We drove up to San Francisco Friday afternoon. It was our intention to do this whole weekend by public transportation, and that’s how it started until we got to the train station in Palo Alto to find out that overnight parking was an entirely new concept which no one had ever thought of. While we were proud to be such innovators, we were a bit put off that we had already wasted time driving and instead we just drove the rest of the way. Which, as it turned out, happened to be a very popular idea. We spent a few hours on the road in the weekender traffic. Damn tourists.
The delays messed with our plans a bit, but we still made it to the Beach Blanket Babylon performance, a variety show whose fascination with big hats reminded me of big head mode in the classic N64 Goldeneye game. It was entertaining, and they kept it interesting by injecting relevant jokes about current issues into their songs through the performance. Everything in the popular media was made fun of, and I’m ok with that.
We stayed in a hostel near Union Square. It was our first time in a hostel and I didn’t mind it a bit. The rooms were tiny with a shared bathroom down the hall and a short bed and a desk in the room, with no air conditioning or fan. And I thought our apartment was Spartan. Everyone else there seemed to be of college student age and it was a good, cheap way to get a night’s sleep without breaking the bank. The lock on the door and another on the stairs told us we weren’t in the best part of town, but hey, it was fun.
Saturday we headed across the peninsula to Golden Gate Park, and took a bus which had a crazy old man a few rows up who was convinced that I stole his papers and that he was going to kick my mother-fucking ass the next time the bus stopped. He let the whole bus know it. This dude was yelling and swearing up a storm and I looked to see at whom his anger was directed, and the fucker was staring me straight in the eye. Awkward. He was pretty intense there for a little while and even went into a low growl where he said, “everybody’s gotta get off the bus at some time, motherfucker.” This all lasted for a few blocks at which point he pulled out a razor and started shaving, completely forgetting about me and apparently, his papers. Ah, San Francisco.
There was a Picasso exhibit at the art museum inside Golden Gate Park, but Jen and I were too cheap to spend the seventy dollars to see it. Pffft. I can get the same pictures on the internet. Golden Gate Park is huge. We wandered around a bit, stopping at a bunch of pretty little places before realizing you had to pay money to go any further. I’m looking at you, Japanese Gardens, Botanical Gardens, and just about everything else in the park. Still, we noticed a few places where a brave individual could run and jump over or through some shrubbery to make it inside some of these more lofty exhibits. We were not so brave. Instead, we took a paddle-boat around one of the little lakes inside the park, because at heart, I’m a fucking romantic.
My wife is awesome. She encouraged me to go drink my heart out at the Bay Area Brew Fest Saturday afternoon at Fort Mason. This thing was on one of the old piers turned party hall, and it was massive. I saw a sign that said the max occupancy was five thousand, but there had to be at least twice that. The entry fee bought you a cute, tiny little mug and unlimited tastings all throughout the joint. Besides the beer and public urination, there were some food trucks outside which sold out just after we ordered, which meant that it took a good forty five minutes waiting with other angry drunks for some bland chicken wings. Inside the beer hall, it was a bit overwhelming. There wasn’t a lot of character to it. It was all so utilitarian, so uninspiring. You stood in long lines to fill your tiny mug with great beer, then waited in another line to repeat the process. Yea, it was fun and the beer was good but the whole thing had this assembly line feel to it which made me long for home, knowing that Founder’s Fest is coming up and I’m going to be half a continent away. Now there’s a beer. The only brewery that comes close to the raw beauty of Founders is Stone Brewing Co. out of San Diego, and for all my excitement, I wound up being the guy behind the guy in line who got the last of Stone’s brew. Aggghhh, the humanity!
We walked back through Fisherman’s Wharf, which is the same route I’ll be taking, albeit reversed, when I do the half-assed marathon at the end of July. There were some big hills. Ugh. But the views were awesome all along the waterfront, so I’ll have that for, uh, motivation. Or something. They affix a number to your chest when you run the race and ask if you want custom text to go with it. Mine will say, SLOW DOWN. I hope they’re paying attention.
We didn’t get to spend the entire weekend in the city because someone had to go back and save little babies’ lives at the hospital, but we squeezed in a lot while we were there. In a few weeks we’ll be headed back up for a couple days as Jen’s parents come out to visit. I hope they don’t steal anyone’s papers on the bus.