Sunday, February 14, 2010


Today I traipsed about San Francisco. I disembarked from the BART at Embarcadero and made my way down to the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. En route, I picked up some great new accoutrements—to wit, two necklace charms, a Scrabble tile with a bird on the flipside and a typewriter key, both N’s. The market itself is a glorious thing, if extremely overmobbed by tourists such as your dear ol' narrator. It’s what I imagine you’d get if you crossed Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal (with more outdoors) with New York’s occasional New Amsterdam Market (with less fish smell). And there’s a bookstore (the aptly-named Book Passage) and views of boats and hills through fog. Sweet!

The whole place is redolent of musicians: a stately string quartet, a sort of jam band, a meditative accordionist. A clarinet suddenly wails—“I recognized it right away!” a woman says to her companion’s “I thought it was a siren.” Farther on, there’s a delightful regiment of mostly boys drumming up a storm on—you got it—Drumm Street. I encounter them as I walk by a ceremonial-seeming cable car; in the space that would normally list the route, it says “Special: Nowhere in Particular.”

And of course the foods are glorious if you can wait in the lines (to my dismay, most of them were insurmountable for one on my limited time budget; I really wanted to check out Bluebottle Coffee, but it was not to be). I did manage to round up a jar of apple cider; an orange truffle brownie; two macarons, rose and pistachio; and a turkey potpie. So don’t feel sorry for me! Don’t worry; I didn’t eat all of them then and there. Tempting, though.

From here, I continued to my main purpose of the day. A bus ride, a puzzling long walk from Presidio to Park Presidio, and another bus ride later, I found myself at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. I watched as a bird landed on a statue of the architect. And then—surprise, surprise—I proceeded to walk across and back. Which was basically one of the best things I have done ever, I think, so the less said about it the better. The bridge itself is beautiful, rustically yet elegantly looming up red out of the clouds. On one side you’ve got shaggy green hills crowned with a thin tinsel highway strip; on the other, you can see SF in all its city glory, sailboats dotting the water at its foot. I had never been so far west before.

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