There's so much that I could say about this trip. I could write about what my boss referred to as a dodgy part of town, and emerging from the BART terminal, lugging, dragging and coaxing our bags through the dodgy-ness and the Chess games going on at the flimsy picnic tables along Market street, or the sax player who asked for change, and then told me he takes credit cards. But doesn't give them back. Or I could write about how charming the Hotel Metropolis, how it was built in 1911 and completely refurbished in 2003 - and now it's called a Personality Hotel. Indeed, I could tell you that I was given a key, a metal key, big and square with my room number stamped on it, and how it felt heavy and nice in my hand, and I commented on the rarity of being given a key, and was told it was because my room was near the fire exit. And how I didn't really understand the logic of that until I got to my room to discover that my room was not near the exit, my room WAS the exit. And I could tell you that I fell down from laughter when I read the notice on back of my door that told me that in the event of a fire, the door would automatically unlock and guests would egress to safety through my room to the fire escape. I could tell you that I felt that I was being asked to host a party.
Or I could write about Saturday night in the Mission area a Mexican Tapas bar called Ramblas, and all the delightful and delicious little bits that we ordered and how insane it was to have food that good and that inexpensive, or maybe meeting the couple who work in the theatre and took us to Divalas, which has a room in the back called the Hideout Room that you can secretly smoke in and still get the bar service but more importantly has better speakers. Or maybe about my boss and I drinking champagne and smoking cigarettes on my fire escape at a very late hour because we both thought it was SO COOL to have a fire escape and even though it was late we were going to sit there and watch the city pulse around us because that's what they do in the movies.
Or, I don't know, I could write about the completely toursity Sunday I had doing all the things that when my friend lived here we never did because you avoid at all cost the Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 34 when you live here, which I do understand but the seals were so cute that I wanted to jump in the water and grab their whiskers and give them big fat kisses. I just might have done it as well, if the wind didn't shift and I got a whiff of those stinkers.
I could write about the Ferry Building Marketplace at Pier One and how it was modeled after the Campanile of the Cathedral of Seville, and how for years it was the centerpiece of the port of San Francisco but had been neglected when the bridges were built but ultimately preserved in 1998 by a group of visionary architects who created a place for the Bay Area’s agricultural bounty to be meshed with the specialty food purveyors under one roof of shops inside the building, and restaurants outside along the pier, something that would serve the commuters and not be as touristy as the rest of the piers. What a success! I could tell you how we strolled through the shops and I found perfect birthday presents for two friends dear to me, and how exiting that was even though I knew it meant more stuff to haul around the day. I could tell you how we admired and envied the presence of the small grocery co-ops displaying pyramids of heirloom tomatoes in yellow, orange and deep red, and the blue potatoes, and barrels of olives and locally made olive oils, or how we had oysters from the Bay of Tomales with the lightest champagne vinegar, jalapenos and shallots drizzled over them, and they were sweet and creamy with an oh so slight and perfect metallic taste.
Or I could write about Colibri and how they have 110 tequilas and the best margaritas I've ever tasted and how we turned Sunday afternoon into Sunday night there and picked up our bags from the personality hotel way after the time we had intended to leave but if you've ever tasted Don Eduardo then you'd understand, and hey, we fell asleep on the BART on the way to Walnut Creek so that counts as a nap, and when we finally checked into our rooms at 11:00 and had to get up in six hours we really didn't care... until the waking up actually took place.
I could tell you all of that and more but I think what I want to say is that I have had a really kick ass week, and I'm pretty sure that if the other half of this picture is how hard I worked and how many meetings I had and how on top of it all I had to be, and was, then - to quote a certain someone in my life - happy days. Oh yeah.