Monday, March 7, 2011

Fisherman's Wharf - Adventures in San Francisco

After our organ recital experience we really needed to do something else, namely, Christian wanted to get doughnuts and coffee to combat the rainy day.  We searched for nearby coffee/doughnut shops and came up with a small franchised place called Latte Express  near Fisherman's Wharf.  After navigating several large hills and a few winding streets we found ourselves in the tourist monstrosity of Fisherman's Wharf.  I had been there once, as a tourist in 2004.  Needless to say, the place looked very different now in the rain around dusk. 

We found cheap parking for San Francisco and walked several blocks towards the little shop.  The streets were filled with vendors of trinkets and blaring signs. One Latin vendor smiled to a Chinese vendor and greeted him in Mandarin from under the overhang.  As expected, there were few tourists.  No one wanted to brave the evening rain that Sunday.  The few people we did see on the sidewalk were clearly associated with a hotel nearby.  The two or three young couples walking were tall and beautiful.  I immediately thought of Santa Barbara and wondered if I had found some strange locus that existed in the Bay.

We soon reached the shop, which was more of a convenience store than anything, the back wall completely covered by a set of drink refrigerators.  An overly friendly security guard talked up the shop (what he was guarding was not there, he must have been on his patrol).  The Asian woman behind the counter loudly and shrilly asked us what we would like.  I had been hoping for more of a cafe, and had wanted to pass it by, but because of the beckoning inside, Christian and I went in.  Plus, the doughnuts in the display looked good even if the coffee didn't.  I settled on a powder-sugar doughnut and Christian got an old-fashioned.  The sugar hadn't been brushed off very much from mine, and as I ate it went everywhere.  It cascaded onto the floor, my jacket, the table, and of course, exploded during each bite which caused it to go all over my face like a three year old might.  Christian laughed at me, to which I responded by rubbing my gums with my finger which only caused him to laugh more. I proceeded to remove the excess sugar from my face. Still, it tasted good and it was nice to have a coffee after being in the cold rain.

Feeling the urge to walk after we were sufficiently caffeinated, we went a block to the street right next to the water.  Of course here there were many more shops, bars, and restaurants, most of which were franchises.  We kept walking though until we could see the boats in the water, and finally came to Van Ness End, and then proceeded out the concrete pier.  A family was fishing, the kids running around and screaming at each other.  The pier was falling apart on one side which made us wonder what would happen if an earthquake occurred.  The old-fashioned lamps came on slowly as we walked out.  It started drizzling again.  But it was worth the walk to see the hill from the water.  The clouds half obscuring the city sitting just a little back from the water gave it a dream like appearance, and the buildings lit, were at once reflected both above and below, though to differing degrees.  Because the sun had clearly set, and the sign on the pier implied it would be locked soon, we decided to walk back.

On our walk back to our car, the streets had become covered in tourists, nearly all of them in rain gear and many inches shorter than me and that much more shorter than Christian.  I wondered why that was, the heights of people, and if it was an indicator of anything.  I thought again of Santa Barbara, land of people akin to trees they were so tall.  But this is San Francisco, which is homogenized in its diversity.  It's a place where Latin vendors speak in Mandarin to their neighboring Chinese vendors.  Yeah, this is more what I think of when I think urban America.

No comments:

Post a Comment