My Heart is Not in San Francisco
It is definitely tilting toward home, ( I leave tomorrow) but I have to say, the city by the bay is pretty nice, especially the weather. It is sunny and warm. ( I'm staying in a fancy hotel in Union Square- all the bell hops and a whistles. But the funny thing is, nothing works- the TV remote, the Internet, the shower head. Makes me miss the old Jupiter Hotel in Portland.)
I have been out to Petaluma, my cousin's daughter works on an organic farm there, and I had an author lunch there, so we vistited afterwards. They were planting tomatoes in rows in windy brown fields.The driveway was lined with olive trees, and I got to meet commercial free range chickens, which looked a lot like mine, only there were more of them.
The amazing thing about San Francisco is how urban it is downtown- like a mini, prettier, New York, and how right over the Golden Gate Bridge there are grassy hills and you are in the country, sort of. (Marin County catches up pretty fast.) But still, the farm is only about thirty miles from my hotel and it is smack in farm country, not a pretend suburban farm.
My cousin took me out to dinner in Chinatown Thursday night. It was crowded and noisy and the waitresses spoke in Chinese and very fast English. The tea was made of flowers, and they floated about an inch thick on the top of a pint glass. The food was really good. Then yesterday I walked over the Golden Gate and back. I hadn't realized how loud six lanes of traffic are. It was not as peaceful as I had anticipated from driving over it. The railings are only four feet high, so I looked out instead of down. There are a lot of signs reminding walkers that a jump off the bridge "is fatal and tragic" with emergency phones nearby. After that, I walked down along the bay, in a park with a gravel trail all the way to the St. Francis Yacht Club and back. People were swimming at the beach, and jogging, and riding bikes. The Bellingham Bay trail was my favorite, until now-- but this was really something. It was more crowded, but what a walk. I'm off to breakfast, and the ferry terminal for West Coast Live- the radion show with Jane Smiley and, I just learned, the poet Robert Haas. I bought his book, "Time and Materials," at the City Lights bookstore. After that Chinese dinner, my cousin and his daughter and I spent an hour there browsing and soaking up beat history. I hope he'll sign it for me.