Saturday, 9 June 2007

"We Built This City On Rock 'N' Roll ..." 0 miles

Ahh, the city by the bay - the city that never sleeps !

Can't shake off the early starts, so about 8 I set off for a good trudge round town. Down the main drag, Market Street, even boasts a shop called "Oxford Streeet," which sadly it most resembles. Got to the cable car stop but the queues were too long even at that time of the morning, although some people do use them to commute. I find it marginally quicker to walk. So, off to the piers and Fisherman's Wharf.

As I was passing Union Square I heard music - it was the local police band, all in uniform, rehearsing a fantastic version of Santana's "Game of Love". The moment was so perfect and they were so good, I felt quite emotional. By the time I had dawdled my way to Pier 39 and watched a fine busker singing and playing his saxophone, it was time for something to eat. One chilli dog later, I boarded a boat for a trip round the bay under the Golden Gate Bridge and a circumnavigation of Alcatraz. The commentary was very good too. I never knew that Mark Twain said; "The coldest winter I ever spent was one summer in San Francisco". Mind you, he had a point. Despite the sunshine the wind was a mite parky.

Arriving back on dry land to a barking chorus from the local population of sealions, I continued walking; I still think it is one of the best ways to see a city. Coit Tower, Nob Hill, Chinatown, including the white and blue painted wooden "First Chinese Southern Baptist Church" (bet that makes for an interesting service on a Sunday morning). My shoes seems to have healed themselves or at least are no longer leaking oil. 5pm - mmmm - beer time!

Since I was last here in 1985, the area south of Market Street has been regenerated to a degree and is now sold as "SOMA" (south of market...geddit?). So one or two new fashionable bars have opened up. Attracted the odd glance from the glitterati as I ordered a drink. Not sure it was my quaint accent - more like my attire ("marginal bum" - a rather scruffy bloke with a peeling face). Still, it ensured that I wasn't troubled by any of the scores of panhandlers that roam the streets. I am sure there are more of them since my last trip. Back on the road tomorrow.....where to next?


judithollows said...

Where to next?...........Las Vegas and then on the I-40 east with the odd detour? A welcome awaits you after Oklahoma.


Geoff Proven in Scotland said...

Hey Alex! Great idea man....been there myself and done a few bits of the trip you are on, envious reading about your experiences, but happy to see you getting 'em.
Is it an old Mustang? Guess not if it has aircon.....
Frisco is pretty good fun down Fisherman's Wharf, saw Edgar Winter play two saxophones at one time in a wee bar there, wowo!

Have a BALL man, you deserve it!

Cheers, & God Bless America! Geoff

lesp said...

Just read your blog. Brings back great memories. I used to do SF to LA and SD then to Vegas and Grand Canyon through Death Valley to Bishop up to lake Tahoe and back to SF through Yosemite. But that was all 25 years ago. have a great trip.