Monday, May 19, 2008

Ode to the City by the Bay

On this, the first official day of my trip, I am surprised to find that I will really miss this city.  Even as I took a shower last night I was thinking "I love you so much, showerhead.  I can't wait to come back home to you".  (The water pressure in my apartment would blow your mind).  The weekend was a perfect combination of part-ay and relaxation; out of town guests arrived for Sunday's festivities, I finished packing and got to spend some quality time with my family. On the penultimate day before my adventure I was fortunate enough to enjoy an annual SF event.  And by enjoy, I mean party my ass off. 
 Bay to Breakers, for anyone that doesn't know, is a drunken street parade from one end of San Francisco to the other.  That's 7 miles; not a marathon by anyone's standards.  In true SF form, the 'race' was just like the biggest block party ever planned.   Naked Elvises, keg stands, women in diapers, people shouting "I love you!" to passersby, lesbians making out against trucks (Gay's Anatomy, for those of you that were there.)  Our group, a hungover mixture of Jem and the Holograms, Star Trek and Mario Brothers, stumbled along the route with paper bagged 40s and Jaeger shots, stopping only to pee and to dance during a bottleneck to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing".  If there is a heaven, and a God interested in luring me there, he will know to provide beer, a classic rock soundtrack, and 60,000 strangers who just want to dance.  You know those moments when everything aligns and all you can think is...happy?  
The fog arrived in the afternoon as we Muni'd our way home to put a close on the insane heat wave the city's been having.  Watching the fog roll in is one of the magical things about San Francisco - if you haven't seen it, book your flight now.
Other magical things:
1. The city is 7 square miles - you can walk anywhere.  And I do.
2. The Chinese ladies on the bus who have no sense of personal space and have no qualms about using their elbows to get where they want to go.
3. The local slang and ways to behave: Divis, Tendernob, livin' in the cuts, hella...Noe Valley is No-eeh, not No.  You don't have to yell "back door" every time you want to get off the bus, just wait for the green light and pound the door.  Learned most of these the hard way.
4.  The bridge.  Ah, the BRIDGE.  Just catching a glimpse of the red towers over the green hills makes me want to yell 'yippee!' every time.
5.  The people.  Everyone is a friend, everyone wants to help you out.  Even the bummies are polite.  I can't imagine a better place for me to have come to start anew.
I'm ready to go.  And I am so incredibly happy that this is where I get to call home when I return.  On to the Isle of Wight this afternoon (my British home) for a little time with my parents before I head to the Ghanaian village of Hohoe (Ho-way - it's not pronounced ho-ho.  Sorry guys, I was disappointed too.)

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