A May 2005 trip
to San Francisco by nik-nak
Quote: After hearing the hype about artsy-fied San Francisco, I decided it would be my destination for Memorial Day weekend. Although I would’ve preferred someplace with sultry temps, I wanted to experience a contrast to LaLa Land and was ready for the change of scenery.
Speaking of which, I recall the desk clerk telling me when I checked in not to wander the blocks west of the hotel because there was nothing there. He neglected to mention that indeed there is! The Tenderloin (aka the ‘Loin) is a somewhat run-down area of the city where a lot of down-and-outters hang out. It was a raw, in-your-face look at the drudgery of prostitution, poverty, drug abuse, and the mentally unstable. Imagine my reaction as I followed Darryl’s lead through the ‘Loin because he preferred to walk the eight blocks to the Fillmore shopping district. I was relieved when our seedy surroundings evolved into cafe-lined streets packed with specialty shops.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 11, 2005
111 Mason Street
San Francisco, California 94102
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on July 11, 2005
Colibri Mexican Bistro
438 Geary St.
San Francisco, California 94102
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 11, 2005
1007 Clay Street
Oakland, California 94607
Restaurant | "Buena Vista Cafe"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 11, 2005
The Buena Vista Cafe
2765 Hyde Street
San Francisco, California 94109
Attraction | "Union Square Shopping"
Union Square Plaza
Bordered by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets
San Francisco, California
Attraction | "Salsa Dancing at Club Cocomo"
650 Indiana Street
San Francisco, California 94107
So much for starting off the trip "fresh" and rested. Between the night of minimal sleep and the two-hour time difference, a sistah was broken down! In fact, throughout the weekend, I couldn’t tell you what time I went to bed—only that it was consistently late, and I felt worn out just about every day. That, coupled with the Bay chill in the air, was annoying.
Ultimately, I stormed off to the Punjab Kabob House, a restaurant serving Pakistani/Indian cuisine across the street. I indulged in a saucy dose of chicken tikka masala with naan bread and rice, and that took the edge off — not to mention watching another patron literally lick his bowl clean. Needless to say, although there were times when I wanted to stab him, we traveled fairly well together.
The walk to the bus stop through the Mission was even more interesting. A Salsa jam session was in progress outside of La Parrilla Grill. Naturally, as the music drew more onlookers, the crowd spilled over into the street. I finagled my way to the inner parts of the circle to see the musicians in action. One guy sat perched in a tree, while another climbed a pole to get an overhead glimpse of the mini-fiesta. The energy outside the restaurant was amazing, and nothing else mattered but the music. I live for spontaneous outbursts that help make the trip unique! "You should get out there!" Traci yelped at me, as others in the crowd danced impromptu with some of the musicians. For all of you who know me, you know I was itching to dance, but I figured I’d save my energy for the Salsa scene that night. At the end of the set, one of the musicians passed the hat and the owner of the restaurant came out tossing coupons to the crowd. Good promotional strategy if I’ve ever seen one.
It’s unfortunate that the rest of our stroll through the Mission wasn’t too pleasant. The air was thick with a familiar sweet stench as people casually stood around smoking weed. With anxious thoughts of the possibility that we could be in the wrong place at the wrong time, my guard was way up. City girl I am, but I just wanted to get on a bus and get outta there.
The bus ride made me even more nervous. A trio of troublemakers sat in our area and began intimidating the other young men around us. From across the aisle, Darryl announced to me that our stop was next. As I got up, I heard him urgently whispering for me to get in front of him. Apparently, one of the men had gotten up to approach me but returned to his seat once he saw that I was with Darryl. Soon after, we moved toward the front, a crowd of raucous girls got on the bus (which led to loud interaction with the thugs, of course), and yet again, someone broke out the Mary Jane. It was an uneasy bus ride through the Mission to get back to Union Square, and I was too happy to get off.
We decided to only get the rental car for our last day to see a few sights, since parking was such a headache everywhere. After driving down Lombard’s crookedest street and to some of the highest points overlooking the city, we did Fisherman’s Wharf at a glance, taking in the obvious: Ghirardelli Square, Alcatraz, blah blah blah.
Our intent was to spend minimal time at Fisherman's Wharf so we’d be able to do a couple of wineries; however, we ran out of time. That wasn’t so bad, though, seeing how I would’ve been a sleepy mess from wine-tasting.
After only four days, it was time to say farewell to San Fran and head back to reality. Will it become a frequent hot spot for me to escape to? Probably not, as I realize I’m an East Coast kinda girl to the core, and Cali doesn’t tickle my fancy. Although I still can’t pinpoint an actual feeling that I’d associate with the place, it’s definitely a city that has its own eclectic charm and can’t be compared to any of the others I’ve been to.