San Francisco Part One

Friday, January 19 – Saturday, January 20

San Francisco is my favorite city. This is hardly surprising: it’s everybody’s favorite city. That’s why it’s the most expensive city in, what, the world now? The solar system? The galaxy? Something like that. Therefore I try not to let myself love San Francisco TOO much. It’s just got to be a brief, unrequited love affair.

This is the second time I have visited, so I am super lucky. This time, I stayed at the Golden Gate Trailer Park, which is a very cute little trailer/RV park about a mile away from the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, which is to say it’s in Marin county. I have no idea what town it’s in and I’m not sure anyone actually knows: it’s more of that California thing where they just start randomly assigning town names. It is one of those parks that has been there so long the trailers have evolved into houses, with second floors and decks and fenced yards and adorable gardens. So the spots are very tight and getting in and out was a bear. It took not one but two very sweet men to help me do it. Well, it took one man who was directing me how to turn when suddenly he disappeared from my mirror. That was alarming – nothing like realizing your spotter is lying on the ground to get the old adrenaline flowing – but he said I hadn’t hit him with the truck and he would be fine. “I just lost my balance and fell over!” he said, and I helped him up and said I was okay now, thank you so much, perhaps you should go sit down somewhere. Then another kindly gentleman took over and popped Amelia into the proper spot, no problem, while I got my heart rate back under control. It is a nice park, though, and the ladies room, which is in a cinderblock building that also houses the laundry and the mens room, etc., is tilted. No, I mean the floor is seriously sloped. I thought I was losing my mind or perhaps had had a stroke as I was standing in the shower trying to figure out why I was so dizzy. Then I noticed that the water had all pooled to one side. Freaky, dude! It was just like the Mystery Spot except a shower. Also all the sinks are different, which for some reason I find utterly charming.

2018-01-23 11.31.38

It is crazily expensive to stay there. I can’t even. I went back through the blog last night and looked at some of my outraged posts about paying like $25 or something and I just want to weep. In California it’s $50 a night for most places with hookups or $35 for no hookups in a state park or, if you are in San Francisco or Santa Barbara or somewhere like that, it is $70. Seventy. Dollars. A. Night. And I’m so used to it now that it only provokes a sigh instead of horror and the strong feeling that if you are paying that much they should clean your bathroom, leave a mint on your pillow and produce a continental breakfast. But there you have it: California is expensive, holy shit.

One of my oldest and dearest friends lives in Fairfax, another town a few miles away from the RV park (and why I chose it), so I went there on Friday night after I had dealt with getting into my site AND GOING TO THE FEDEX STORE TO GET MY NEW FANCY LONG BIRDING LENS WHOO and we went out for pizza. It is always lovely to see her – one of the few good things I have to say about Facebook is it’s how I found Mimi again. San Francisco in general was high social time for me, which I needed badly. My friends Carol and Schuyler from Colorado turned out to be in town for the week for their 27th anniversary! Therefore, on Saturday we all went to the Women’s March together. YAY! #RESIST!


I was expecting the Women’s March in San Francisco to be, hmm, more important than the one in Asheville somehow? More intense? More something, anyway, but actually it was quite similar and maybe a little underwhelming. It turns out that the Left is just as bad at PA systems as they are at intersectionality and so, as is traditional at rallies and protests, I believe there were speeches but I did not hear or see one word. The signs were good, but not perhaps as good as last year. That is probably because last year we were all still reeling from the end of the world as we knew it and trying to adjust to this new, awful timeline and the signs had the shock of immediacy. This year they were just like old familiar friends, the kind of friends you really wish you did not need but, hell, it’s good they’re there, sort of like the other families in the waiting room at the ICU. There were less costumes than in Asheville, less performers, less signs per capita and way less chanting. I tried to help out by shouting a chant at the top of my lungs – The People, United, Will Never Be Defeated – and The People thanked me, or anyway some of the people did, but it fizzled and died anyway. Well, it is partly our fault no doubt, because we decided that we were only going to be activists for a little while and then sneak off and be tourists again, which we did by Lyfting to the Cliff House.

_MG_6999At the Cliff House, besides a somewhat upscale bar and restaurant (we had post camera cocktails and calarmari and it was good,) there is a camera obscura that has been there since the 1940s, housed in a small building that looks like a camera, or, well, like the Platonic ideal of a camera as imagined by the brain of a 1947 businessman. I would like to go on at great length about camera obscuras here, pretending that I know what the hell I’m talking about, but I don’t actually, so I will just note 2018-01-20 15.27.49that I had never seen one with a rotating lens before and it was SUPER FUCKING COOL, oh my gods, the coolest thing. And it only costs $3 and you should go so you can watch the waves and the beach and the back of the restaurant rotate endlessly around a concave white table in a dark box decorated with peculiar faded holograms from someone’s bad 1980s dreams.

_MG_7031 Then we went to Chinatown, which was Chinatown and I always, but always, want to buy EVERYTHING up to and including the jade pianos, because what the fuck, why not have a JADE PIANO? But I had to settle for a scarf. We had drinks at the Buddha Bar – we tried to go to Li Po, an aptly named dive bar that I went to with my brother in 2010, but alas while I was hanging out in Asheville and not watching Li Po became a Hipster Destination and it was too packed to breathe in, let alone order drinkage. The Buddha Bar, across the street, made for a lovely alternative. And then I took the ferry back despite the Lyft driver who had been in town for two weeks (he moved from Pennsylvania, where it is cheap but very cold and I suspect he moved to Pennsylvania from another nation entirely but I didn’t ask) and he didn’t know what a ferry terminal was nor where one could be found. But between us we figured it out in the nick of time.

Ferries are without a doubt the BEST method of transportation known to humankind. I would like to just ride the ferry forever, thanks Charon, yes, I am not getting off, I can ride back and forth and just bask in the wind and the spray and the hum of the engines and the calming knowledge that should I require it, there is a full bar and snacks below. BRING ME TO MORE FERRIES, is what I’m saying here, I REQUIRE CONSTANT FERRIES.




  1. I enjoyed reading about your adventures in SF and Marin County. I agree with you about riding ferries—we need more of them. When I commuted between Marin and SF they were my preferred method of travel.

    You might want to check out staying in China Camp State Park sometime. It is on the East side of Marin on SF Bay. It was a Chinese fishing village in the 1800’s and there is a lot of history and things to do there.


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