A Sense of Place: San Francisco


Rice-a-roni, the San Francisco Treat!

Rice-a-roni, the San Francisco Treat!

Ahhh… San Francisco, the lovely city by the bay. I have had the good fortune of spending the week here attending a conference in the service of my dark corporate overlords. If you have never had the chance to visit, I must say it is a unique experience. It ranks up there with New Orleans for uniqueness among American cities. It really is a remarkable place. I can understand why people come from all over the world to sleep in the gutters.

Honestly, I think that San Francisco has more vagrants per capita than any other city I have visited. If you are a young person interested in pursuing a life of mental illness, and homelessness, you could do a lot worse that San Francisco when choosing a place to wander the street muttering profanity and biblical passages to yourself. But I kid, I’m kidding, I’m a kidder. I have not actually heard any biblical passages being muttered through gutter stained beards on the streets of the city.

It really is a unique place that has to be experienced to be believed. The diversity is incredible, even by California standards. For a city that really didn’t get kick started until 1849, they have put together quite a history. Boom town, apocalyptic disaster, phoenix rising from the ashes, beacon of immigration, epic corruption, stately beauty, psychedelic degeneration, etc…

clang clang clang went the trolley...

clang clang clang went the trolley...

The cable cars definately lived up to the hype. Pretty dang cool. I could ride them all day. And the steepness of the streets on Nob Hill and Russian Hill really is amazing. Only Pittsburgh (McKees Rocks actually) can compare.

Nob Hill Home

Nob Hill Home

After the conference today, we spent 2 hours riding the cable cars, and wandering the streets of the city. I must have hiked 5 miles, and climbed a few thousand feet. The weather was wonderful for summer here. Mid 80’s with a nice stiff breeze from the west. Finally, around 6:30 we grabbed a few seats at the bar of the Tadich Grill. Dubiously purported to be the oldest restaurant in San Francisco. Regardless, the Halibut was fresh and the Sierra Nevada beer was cold.

The Oldest Croatian Restaurant in SF

The Oldest Croatian Restaurant in SF

View from the Bar

View from the Bar

And now night has fallen, and I have retired to my luxurious king sized bed at the Hilton. Sitting here, perched atop a mountain of pillows like a Sultan, I am pleasantly at peace with my role in the global meritocracy. Being a faceless cog in the employ of dark corporate overlords has its privileges. Enjoying the best and worst that San Francisco has to offer is one of them. Only a small harem waving fans and feeding me grapes would be able to improve the evening.

Crab pots on fisherman's wharf

Crab pots on fisherman's wharf

And so faithful readers, I bid you goodbye. In a day I will be back on the front porch as if I never left. I really hope “The Big One” hits before I leave. I will be so disappointed if I miss it. I couldn’t think of a more fitting ending to my San Francisco experience than wandering the smoldering streets with the rest of the godless degenerates as fire and brimstone roars down out of the skies. But I kid, I’m kidding, I’m a kidder.

Still, maybe just a little earthquake would be cool.

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One thought on “A Sense of Place: San Francisco

  1. I would agree with your assessment of SF…an amazing array of sights, sounds, and and smells. I’ll never forget getting hoodwinked into tipping a vagrant who was acting as a “tour guide” on the streetcars…wearing a fluorescent construction vest and handing out free tour guides and highlighting the streetcar path we were riding. He was very convincing. The experience was worth the $2.00 I gave up!

    The only better way to see the city is to get a tour from a native. After attending a conference, one of my grad school lab mates called his friend and we got a personal tour of SF. Abandoning Chinatown (some of the worst Chinese food I ever had) for somewhere else in the vast metropolis, we were taken to a local dim sum joint where the food was fabulous and very, very authentic. The funniest thing was that my companions spoke Mandarin and the waiters only spoke Cantonese, so none of us knew what we were ordering. This was my first exposure to dumplings (which I love) and chicken feet (which are an acquired taste)…good training for my current job working with Asian CROs!

    C

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