Last Thursday I departed on a last minute trip to San Francisco. Two of my close friends were driving up for Outside Lands, and I decided to ride up with them to spend a much needed visit with one of my best friends from college. We hadn’t seen one another since April, and this friend was someone I had spent almost every day with my last year at Santa Cruz. There was no way I could leave to Thailand without one last weekend in his company. So, how to sum up Thursday through Monday….?
Left town around ten-ish Thursday night. First stop- alcohol. Sitting in the back seat with a Four Loko while me and my friend passed the ipod back and forth. DJs taking turns makes for an interesting playlist. Dubstep to Ludacris. As we both made progress on our drinks the car ride got sillier, while our driver, of course, remained sober. Drove until we had to eat. Stopped for pizza sometime around midnight and ate an extra meaty pizza. Wrecked our stomachs. Only guests in the pizza place. Totally creepy. Drove for about another hour until our driver had to sleep, so we parked and passed out in a hotel parking lot. Hot air and a car full of limbs sticking out the windows just to cool down. Two of us slept with sunglasses on to keep the street lights out of our eyes. I thought it was clever, but our other friend laughed at us. Sleeping behind a steering wheel is not the best night of sleep.
With a few hours of sleep, we were on the road again. Driving under the rising sun that would make the Central California drive miserable. If, it weren’t for AC. Stopped again a few hours later so our driver could take another nap.
That time my friend and I played in the parking lot and entertained ourselves. I sat on the curb and wrote as he sat on the ledge of the trunk and played guitar. He skateboarded, I scootered. We wandered through a Pea Soup Andersons giant tacky gift shop. And I used a restroom that was decorated with more fairy statues that I have ever encountered. Literally, an army of them.
Once we could no longer fight impatience to go, we woke up our driver, who said we were making too much noise for him to really even sleep.
We stopped to get lunch in a town where everyone goes to get drunk or die. I am not kidding. It was either a hospital, or a bar. There was even a dive bar across from the hospital called The Waiting Room. My friend couldn’t find a bathroom so he peed in the corner or its wall. After that last stop we were off to San Francisco.
We got to my college friend’s house and dropped off all of our stuff and then drove into the city. From there I split ways with the boys so they could go to the show, while I killed time to meet up with my friend. I wandered the city until he got off work, admiring fountains, stopping for coffee, and walking the water front. I met him in his office, which was 36 stories up, and had a view of the Bay. His big boy job. We went out for drinks and tacos and caught up on months worth of events in one another’s lives.
Nothing better than sitting across the table from one of your best friends and seeing their face as you talk to them, while being so appreciative of them in your life. Friendships that will stand the test of time will be the greatest gifts in life.
After drinks, sneaking on metro, back to his house, meeting housemates, drinking beers, getting fresh, off to a night out, more sneaking on metros, hopping around in the Mission District, meeting people and having instant connections, sneaking off together and sitting on the stairs of row houses giggling and talking, meeting up with more friends from college, off to more bars, all cramming in one car, back to the house, partying on the roof, over looking the city, rows and rows of houses and lights, passing out.
The next day we all woke up a little worn out from the night before, and decided at noon to get some breakfast. We took the bart back into the city and spent the afternoon in the Mission.
Bloody Marys- essential, diner lunch, Goodwill shopping, more Bloody Marys, Dolores Park, laying in the sun, hippy hill, surrounded by more people I have ever seen just hanging out in a park, people walking by selling drugs, selling alcohol, selling whatever it is that got you high got you low, wherever you needed your mind or body to go, people in hula hoops, people practicing for fire spinning, minus the fire, people playing sports, all different kinds of music playing, all different kinds of people, some dancing, some sitting, some sprawled in the grass like me, drank our beers as we joined a three man baseball game, hit a home run, returned back to our spot and layed under the sun with the group I was with, ended the day with a Chinese food dinner. Passed Out.
Sunday was my last full day in the city, so I wanted to explore a little more than the Mission. I have been to San Francisco so many times that I was surprised that the Mission was really the only place I had never been to in the city. We took the bart into Chinatown and climbed the hilly streets. In and out of shops, looking at weird things, smelling weird smells, buying pounds and pounds of gogi berries and taking pictures with people in dragon costumes. Chinatown was my last bit of American Asian influence in my life before I move to Asia. After Chinatown we ended up in City Lights bookstore and I could not put down the most amazing book I have ever found. Every picture and every word explained things that I have felt before and the exact way I think. It was eerie looking at a book that I felt I could have written. I will buy it, when I have money again.
After City Lights, Vesuvius Café next door. More wandering led us to Dolores Park again, but today it was just the two of us. More catching up and sun basking. Back to the house to relax and then off to Golden Gate park for a game of glow in the dark ultimate Frisbee.
BUT WAIT, I FORGOT SOMETHING.
This is kind of a big thing, well for me at least. I went on my first real motor cycle ride, through the streets of San Francisco, in the evening, where fog was beginning to wrap itself around everything. It was one of the most exhilarating feelings I have ever had, as well as one of the most magical. It never occurred to me how much I would enjoy riding on a bike, even if just on the back. The feeling of the cold bay air on face, just that one band of unprotected skin across the front where the helmet didn’t cover. The way the bike leaned and so did our bodies. The vulnerability that you feel, unprotected, racing down streets, with only the sound of air rushing past you. I fell in love.
Glow in the dark Frisbee was so much fun, and the park was so thick with fog it was amazing we even could see the glow sticks. Mine were green. I wore them on both wrists and as a head band. After the game I went back to the house to cook dinner with the boys, and we had the most amazing meal I could have asked for. A whole baked chicken, lemon tossed kale salad, sautéed potatoes, quinoa, and bacon wrapped shrimp. Wine and Cheese. Delicious. Watched films made my friends as we ate dinner, and laughed until our stomachs hurt.
Check out- Scare Cabin of Uncle II.
The next morning I was back on the road again with my two home town friends, and was sad to say goodbye to my San Francisco pal and the city. As soon as Thailand is finished and I am done traveling to wherever else I end up, I am moving to San Francisco. It is the final destination. It’s such a unique city with so much life and spice and flavor. I want to call it home. I will call it home.