Oakland/San Francisco Part Two

On my Saturday in the Bay Area Meghan had a wedding to attend, so I was once again the responsibility of Parker (best friend of Old-Roommate-and-Now-Great-Friend-Emily, as I was reminded after my last post 🙂 ). And what luck! He lived just one BART stop from Meghan. We’d talked about hiking up in Marin– and the weather was actually cooperating so as to allow that– but ultimately decided there was too much left to see in San Francisco and opted to do some “urban hiking” instead. But first! The trek to brunch through Oakland (+Parker’s [roommate’s] cats).

We also stopped by Lake Merritt before taking that train underwater and getting reacquainted with SF. I identified the birds thanks to this handy little guide!

When we finally went into the city, we decided to just pick up where we’d left off the night before: in the Mission. Stop One, not far from where we got off BART, was what I’ve determined to be the Clarion Alley murals. The alley was covered top-to-bottom with vibrant (largely politically-charged) works of art. Really really lovely and inspiring. I don’t want to tell you how to live your life, but you’ll probably want to just click and go through the following pics as a slideshow to be able to really catch the details of the murals.

Then, at Old-Roommate-and-Now-Great-Friend-Emily’s suggestion, we stopped by Dolores Park, where we enjoyed the salads we’d picked up for lunch from a nearby bodega. It was a great recommendation on such a beautiful day, and as a bonus we saw an Ollie lookalike. Then our “urban hike” commenced as Parker led me up through the Castro District to Corona Heights Park. (Note that I remained dressed for a normal hike. When I asked Parker [while we were still in Oakland] if I could stop back at Meghan’s quickly so I didn’t look “so ridiculous,” he was quick to remind me we were in San Francisco and I was probably going to be the least ridiculously dressed person around. “Star Wars just came out… there will probably be people in Storm Trooper masks!” he said. [There were!])

From Corona Heights Park we got some awesome views of the city at sundown. Our bonus here was that as we were ascending, we noticed a man standing at the top of the rocks, arms thrust out to his sides, and pants at his ankles. “Ohhhhh, San Francisco!” one (or both) of us probably said; entertained until we saw the man come down (fully clothed) with two young daughters at his side, at which point we were a little weirded out. Also San Francisco’s hills are no joke, so it even felt like we got a bit of a workout.

Then we went and tried to drink at Elbo Room, but they’re that uppity kind of “law-abiding” bar, and they asked for ID. And– surprise!– I didn’t have mine. (After the briefest fearful moment, I realized it was in the tote I’d been using for the majority of the trip, but which I’d left at Meghan’s house in favor of the excellent pink-and-purple elephant tote she’d given me the night before.) So we had to go find a less strict place, which wasn’t too hard. Parker’s friend from the night before met us at the bar we chose (don’t know the name, only that there were sketches/paintings of naked ladies everywhere), and after a couple drinks we went to eat a burrito (because I hadn’t had one on my entire trip).

Then it was off to to– stop me if I’m getting too stereotypical for you– some event at a bike shop that was teamed up with the salon across the street, where local bands were playing short sets throughout the night. Hipsters flowing to and fro between the shop and salon, Tecates in hand; not a care in the world! (I sound like I’m making fun of it all, but clearly I was in heaven.)

Or, practically heaven. It was definitely fun, but by the time the band we came to see (Parker’s friend’s band? Parker’s friend’s friend’s band?) finished, the day (and whole trip, really) had caught up with me and it was time to call it a night. But it was a fantastic day in the city– many thanks to Parker for playing tour guide!

And… I guess I don’t have any photos, but on Sunday Meghan and I got some more quality time together, strolling (in the miserable weather– Parker and I got so lucky the day before!) all the way down to Berkeley; checking out shops and drinking hot chocolates. Went back, packed up, watched Roman Holiday, ate at Zachary’s (Meghan has opinions on Chicago-style pizza.), and then it was time for my final BART trip back to the airport.

Then began a loooooooong night/day of travel (10 pm PST flight to San Diego delayed to 11:30 pm; no matter– my SD layover was scheduled for 7 hours! I switched airlines, though, so had to get my checked bag, recheck it, and go back through security. Except it was too late at night and all the check-in counters were closed. The area was desolate; abandoned apart from the handful of passengers in limbo like me: Gollum-like in the dim light, scavenging for outlets and secure places to attempt resting. The only functioning outlet I found was right next to the bathrooms; I downloaded a detective game and rotted my exhausted brain for a few hours. Before long a bunch of police started showing up at the bathroom, asking if I’d seen anything or heard about anyone fainting. I had not. But apparently some girl had fainted in the bathroom, and it wasn’t a big deal, but there were suddenly a lot of people around me, and the Einstein Bros across the way had opened, so I decided it was time to get up. Edited some photos listening to their cheesy Gavin DeGraw-heavy playlist on repeat until I could finally check in. Was able to doze off at my gate for approximately 4 minutes before boarding and flying to Detroit at 7 am. The tiniest layover in Detroit; back to DC at 5 pm EST [then the half-hour metro trip home]), but I’d rather not get into that. See you next time with Peru news!

Oakland/San Francisco Part One

Moving right along…

Arrived at SFO with no problems only to instantly experience problems on BART (or “the BART,” as my “the Metro”-accustomed self was so inclined to say) when the train ahead of us broke down and held up progress/caused general mayhem for all the innocents on their way to Oakland. Even so, I arrived with ample time to meet Meghan (not to be confused with h-less Megan in LA) at her place before getting back on BART and continuing east to Walnut Creek to do “Swedish Christmas” with her family. This was a fun time involving Swedish drinking songs (sung primarily by Mrs. Notti while everyone else mumbled nonsense syllables in time), pickled fish, and detailed accounts of Alaskan salmon fishing provided by Father Dominic David (the family priest, and my partner-in-simply-giggling-along-to-the-drinking-songs, as we were the token non-Swedes at the event).

01 swedish christmas

The next day Meghan and I BART-ed (surely another inappropriate use of Metro-isms, but it stays) to Embarcadero; whence she showed me the Ferry Building, the nearby piers, the resident sea lions (or “boisterous pinnipeds,” as a sign so delightfully described them), Fisherman’s Wharf, and, from a distance, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. This led us right to the Buena Vista, where her parents had recommended we get some chowder and an Irish coffee (as that’s where they claim to have invented Irish coffee on this side of the Atlantic). Following lunch we completed one last tourist requirement by catching a cable car (DING! DING!) to Chinatown then rushing home so Meghan could prepare for the rehearsal dinner she was attending that night.

From there I became the responsibility of Parker, best friend of Old-Roommate-Emily. He took me to the Berkeley Hills, where, had it not been a miserably rainy evening, we would’ve had a beautiful view of the East Bay. (The gesture was still appreciated.)  Then we grabbed sushi in Berkeley, and then we went to watch “the Golden Warriors” game (I couldn’t have sounded like more of a tourist if I tried, is what I’m trying to say) at his friend’s place in the Mission. One of the friend’s housemates had come into the possession of some fancy chocolates by virtue of some lucky mixup at work, and we all worked together to make this gif. Thanks, team! Good work.

46 chocolate gif