Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Bay

The criminals in San Francisco, the ones I met anyway, seem pretty stupid. The second time one tried to sell me drugs I wanted to shake the little weasel, "Pay attention you moron: I'm a middle-aged guy with short hair and no accessories except a functional watch. Do I need to tatoo 'cop' on my forehead?" The panhandlers were pretty good though, almost always telling a story instead of just asking for money, throwing out lines for a hustle but usually smart or sensitive enough to tell when the fish wasn't biting.

The city itself was beautiful, especially from a distance. The weather was perfect, clear and windswept. The architecture was fascinating. The palace at the Exploratorium stunned me for a few minutes: I could imagine a hundred years after the passing of our civilization this building becoming the American Angkor Wat.

Close up, the city was less appealing- people sleeping on sidewalks (but wearing new designer tennis shoes), much dirt, bars on many windows and almost all shop doors could be gated, the smell of urine everywhere and in the corner liquor store the few bottles of good whisky had dust on them.

I walked for miles over two days- Chinatown streets and alleys (pornographic pre-paid phone cards and tourists getting some early afternoon action behind a massage parlor); North Beach (Little Italy, but I didn't stop for cannoli); The financial district and BART (I confess- I was looking to see how many buildings I recognized from GTA3 San Andreas); a single long loop from Nob Hill through Haight-Ashbury (a good IPA microbrew served by a stunningly beautiful six foot waitress who had eyes that were bright and clear but I couldn't tell if they were green or blue); through Golden Gate Park (with the stupid drug dealers and the slightly clumsy guy practicing spear kata); Up to the Presidio and through it on the hiking trails; down to the lagoon and the Palace of Fine Arts; over to Ghirardelli square and then once again up to Nob Hill and the hotel.

So- been away for awhile. Hostage negotiations training in Central Oregon, one day back on the computer (only a few hours, the rest spent hunting for missing dogs) then off to San Francisco to learn about the legal aspects of Internal Affairs investigations. Home late last night.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like San Fran has changed from when I would hang out there back in '81. Coming from NYC I was always amazed at how clean it was.


Kami said...

I don't know about '81 but for years now good friends of mine have been complaining about the transient population and how they're untouchable due to various ordinances. San Fran used to be clean ... now people can crap in your mailbox and the police can't do anything about it.

I never got the crapping in the mailbox thing. Wouldn't that be difficult?

It's crazy considering the cost of real estate there. You might have a 1.4 million dollar 1500 sq. ft. house but the yard is tiny and mostly taken up by a guy who sleeps on your lawn and pisses on your lithodora. ?

Anonymous said...

I never understood why the people of SF keep voting for those who are bent on ruining their city. I think half of my friends from Cali have left.