Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Postcard From San Francisco

Long time between blogposts. We're in San Francisco now and I'm behind with photos. These are a couple from New York, part of what has become The Group Shot Collection. It's basically just the two of us with a famous thing in the background. We were taking the soup tin shot and a friendly American offered to take a photo of the two of us and we couldn't explain that the point of the group shot is that we take it ourselves. We said yes please and thanked her because it was nice of her, even if it did defeat the purpose.

So New York was a revelation. I didn't expect to like America but New York is brillliant. And I thought New Yorkers were meant to be arseholes but for the most part the people were really friendly. It's a hectic city that really has so much to offer... so long as you can afford it.

San Fran is not so spendy and also has a lot to offer. We're staying in The Mission District and there are so many quality eating places. It's ethnically diverse and there is some really good quality food for really reasonable prices. Some areas are potentially rough in a way you don't really experience in Sydney with some very dodgy looking characters around, but so far we've been left alone. It doesn't feel threatening, exactly, but you do feel it's wise to keep your wits about you.

We rode bikes across The Golden Gate bridge to a beatiful little town called Sausalito and caught a ferry back. We went to Alcatraz yesterday and that was a haunting place. Very atmospheric as they haven't really upkept it since it closed. There are still bullet marks and grenade marks in the floors and walls of some cells from the attempted escape and seige of 1946. Very poignant were the accounts (recorded voices of one-time prisoners) of how close San Francisco was, but how out of reach as well. Apparently when weather conditions were right the prisoners in some cells could hear the sound of celebration from the mainland on New Year's Eve. I know these were hard-core criminals, but you can't help thinking about the impact this must have had on the humans they still were.

Anyway, it was a totally harsh place. Really interesting to have been.

At the other end of the accommodation spectrum, we found this really beautiful Victorian mansion/ B&B to stay at. We booked it as a splurge for two nights because it's close to dear friend Kat (who is the main reason we've come to San Fran). We mentioned to the owner that we're in town for a couple of weeks but need to find somewhere within our budget. He offered to do us a deal and that's just what he's done. He's a real character and seems to have taken a shine to us. He moved us to one of the premium rooms instead of a budget one and said we could have it until someone else books it and it's just so Goddamn lush. We move into a smaller room when we get back from a short trip away, but even the smaller room is plush and comfortable.

Side trip tomorrow to the Napa Valley for some wine tasting, then on to Lake Tahoe. Snow is predicted in Tahoe every day. The Dreaded One, Kat and myself will be having a white Christmas (my first ever) and we have a place with a kitchen so we can roast a Christmas dinner too. Snowboarding is on the agenda, which should be interesting.

Oh - last night... the weather has been grey and rainy here since we arrived. There was a full lunar ecplise last night but it didn't look like the cloud was going to clear. The three of us went for dinner and came back to our room to play board games (Jenga and Monopoly, lots of laughs) but we climbed up onto the rooftop to check on the moon just in case. Amazingly, the cloud was breaking up. We had seen glimpses of the moon earlier and it was brilliant white and as full as it gets, but through the thin wisps of cloud you could see the shadow eating it away. We went back up a little later and it was in total eclipse and glowing deep read.

It was apparently the first full lunar ecplipse to take place on the Winter solstice in 372 years, which was pretty special. Back downstairs my laptop was tuned into Psyradio and The Dreaded One said of the current track, "That sounds like Barry."Sure enough, it was a track called Lucid Dreaming Pt2 by our friend from Sydney who produces under the name of Third Drop Reflection. Weird time to hear a track by a friend being played on international radio.

Back soon, hopefully, with more group shots.


Y said...

Sounds like such a wonderful holiday! Merry Christmas to the two of you! Oh and my impressions of NYC and SF were pretty much the same as what you've already said. I would go back to NYC in a heart beat.

Margarita Milonguita said...

A beautiful time to both you and Miss Ann...

My captcha word is 'shilly' as in 'Enjoy the shilly season'

Rhonda said...

Hi Lee & Anne
Hope you have wonderful white Christmas and a great new year.
Love to you both.

Lee said...

Me too re NYC, Y. Right now I'm in the winter wonderland that is Lake Tahoe. This place is impossibly beautiful.

Thank you MM. Same to you.

Thank you, Rhonda. We're having a great white Christmas with one of my favourite people. I can imagine coming back to Lake Tahoe in winter but it's also supposed to be a great summer destination. I like what I've seen of America so much more than I thought I would.

Happy Christmas to all.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Americans really are some of the friendliest people I've ever met, they love to chat!

San Franciso conjures up all sorts of thoughts, the hippy era I've read about, songs about wearing flowers in your hair, tram cars going up and down hilly roads, flowers in windows [things I've seen in movies], it sounds like a really cool place to be.