in another life, but I can eat the hell out of some scones. That particular poppy seed scone was hella delicious, too!) Then it was into the MoMA to experience the Frida Kahlo exhibit.
Me and muh coffee outside of the MoMA

I looooove Frida Kahlo. This is weird because I’m not a big fan of surrealism or folk art, and Kahlo’s work is kind of a mix of both (at least in my estimation), but there’s just something about her work, the depth of personal investment that she puts on canvas, that really gets to me. Thus, when Seth mentioned that there was a special Kahlo exhibit at the MoMA, I was all, “YES! We are going to see that! We ARE going to see that!” And so we did, and it was all that I had hoped for and more. Even though it was super crowded, I didn’t care. Now, with my RSS and all, that is really saying something. It was THE most amazing museum experience of my life. Seriously. Ask Seth. I couldn’t stop gushing about it and thanking him for taking me. The only thing was that I wish we’d had more time. We only spent about an hour and a half, and I could have stayed in her exhibit for three hours easy. I didn’t get to see the rest of the museum, but that’s fine. I’ll go next time! See how I keep saying that about stuff? Like if I say it enough times it will be forced to actually come true?

So we had to leave Frida because we had a tour bus to catch down at the Ferry Building. We took the F Line, which consists of streetcars and trams that are all refurbished from cities throughout the United States and across the world. Ours was a tram from Milan, Italy.

One of my other SF dreams was to see the redwoods, so Seth sent me info on tours and I booked one for us. Normally, I wouldn’t do a tour for this kind of thing, but Seth doesn’t have a car so, if I wanted to see them, this was pretty much the only way. When we got on the bus, the tour guide kept telling us how lucky we were to have someone driving us and how we would be so grateful to the driver at the end of the day, and both Seth and I were all “Pffffft! Whatever, dude!” Ah, words we would frantically eat later.

First stop on the Muir Woods tour was supposed to be the Marin Headlands, but our tour guide assured us that it would be far too foggy up there to take in the full glory of the Golden Gate Bridge, so we stopped at the North Vista instead. For as many times as I saw the bridge when I was there, I could never get enough of it, and we took lots of pics at this overlook, even though I insisted that we had to go walk the bridge later in the week (which we did and which you will see…later.)

After North Vista, it was back in the bus and up to Muir Woods on the most treacherous and horrifyingly twisty and narrow road ever. As Seth and I clung to each other and gaped out of the window at the mind-numbing, instant death drop off, we were totally like, “Oh, GOD! We’re gonna die! Wait! This driver is AWESOME! Thank you, Baby Jesus, for this driver!” And the tour guide was all, “I TOLD you you’d be thankful for our driver!” Finally, we pulled into the Muir Woods parking lot and set off on the trail and had the most spectacular (dare I say spiritual?) experience with nature. Those trees were ah-mazing! Do yourself a favor and, sometime before you kick the bucket, get your a** out to California and experience this for yourself. Truly awe inspiring.

After the woods, we headed out on the hella crazy, twisty, death drop off road to Muir Beach Overlook. And, dude! Just…dude! Spectacular. Breathtaking. We went out onto a trail that leads directly out onto a cliff, and you look out at the wide, wide Pacific Ocean and the craggy cliffs, and the wind is just whipping, and you look up and see these birds just gliding, like wind surfing, on the air currents and…WOW! Wow, wow, wow, wow and some more wow! It was pretty cold out there on the cliff, but I didn’t put on my jacket, and the tour guide said to me, “Whoa! You’re pretty hardcore out here with no jacket on!” to which I replied, “I am from Louisiana, and I will go back to Africa jungle heat, so I am soaking up as much of this as I can while I can.” He was all, “Oh! I can understand that.”

Lastly, it was back on the tour bus and down to Sausalito to catch the ferry, where Seth convinced me to cut the line and was subsequently confronted by a lady whom he nearly drop kicked into the bay. Good times. Good times.

Back on dry land, we headed over to Seth’s workplace so he could pick up his check then got back on the F Line and took a Philly street car to the Castro, SF’s famous gay neighborhood, or as Seth would say, “Where you get to see the homosexuals out in the wilds of their natural habitat.” Like Pottery Barn. We strolled around the Castro for a while and, I must say, those gays sure do have nice thing going up there.

At this point, we tried to get back on a streetcar, but when we had waited for half an hour and none had shown up and I was growing more and more irate with “The Man” and his so-called public transit, Seth decided what I really needed was a stiff drink, so he took me down to a bar called Lucky 13, which is actually a straight bar. Go figure. There I indulged in two Lindeman’s Framboise and sipped on a glass of ten-year-old Laphroaig Scotch.

Duly liquored up, we were ready to try the streetcar again, and it came in record time. We headed down to Folsom Street to a cute little place called City Beer Store that specializes in beer, especially imports. I indulged in a beer brewed in Oregon (I think?), but I don’t remember the name of it. Sure was tasty though. By then I was starving so Seth took me a few doors down to a place called Extreme Pizza where I had hands down, bar none the BEST veggie pizza of my life which I washed down with a cold beer.

By this time I was feeling pre-tay good, if I do say so myself, so when Seth said we should go, I was all, “Screw MUNI! Let’s take a taxi!” So we did (after I went back to the counter and ordered another slice of veggie pizza to go). And that’s how I met a Russian taxi driver who I convinced to teach me various curse words in Russian. That’s how good I was feeling. My RSS was a vague and distant memory.

Then Seth put me to bed while I thanked the Baby Jesus..oh yeah, and that Alex guy… for another great day in paradise…and Frida Kahlo…and redwoods… and gays in their natural habitat…and Framboise…and veggie pizza.

Up next, Day 4!

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