Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Crooked streets and a bazillion steps

Since I couldn't fall asleep last night after Sarah left (stupid Claritin), I got some work out of the way so I could have some play time today -- my last full day in the city since my conference starts tomorrow afternoon near the airport.

I had a morning meeting with a Fortune reporter about Cleveland's solar initiative and another scheduled with USA Today, but that got bumped until tomorrow. Fortune's building is near the wharf and I got there a little early, so I popped over to the market and savored a spinach and goat cheese croissant. I'm totally obsessed with Cowgirl Creamery.

After my meeting, I returned to my hotel and eventually made it over to Boulevard (back near the wharf) for lunch. I had a fantastic salad comprised of organic Snow Queen peaches, goat cheese (I know), mixed greens and pesto. Very refreshing. Also tried their lobster bisque and ice
d tea with raspberry puree. All were delish. I've decided that good restaurants have cobalt goblets, which I love, and Boulevard was no exception. Don't ask me why I think that has anything to do with anything.

While I was eating, an older gent stopped at my table to "congratulate" me for dining alone. He said he dined alone quite a bit, but never saw a woman eating by herself. Great. After that, I felt like a complete loser.

After lunch, I found a quiet spot to have a client conference call and
then picked up some new rags as part of my sunburn management strategy, so I don't look like a complete tourist ass. Then I headed over to Musee Mecanique on pier 43, a free, time-warped arcade with mechanical fortune tellers circa Big, nickelodeons and quirky games like an arm-wrestling machine (I ran out of quarters before I could beat that machine's ass).

I had Grandma "tell me" my fortune (a card popped out), and apparently I'm a virtuous person, but I have so
me trouble with the devil..."The devil will get you if you don't watch. out." I also had my next career predicted, and I guess it's in the stars for me to practice psychiatry. And, I learned what my friends call me behind my back: wild (huh? I don't think ANYONE has ever described me that way).

I tried to get to the crookedest street (Lombard), but somehow ended up walk
ing up to Coit Tower...way, way uphill. Coit Tower is shaped (unintentionally, supposedly) like a fire hose and is named after a confused hussy who joined the fire squad after being rescued by firemen. I guess she also used to gamble in North Beach dressed in men's clothes.

I just walked around the first floor of Coit to see the mura
ls and then walked down the Filbert steps...and then up the Filbert steps until I thought I was going to fall over. It was San Francisco North Beach boot camp hell. I pretty much just clung to my Fiji water and map until I made it all the way back up the hill. When the guy I met this morning suggested it as a destination for my neighborhood immersion quest, he should have told me to wear my work out gear. It was not pretty, my friends.

I finally found Lombard and Hyde to see the crookedest street, so I jumped on the cable car and hung off the side to Union Square since I didn't have a baby or stroller to hold (kinda sad though).

Laid low at my hotel and then headed out to explore the Mission neighborhood before dinner at Foreign Cinema, a super cool indoor/o
utdoor restaurant that projects foreign films each night on the side of a building visible from the courtyard. Tonight, they showed Je T'aime. Absolutely wonderful ambiance and good food. I think my server thought I was a camel because I downed about a liter of water since I was still so thirsty from this afternoon. I had heirloom tomato soup and curry chicken with a summer potato and celery salad (no mayo...yes!).

I hiked a few hills in semi-darkness to catch the J train back to Powell station with my thumb on my pepper spray trigger the whole time. Today's Chronicle include
d a story on the front page about the increase in crimes/robberies against tourists, which freaked me out, so I booked it to my stop.

As a side note, I've noticed that San Francisco has quite a large homeless, mentally ill population. Sarah and I couldn't figure out if the city has great social services for people with mental health issues, which is why the high population, or if the reason is the opposite and the city's services suck so more people are out on the street. Don't know.

Second side note: I found out tonight that the large 6 x 6 grates I previously didn't notice on sidewalks in front of restaurants and shops are actually loading docks that go down a shaft underground to get large items inside. Pretty cool to see them open.

Last, but not least, Ella is going to be the new face of in-store signage for Target Baby. Go Bug!

A couple more meetings tomorrow and then I switch hotels and start my conference. Still three nights till I see Phil.

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