Monday, January 24, 2011

San Francisco, II

I revisited the city of San Francisco, this time for a providential meet-up with my buddies from ThoughtWorks University. I'd spent time with subsets of our group before but this was the first time we were all together in the same place since our Bangalore days (which feel like light-years ago).

I accidentally an epic fail because I forgot to bring my camera with me (packing on Friday morning had been a frantic, hungover, and altogether unattractive affair), so I'm using my friend Sam's photos to abet me visually in composing this entry. All photo creds go to him.

One of the biggest highlights and defining features of our trip was where we stayed, which was an old warehouse in the Mission district that had been converted into an loft of insanity. It housed twelve regular tenants and slept a handful of visitors to the city. There were, among many other amenities, a net that could seat four, a couch suspended off the ground, a stadium-seated theater room, a pinball machine, Japanese-style shelf beds, a ladder to the roof, a tiki bar, and an infinity coffee table that told the time through its LED lights. Everything was made by tech-y twenty-somethings and blew my mind and made me feel horribly uncreative.

(The net, pictured above, had a lot of adorable teddy bears in varying shapes and sizes strewn all over it. I asked one of our hosts why that was, and he said that one of his roommates really dug Asian girls, who in turn really dug teddy bears. So he placed them to lure the girls there and so they could lie down together on the net. The funny thing is, we had this conversation when I myself was on the net, swathed in a fort of floofy stuffed bears.)

Our first night, we went bar hopping - first to the rooftop restaurant of Medjool which had a lovely view of the city's night skyline, and then to a seedier but infinitely more interesting joint just down the road. Ever since I watched that episode of Glee where Mercedes Jones leads her high-school cafeteria protest against the banning of tater tots I have been consumed by an overwhelming craving for the golden little fuckers, a craving that I could never quite fulfill in Canada. Well they were serving tots at this joint and I just about died of a combination of grease and happiness and alcohol poisoning.

At around one thirty in the morning I decided to call it quits because a.) I'd worked and flown earlier and b.) My feet were killing me from being in heels all day. Upon arriving back to our "hotel", I flung my shoes off as far as I could, plopped down on one of the comfy couches in the theater, and got my Mario Cart Wii on in the epic theater. I hadn't assumed my 'Daisy on the Mach Bike' persona since my second year of college and it was a grand affair, revisiting such familiar tracks as Mushroom Gorge (which used to be my best, but destroyed me this time) and Moo Moo Farm.

The next day I woke up to complete darkness, as our room was in the basement. I was completely awake and ready to go and quite pleased that the lack of light had tricked my body into sleeping past its usual hour...OR SO I THOUGHT, cause I quickly realized it was merely 7:30 in the morning. But there was no way my weird biological clock would let me fall back asleep. So I played pinball and read and swung on the couch 'til everyone woke up. We rode the BART to Powell & Market street and had quite the yummy spicy ramen lunch at Katayana. (I also ran into LUSH and stocked up. My collection is growing quite impressive) Then we rented Zipcars - a Mini Cooper and a Beamer! - and zoomed over to the small harbor town across from the Golden Gate Bridge and to Muir Woods, home of Cali's famous redwood trees, for some breathtaking sightseeing. Along the way we wound down Lombard street and got detoured by an anti-abortion rally. There were dreadlocksed people runnin' around with signs that read "We love babies!". And on the way back, while descending the mountains I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen in my life. Oh, California.

After returning the Zipcars, we enjoyed a lovely Italian dinner at La Briciola. At this point I was still accruing a massive sleep deficit and was struggling a bit to stay awake in the cozy, warm restaurant, but two cups of coffee and a lot of "Rose! Wake up!"s kept me from faceplanting into my prosciutto. After dinner, we began our night with a couple of beers at a local dive bar (Benders? Truckers? something like that), where the boys played some billiards. Then we headed over to DNA Lounge, a club. I've never been much into the club scene and felt vaguely uncomfortable with the unseemly acts that were being performed on the dance floor, but I did enjoy seeing some of the costumes that our fellow partygoers (mostly male) wore. Let's just say they would've made Snooki's outfits look modest by comparison and put Lady GaGa to shame.

Oh, and a highlight of that club experience happened when I ran into a girl who was crying to the bouncer that some guy had accused her of being a transvestite. She had quite a bit of a strong jawline but her waist to hip ratio clearly indicated that she was not and had never been, by any stretch of the imagination, a man. Anyway, we had a bit of a chat which went something like this:

Me: "Are you okay? Don't listen to that guy, you're a gorgeous girl."
Her (in between sobs): "Was it my nose? I know it's kind of big!"
Me: "Your nose is fine. "
Her: "Was it my hairy arms?"
Me: "No, it wasn't anything. And look, I have hairy arms too."
Me (thinking back to high school): "Eh, you'd be surprised."

The details of how that night ended are still fuzzy, but suffice it to say that I plopped into bed, this time fully prepared to indulge in a good night's rest. Not so - I received a call from a coworker in India at 8 AM and began my day. This time we walked in the gorgeous weather from downtown through Chinatown and along Pier 39, a gaudy and tourist-ridden but relatively mandatory destination where we ate clam chowder out of a bread bowl at Boudin's and saw sea lions arfing in the sun. Then on the way back, all my hopes and dreams were fulfilled when we saw The Bush Man! My buddy Andrew tried to engage him in conversation but The Bush Man was hard at work and only replied with, "you blowin' my cover, man!" when Andrew stood too close by.

I flew out of San Francisco numb in the wake of my marvelous crazy stupendous bizarre exhausting exhilarating delicious delirious experiences. It was truly one of my happier weekends in recent memory. It's only been a day but I miss the sun. I miss the crazies. I miss you, San Francisco.


  1. i've been to that airbnb before! did you meet Steve?