Flip Flop Flying

San Francisco

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San Francisco is lovely. I’ve spent the last few days hanging out with Vicky and Wade, and being a bit touristy, and, err, not blogging much. I’ve seen Coit Tower; saw a stone staircase dedicated to Falco, yes that Falco; drove down that hill (see previous post); ate wonderful pizza at Golden Boy; had a look around City Lights Bookstore, and resisted the urge to buy “Howl” even though I’ve not read it; had a beer in Vesuvio where yer Beats used to drink; and that was just my Thursday evening.

Here’s Coit Tower in all its building-on-a-hill glory.

Here’s Golden Boy Pizza’s neon sign. It’s one of the mysteries in life – for me – that somehow some people can make bad pizza. I mean, how difficult can it really be? Anyway, the pizza here was super duper.

And here’s the Falco Staircase.

Friday, I went to see the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s nice. Like most bridges, it connects two pieces of land so that people don’t have to attach their cars to some rope and drag them through the water. That was swiftly followed by nice little jaunt along the Pacific coast (I’ve still not dipped my toes in that ocean; must rectify that in LA) on our way to Haight-Ashbury, to visit the touristy hippy street. Not much evidence of real hippies left, I’m afraid; just a more tie-dyed hash-pipe postcard version of it’s past glories. Still, it had to be seen, and it duly was.

Don’t you look nice, pet?

The damn thing was closed. Bugger. Still, it’s pretty.

Just a street sign.

On Saturday afternoon, I got to be a part of one of those Hollywood things you hear about all the time when studios are bragging: the opening weekend box office receipts. I paid my $8.50 to see The Dark Knight, so, y’know, Hollywood would’ve only made $154,999,991.50 without me. Buying the tickets was easy on a little machine, but when we got up to the area where the cinema itself was, there was an enormo queue to get in, because of the United States’ weird lack of assigned seats. I wonder why they do this here? Everywhere else in the world where I’ve been to a cinema (UK, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina) you get a ticket with your chosen seat number on it, but not here. And it was by far the fullest cinema I’ve ever been in. Which, of course, meant it also broke the record (in my personal life) for the most horrendous conglomeration of food smells in a cinema, too. But, credit where it is due: no cell phones went off, and there was bugger all talking. Although a couple of people were sending SMSs in front of us. String ’em up, I say. Plus, there was one guy at the end of the row who seemed to be high on laughing gas. He found things funny which weren’t really chuckle-worthy. Eventually, at a point where something on the screen blew up, a neighbour of his had a go at him, “Dude, what the fuck is so funny? Jesus Christ!” After that I never heard his laughter again. Even when stuff was funny. But anyway, the film is great. A tad long for my buttocks, not that the film had any saggy bits, it was just quite long. And, well, without wishing to be too sentimental or owt, he is magnificent in it.

We had a nice wander through Chinatown after the film, and ate at a place called Brandy Ho’s. Snigger. Good Hunan food. I had the General Chicken which despite sounding like it might be a) quite vague, unspecific pieces of chicken, or b) some sort of cartoon army cockerel, was actually very very tasty. Food needs washing down, so we went to two lovely places afterwards. Tosca Cafe is a beautiful 40s-ish type place (I took no photos so here’s a Flickr link), and Specs’ Twelve Adler Museum, a little bar where, so they say, them same boozy Beats used to booze, and – when we were there – some dude was playing a piano.. just like in the movies! After all that, we returned to Vicky and Wade’s house and, err, watched the telly.

Well done on reading so far. There’s no prize for carrying on, but know that I appreciate those of you that do. Especially considering we’re hitting the baseball section of the post which I’m sure must bore the skin off you Europeans.

Another Major League Baseball park named after a company. AT&T; Park. Home of the San Francisco Giants. Who aren’t playing too well this season. But, one held out hope because their young, cutie, ace pitcher, Tim Lincecum was, ahem, on the mound. (I still feel like a dick saying slang-y baseball stuff in an English accent.) Wade and I had good seats courtesy of Vicky. The place where she works has a bunch of tickets, so we got to sit in some quite-near-the-field seats with the rich wankers. The food was good, too. Expensive, but good. A nice bratwurst hot dog, garlic fries (fucking hell, they were tasty), and a beer: all for $25 when you throw in a couple of dollars tip.

The opponents, the Milwaukee Brewers didn’t realise that I liked seeing home teams win, and only went and beat the Giants. I felt sorry for Lincecum after the week he’s had. I wanted to see him win. Pesky Brewers. And it doesn’t take much to make me a bit sour about a team, especially when the handful of Brewers fans sitting in the same section as me were being a bit obnoxious about their three wins over the Giants. Still, I did get to see a game in which two pop stars played: Corey Hart and Brian Wilson.

View from my seat.

Prince Fielder. Great baseball name, that.

