I haven’t written recently about anything too personal but I had the best day ever. My whole spirit could just sing. It was perfect and special and everything that could go right did so doubly in spades. I felt frission filled paresthesiatic joy through every fiber of my being in a town I’ve never lived in without a plan or proper directions. So I just wanna share what we did in San Fransisco.
We went by motorcycle and left Monterey around half past noon after a breakfast of coffee and one raccoon cookie, split. When you picture this motorcycle, don’t think cruiser with storage, think bond vehicle meant for one person to tour rural Thailand. Perhaps it carries two people through a village during a daring chase, but by design this romantic wanderlust contraption was not created to haul a pair and their overnight bag for longer than a few intense cut scenes. While my bum felt first discomfort, then pain, followed by an eventual numbness, my mind was rather more happily engaged. It was stunningly blue and Moss Landing was full of white morph herons, cormorants, pelicans and sharp shinned hawks.
When we made our way into the lowlands there were classic cars to fill every music video you’ve ever seen and kids traveling in beaters full of luggage and coke cans with their feet and arms lolling out the windows akimbo. Fields full of produce and produce harvesters in bright windbreakers smelled like salads and berries and sunshine and dirt. I was smiling like an idiot under my helmet the whole way into the city.
San Fransisco is made of prisms. I swear is shines more than other cities. It felt like we were gods coming to land the buildings hugged us in. In some surreal way I felt like I lived there already. I understand why so many people leave their hearts here.
Nobb Hill Hotel is strange and wonderful, and haunted. There’s just a presence. When you check in, everything is colored glass and silver mirrors and zebra print and modern, which is bizarre, as the rooms are a daisy chained maze of victorian influence and ghosts.
It makes very little sense and is gaudy and perfect. Our room way absolutely tiny with a dragonfly themed tiffany lamp and a window that opened out onto the fire escape from which we could voyeur into the apartments across the way, and vice versa I’d imagine. After dropping our things and stretching out we made our way down the block to a Korean tapas place I’d seen every time I’d stayed in Nobb Hill but as luck would have it for the exact hour we were there it so happened to be closed, so Thai food it was. The owner was eating lunch herself and waved us over to a table by the window. Best tom kha in the land. There were SO many straw mushrooms. Also of note, as we were eating the Blue Angels were booming over the cityscape which reminded me it was fleet week in San Fransisco. The port was only a 45 min walk away so we finished up and headed down to see some ships.
On our way to see our big ship friends, we wandered through Chinatown and saw several brave grandmothers cross the street at whim. Chinatown always feels like so much more that other parts of the city, as if somehow its fuller. More people, more things, it’s crowded in a particular way that marks international districts the world over. Somehow you’re always swimming upstream.
When we finally made it to the water the ships were mightily impressive. I’ll admit up close they looked much bigger than I’d imagined. We were searching for one ship in particular which proved a little tricky to find. The “smartphone of ships” and the newest ship in the Navy fleet was at a different pier and the day was waxing later so it seemed as if it wouldn’t be in the stars for us. We did find her though, and my goodness she was pretty. From a ways off it looked like the last tour group was headed on board and we went to search for the line which was shut down. We asked the security detail milling about the entrance if there was any way to sneak on, and I suppose luck was with us because he let us in as the very last people for the very last tour of the Manchester.
She was even shinier inside! We got fake cardboard sailor hats and the Lieutenant leading the tour said we looked like REAL SAILORS! I bought my second Navy coin and we chatted with a mineman about life on the water. I got a little motion sick…
Afterwards, my feet were a little tired and I didn’t relish the walk back to the hotel so we moved off the main drag a ways to catch a lift without the mess of traffic and tourists. As we walked a rift appeared between two buildings with a rickety wooden staircase leading up into the junglescape.
After we’d ascended about a block we were completely encased in forest and the city ceased to exist. It smelled like so many flowers and there were birds calling from hidden places. The sun was on it’s way down but it was still light enough to enjoy this sudden pause in everything urban. Along the way we found houses we’d like to live in, and at the top we arrived at the watchtower. The sunset behind the golden gate bridge was beautifully softened by fog and everything was pink and purple.
Our lyft driver arrived in an acid washed denim jacket and bold lips to give us one of the most wonderful ride experiences I’ve ever had. She played the new Ariana Grande album and went slow past any intersection with a view and let us roll our windows down, it was perfect. Every moment of the day was the cherry on top, our trip was just a glass of cherries.
Rewind for a second, there was this one particular moment when we were climbing up to the watchtower and we stopped near these apartments and it just felt like we belonged right there. Like maybe I was supposed to live there or I AM supposed to live there, in the purple apartments with the view of the bridge.
I don’t know if I’ve ever been on a more perfect trip in my lifetime.