I started the day off with my usual continental breakfast (croissant with butter, apple juice, English Breakfast tea, and fresh fruit) but also went for a later, more complete breakfast downtown at Jim’s Coffee Shop. This certainly wasn’t a trendy coffeehouse for beatniks or anything, but rather a simple restaurant with booths as well as stools at the counter. I had the heart-stopper special: eggs over-medium and link sausage. Mmmmm. The smell of the place reminded me of my grandparents’ house when my grandmom cooked breakfast.
On my way back to the bed and breakfast to get my car, I got the most unique plea from a panhandler I’ve ever heard: “Do you have 75 cents? I need to get my hair greased, and I’m a buck-fifty short…” I had to give her props on that one, so I gave her the fifty cents in my pocket.
The word was that this weekend was going to be one of the worst traffic weekends in San Francisco history because of the Gay Pride Parade and the X Games, so I allowed myself plenty of time. Turns out I made it in plenty of time with my rental car return (which also turned out to be a lot simpler than I had expected), caught a shuttle back to the airport and then to the hotel (on which I met a woman that lives in Manasses, VA and also grew up in NJ), and was checked into my hotel by noon, a full 3 hours before actual check-in time. So, without too much delay I set out to explore the city.
I walked up through Chinatown, which is one of the better Chinatown’s I’ve been to. Good selection of restaurants and some nice, small markets as well. I picked up some Dim Sum tea and green tea for my hotel room. I then walked towards the Bay, figuring I’d check out the X Games. By the time I made it to pier 30, it became clear there was no way in hell I was going to get into the recently-constructed pavillion: there was a sign saying it was filled to capacity, PLUS there was a half-mile line to get in. Needless to say, I didn’t have the ultimate interest or patience to wait that long to see the X Games.
I did dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant I had passed earlier in the day, Golden Flower (with an accompanying Vietnamese name) at 667 Jackson. Very good pho and fresh spring rolls and friendly service. I did confuse the waiter, though, as I tried to impress him by ordering number five in Vietnamese (“Nam”). Turns out “Nam,” with the accent I pronounced it with, was another type of Pho further down the menu. I tried. :)
I came back and finally spoke with my friend Elly after a bunch of phone tag (actually I just kept on not being there when she called after I paged her). We’ve known each other for seven or eight years from back on GEnie, but had never met in person (I don’t think we had ever even talked on the phone). We decided to meet at the Elbo Room to check out the Wicked Session featuring DJ Sep, Stephen Kent, and Peter Valsamis. Elly identified herself to me as “the girl with pink hair” and I identified myself as “the plainest looking person you’ll see.” Both were true. :) Even though we are on opposite sides of the spectrum, we had a good time hanging out and just talking about everything from old times on GEnie (how dorky is that!) to religion to music. It was cool. Elly had to leave early because she was working on something for the WEB’99 conference I’m going to next week. I hung out for a while longer — the show was really unique. Basically, a female DJ spinning breakbeats, trance, and trip-hop accompanied by one guy playing drums and another guy playing assorted percussion and a didgeridoo (at the same time!). A full review of the show will be at the UA Journal.
Coming back I didn’t realize the BART subway system wasn’t like New York’s (open all night) but was rather like DC’s (closes early). So at 1am, I was stuck in the Mission part of San Fran with no clue about how to get back to the hotel. The bus system, MUNI, is rediculously complicated to a newcomer, so I just started walking trying to flag down a cab. In a half-block period I was offered drugs and, honest to God, approached by a crackwhore. And then later, when trying to wave down a cab, a guy across the street thought I was waving to him, and came across the road asking me, “You looking for the Mexican?” I’ll let you imagine the rest of the conversation that ensued. Needless to say, it was an uncomfortable stretch of time between when I found out that BART wasn’t running anymore trains in my direction and when I finally managed to find a cab with no one in it (and God only knows where the hell I was at that time).
I did come away from the night having heard some good, unique music as well as dub mix tape by the DJ spinning.