A wedge of baseball.

Baseball guy.

The NL West flags.

Wisconsin guy.

McCovey Cove, j
ust beyond the right field of AT&T; Park, where canoe weirdos sit and wait for home run balls to splash into the water. To date, there have only been 47 “splash hits.” So, one can only imagine that the folks in those canoes are losers with way too much time on their hands.

A nice view of the Bay.

Sunday evening, after the game, we met up with one of Vicky’s friends, a restaurant critic. Thus we got free food. Hooray. But it was Ethiopian food. Boo. (I’ll give you a moment here to do the Billy Crystal joke in your head …….

……. done it? Good, let’s carry on.) The deal, when one is dining with a restaurant critic, seems to be we all have to order something different, and they get to taste it all and then the expense account pays for it. I’ve not eaten Ethiopian food before (okay, I’m biting my lip now, trying not to do variations on the Billy Crystal joke), and it comes on this enormo tray (…) with a kinda bready mat on the bottom and some other rolled up bits of this bready stuff. It looked like a beige sponge. It was a bit weird. Not sure I like it. The chicken-y stuff I had was nice, though. Can you see why I’m not a restaurant critic?

Even I’m bored of doing this blog entry now, so three cheers for you, dear reader. But, it’s 3.10am, and I’m determined to finish before I turn in for the night. I’m sleeping on an air mattress here, and, well, it’s bloody comfy. I’m amazed, really. Whenever you stay with a friend and they say, “I’ve got an air mattress!” your heart sinks, doesn’t it? It’s like they’re saying, “Sleep well, sucka!” But this one is like what the Care Bear version of an air mattress would be: a nice comfy mattress of air.

So, Monday came and knowing it was my last full day in this Sanest of Franciscos, I wanted to get out and about and see some stuff. Got on the BART train and went to a museum… oh bugger, it’s Monday. Museums the world over are closed on Mondays. So, a big chunk of my day went for a Burton. I had a walk around where all the piers are, though, all the way to the rather-tacky Fisherman’s Wharf. Aside from a cracking Double-Double at In-N-Out Burger; Musée Mécanique, a nice museum full of old penny arcade machines; and a ride hanging off the edge of a cable car; apart from those three little things, I felt sight-seeing fatigue. I know: you’re playing the world’s smallest violin right now, huh? Less than two weeks left now, and, well, I guess it is about time I went back to some sort of normal life. But not before I go to Los Angeles. Yay for me.

Written by Craig

July 22nd, 2008 at 3:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses to 'San Francisco'

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  1. > there was one guy at the end of the row who seemed to be high on laughing gas. He found things funny which weren't really chuckle-worthy.



    22 Jul 08 at 13:20

  2. Hi F3:

    SF is THE place in the world for tourists. Zillions of cool things to see (Tuesday though Sunday), fantastic variety of really great food (beige sponge is cutting edge cuisine), all packed into a pretty small space. When I was a kid living in the east bay, ladies put on gloves and gents hats to go to “The City”. All this assumes, of course, that you have serious money. . .
    RE: “Baseball Guy”: Do Football Guys in England wear ridiculous costumes too?


    22 Jul 08 at 16:24

  3. Great blog and well worth the read, “Baseball Guy” has his glove on like hes gonna catch something… What a nerd.


    22 Jul 08 at 17:37

  4. Paul: Yes, it was pretty annoying. I mean, those smart alec movie script remarks that only get made in films which aren’t actually funny (like the Bond one-liners), but you occasionally hear people laughing at: he was laughing like was watching Chris Rock or something.

    Walt: Sometimes, yes. There’s more face-painting than I think should be allowed goes on in football.

    Lisa: Thanks, and, yeh, we were sat WAY too close to catch any foul balls.


    22 Jul 08 at 17:59

  5. You should’ve gone to Alcatraz, the greatest tourist trap in SF…

    PS I was at the same game, though up on the third deck in right field…


    22 Jul 08 at 19:57

  6. The longer the entries the better, I just had to return home from 10 months in California and I’m missing it dearly — and living vicariously through you! Would’ve suggested visiting Santa Barbara if you get the chance, but the fires will put a hindrance on that. Hope you have a great time!


    23 Jul 08 at 03:01

  7. Just wanted you to know that I have been checking your blog daily ever since you first set off on your travels(actually I’ve been checking daily since the blog started years ago…) and even I’m sad that it’s almost at an end, and I haven’t even left Essex! You can tell you’ve been in the US a while when you start calling them cells instead of mobiles, hehe. Keep up the good work Craig!


    23 Jul 08 at 19:11

  8. Dana: Sorry I missed you. Next time I’m in town…

    Robotnic: Thank you kindly.

    Anna: I’m saying soccer instead of football now, too. Plus, I actually prefer “cell phone” as a name, anyway.


    24 Jul 08 at 01:26

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