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Maggie's school break getaway vacation with her Dad.
CLICK & GO! (On this page.) Culture for a teenage daughter. Haight Street hippies and alternative lifestyles. City bus encounters. Dining out and brunching. The Japanese Gardens in Golden Gate Park. Chinatown plus City Lights Bookstore, Telegraph Hill and Fisherman's Wharf. Napa accross the bridge. More about A Personal Potpourri.
Culture for a teenage daughter. Her first choice was Jamaica, a really grassy place, but not a good choice for parents looking for her to soak in Culture with a capital "K." So we suggested maybe something else with more learning opportunities and she picked the hippie capital (or it was at one time way back in the sixties) of the world--Haight Street in San Francisco. The photos on this page don't show it all but we did The Museum of Modern Art (twice); the Natural History Museum, full of noisy kids, but at least a few dinos and a bear to look at; Balanchine's three-part masterpiece, "Jewels;" an exciting Asian Film Festival at the Kubuki cinema, 4 flicks, all very worth viewing; the Japanese Gardens; and "Antarctic Symphony," a corporate sponsored British effort endlessly elucidated for the masses by the composer (Maggie walked out on this one)
Haight Street hippies and alternative lifestyles. From the moment the airport taxi turned uphill on Haight, Maggie's eyes lit up, though it was after midnight. Colorful, of course run-down, really bohemian, an honest Old Town--what Grenwich Village used to be before it got gentrified. This is the real thing--homeless bums and all. Half the folks sporting backpacks, some of considerable size. Maggie shopped clothing jean stuff plus a sale at Goodwill and got her hair done at a groovy (sorry, Maggie) salon. I found Euro-Indian mix music new and exciting plus lots more classical Indian to add to my collection. The place we stayed at was a gem--Red Victorian B&B. Found it last minute in an otherwise crappy travel tome. Rooms with wildly creative decorations. The aquarium flush toilet was worth the trip to SF. And the staff were honest to g-d peacenicks just like the old days! The lady-owner in her 80's starts each day getting the guests to talk about their save-the-world ideas. We ran into a punk star couple, "The-ends." (Still have to track them down.) Super interesting street people. Good as NYC cafe-coffee shops and much cheaper. Street very clean. A local rich guy and some buddies of his sweep the sidewalk every day. Then the city comes by and does the street. CLICK HERE for Haight Street hippies and alternative lifestyles.
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City bus encounters. Of course we took taxis when we were in a hurry or couldn't figure the map. But the city buses were the most fun. For one dollar (and they take bills, so you don't have to run all over creation looking for tokens like in NYC) you can ride it all, transfer as often as you like. Time limit is 3 hours, but nobody checks or asks for anything (like in London) so it's very friendly and cheap. We met the Sombrero Man, a nice bag lady (three whalloping big black plastic bags, all loaded on with care), lots of nice people to explain the sights, including a Chain Tattoo man, a high bike rider, and lots more. High percentage of Asian riders, not as much of a mix as in NYC. And three altercations. One was a beefy guy on a nice black lady for no reason I could see. She was quiet at first and ignored his remarks. Later she gave him back everything he put on her. The exchange ended abruptly when he got off at his stop. Another was a dirty street young-guy bragging to his buddies in back about a sexual thing at a public bath of some kind. A lapwork session with a girl they all seemed to know, very graphically portrayed in a jargon that sounded black but he was a white guy. Maybe rap-influenced. No money involved. The bath attendant spoke softly to him when they left--none the wiser. He mimicked the little white girl voice. Two sort of college girls up front got sick of this and told him to shut up. He said the bus was public and it was free speech. Don't get the wrong idea. The rides were fun and friendly. The altercations must be a SF thing, a sort of counterpoint to the generally pleasant atmosphere. Even when the bus was overcrowded the people were good-natured and polite. CLICK HERE for City bus encounters.
