2012/04/24

Whirlwind trip

It wasn't the least efficient trip ever. I have actually driven for about eight hours round trip to see someone for three. This trip involved a couple of hours of driving, several hours of flying or waiting in airports, and several hours of sleep I'll never get back, but at least I did get to spend two full days in San Francisco.

I planned the trip originally to meet someone I've known online for many years but had never met in person. I have a pretty good track record of meeting online friends, and I hoped this would be another successful meetup. Alas, it was not to be. My friend C was travelling on business. Normally, his schedule doesn't change, but sometimes things come up. I had already booked the return flight, nonrefundable of course, when I learned that C_ was not going to be able to stay through Friday night. Still, he wasn't flying out until Friday evening, so I decided I would make the trip anyway. I booked myself a place to stay.

And then, his schedule changed again. His boss said he had to fly out on Thursday night, so I wouldn't see him at all. That was a blow. But I thought about it, and since I have two very good friends, A_ and S_ (who are a couple), in San Francisco who wanted me to visit, I decided to have the adventure anyway. I would also get to meet N_, another online friend.

So on Thursday afternoon, I packed a small bag. After class on Thursday night, I came home and got a total of about three hours sleep. I got up, put myself together, made coffee, finished the last bits of packing, and slipped out the door by around 2:30 a.m. At that hour, the border crossing is quick! I was at Bellingham Airport in plenty of time. It's about a half-hour hop in a prop plane to Seattle, then another hour and a half to two hours to San Francisco. I was at SFO by about 8:30. I took BART (rapid transit) to the stop near my hotel and had some breakfast. Then I went to the hotel, where I was allowed to store my suitcase.

Yep, only 45 bucks plus tax!
After that, first stop: shoes! DSW, to be precise. They have a new store in Union Square, farther up the hill than the old store. I spent a good two hours there. I was looking for some particular shoes—a pair of neutral ballet flats and replacements for my "good" flat sandals that finally reached the end of the line in New Orleans. After much looking and trying on, I found both of those for a good price.

I was also looking around in general, and the tri-coloured satin sandals caught my eye. I almost went for them, but I resisted. I did some more shopping around Union Square in the bright, warm sun. There was some kind of dance thing going on there at noon.

Since I'm thinking fashion even more than usual these days, I was in observation mode pretty much the whole time I was in San Francisco. One thing I noticed was that style didn't look a lot different than it does here. That's not surprising, since both cities have similar climates, or rather micro-climates. The weekend was unusually warm and sunny for this time of year, and days started and ended cool, so people sometimes weren't sure how to dress.

I saw more high heels than I do at home, both among business women and others. I saw a lot of wedge sandals. I saw a little more dressing up in general than I do at home, although given the fashion disaster that is Vancouver, that's not hard to achieve. I did see some similar styles, such as pairing a cute dress with low-heeled calf boots. The street style I saw was OK but not terribly impressive.

Much tastier than it looks!
I ate a healthy lunch at Bamboo Asia, a restaurant with an interesting concept. They have three stations—one Indian, one Japanese, and one Vietnamese. Each has several salads, several bowls, and something particular to that station—Indian wraps, Japanese sushi, and Vietnamese sandwiches. I went Indian and got a Lemon Paneer salad. The base was greens (mostly baby spinach) and other raw vegetables, on which were loaded cooked califlower, roasted peppers, and lots of tasty marinated paneer (fresh cheese cubes). It was delicious! Sorry for the half-eaten bowl. I didn't think of taking a photo until I was well into nomming.

I then went back to the hotel, where they allowed me to check in. Nap time! Unfortunately, I had stopped at Peets coffee, perhaps thinking I was still not going to be able to check in for a while. Or maybe it was just silliness. At any rate, I got a nap, but not a very good one. Then around 5, I met up with A_ and met N_ for the first time. She was great! We all wandered up Embarcadero, looking for a place to have a drink, but the bars along the water were all full. So we kept going up to North Beach (with a brief stop for me to change out of sandals that were not yet sufficiently broken in) to Church Key, my friends' favourite watering hole, where we met up with S_. There we were joined by one more friend, and I met the bartender/manager and several of the regulars. Fun evening! Church Key serves only beer, and they have some great pours from a huge list, some on tap, many in bottles. We had dinner just down the street at Tupelo, at which point I had hit the wall for drinking. I ambled home through the Friday night liveliness of North Beach.

I lurves me some baby goats!
On Saturday morning, A_ came by early, and we went to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. What a great market! This is California, so of course they already have things like beautiful strawberries and local asparagus. We wandered all over the market. Seems it was "goat day," so there were baby goats and lots of goat products, with samples. A_ bought food for the week. We also bought things for lunch: bread, two kinds of cheese (including some goat cheese), olives, almonds, and strawberries. We left the market via a large craft market where I got Sweetie some earrings.

We had planned to had back to A_ and S_'s house for our picnic, but S_ had to help his friend at the bar with a car issue, so we headed there for our picnic. We added some lamb sausage that S_ brought to the mix, and the manager poured some sour beer (not my fave, but went pretty well with the food). It was a thoroughly enjoyable lunch in great company. Then A_, S_, and I went back to their house to hang out. They have a great view of the bay looking toward Oakland and the Bay Bridge. I petted the kitties, watched the parrots fly overhead and squawk, and relaxed with special friends.

After a light supper that A_ made (from more market provisions), I wandered down the hill, though not quite toward my hotel. No, I veered off toward Union Square and DSW again, where I fell prey to those cute tri-coloured sandals. They were cheap, and I just plain wanted them. They will actually go very well with my favourite dress from Nicole Bridger, so it was not an entirely frivolous purchase. I went back to my hotel, talked with Sweetie on the phone, took a shower, packed, and crashed. I was up early on Sunday, did a bunch of flying, waiting, and driving, and I was home again.

2 comments:

Aerin Caley said...

Those tri-colored sandals are gorgeous and totally your style! Sounds like a fantastic trip.

Coline said...

Shame that your plans to meet up with "C" failed but plan "B" seems to have worked out well. Would have loved a pair of those sandals myself if they had not been so high...