Dining out and brunching. Food service down at LaGuardia when we departed. A lone Asian food counter got us some soup and (of all things) fried platanos. There were drinks. Closed up too at Charlotte our transfer point late at night. First day was Sunday and we did brunch at a big fancy Japanese hotel. Champagne and orange juice. No one carded Magie. Food quite good even sushi. Live radio broadcast going on, so it was a party atmosphere. Our last day was a Sunday too and we found a big famous Market Street hotel for another farewell SF brunch. Same champagne and orange juice. Food a little better. Nice oysters. More European clientele. It was St. Patty's day and we ran into the parade. The best experience was a Korean restaurant with real charcoal fire for the kalbi. Great kimchi. A brand of soju I never saw before. So good we went there twice. Allioto's at Fisherman's Wharf was a must stop. Nice view. Good drinks. Oysters and more. Maggie got to like them. Later we met the Bushman (next page). We had sushi a couple of times waiting for a movie at the Kubuki (also next page). Very pleasant, authentic service and lots cheaper than NYC. They had chawan mushi, always hard to get (an old-fashioned custard dish). Chinatown was a treat. The boss was quite friendly, as here and in the Korean place we were the only Caucasian diners. (The rest were knowledgeable "truck drivers," ethnic folks who know the best food places.) In Napa we stopped at a fancy French chain restaurant owned by a German from LA. Overpriced, hip service, but a nice Napa experience. No carding there either. Oysters again. CLICK HERE for Dining out and brunching.
The Japanese Gardens in Golden Gate Park. The prettiest spot in SF. Plum, azaelea and camelia out for our visit. A perfect sunny morning. Everyone in good spirits. The gardens are old, so there are quite mature plantings and the water courses seemed intricate, compact. I've always like the Japanese Gardens in Montreal, but they are larger, more open and will take some years to develop the intimate feel of the SF gardens. The Tea House was a pleasant stop. Authentic cakes and service with a fine view of it all. We met a nice young family. They took our photo together and we took theirs.
CLICK HERE for The Japanese Gardens in Golden Gate Park.
Chinatown plus City Lights, Telegraph Hill and Fisherman's Wharf. City Lights Bookstore in memory of Allen Ginsberg. We rested in the wonderful booky atmosphere. Maggie likes "Howl." Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill by bus the hard way. Famous SF murals. Nice view of city. After lunch at Fisherman's Wharf we ran into the Bushman. Lots of fun watching him with the tourists. The most artistic panhandling gimmick ever. The Asian Film Festival at the Kubuki Cinema was a pleasant surprise. Good short films, documentaries, and a feature length treatment of Vietnamese refugees in a California resettlement camp after Saigon fell. Wonderful Vietnamese parasol dance by young girls on stage before the film. Cast and director interview afterwards. Met some nice people. Japanese shops and sushi bars nearby. SF Chinatown is beautiful, fun and full of life. Found authentic clay tea pots and minute cups for my tea collection. Maggie ogled the jade. Murals, shops, very nice food all around. St. Patty's Day parade rounded out sightseeing on our last day. CLICK HERE for Chinatown plus City Lights Bookstore, Telegraph Hill and Fisherman's Wharf.
Napa accross the bridge. Rented a car for a day visit to the wine country for old times sake. Years ago we'd drive west and fill up on wine for the trip back home. Air travel leaves wine buying out. Saw no wine but heavy weekend traffic on every road. Seemed much less fun and more like suburban sprawl. Napa in particular was disappointing. The rural feel is gone, probably has been for years. The boutique (luxury) shopping outlets caught Maggie's eye. She did the Coach stop. Loved it. I snoozed in the car while she shopped after nice Napa-esque lunch (see above). The best part was a swampy field near Reyes Point. Big expanse with mountains. No folks like at the beach we didn't get to. Found the Green Gulch Monastery (Zen) where a cousin lived/worked for years. They didn't know her. Stocked up on their incense and got a phone number to try and track her down. For under $100 a night SanFranciscans can hear dharma talks and participate in group zazen. Day visits on weekends and since this was Saturday they were moving in for a day of peace. Very pretty spot. Scary driving back in town because I didn't know which streets to avoid. Picked something (Division Street maybe) that just seemed to go straight up and never stop. Cross streets were something terrible because of the grade. Rounding the top it felt like a rolloer coaster. Cabbies and locals know the through (flat) streets to take. They should put this information on the map! CLICK HERE for Napa accross the bridge.
A Personal Potpourri.
Old photos, letters, clippings, greeting cards and other stuff too precious to discard. A Personal Potpourri is your Adirondack Guide's eclectic photo and writing place for stuff that just doesn't fit elsewhere in Fourpeaks Adirondack Backcountry Camps webpages. CLICK HERE for more Personal Potpourri. CLICK HERE to meet Your Adirondack Guide.
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