San Francisco

June 16 - June 18


Saturday - Day Two

David leaves early in the morning. I'm asleep on the floor, in my sleeping bag, between Philip's side of the bed and the wall; I hear the wake-up call, but that's about all. (I'd said goodbye to him the night before.) Later Philip tells me he got up to tell David goodbye. We sleep in for a lot of the rest of the morning, and then get up lazily, watching a movie on HBO and then going out to explore the city.

Alcatraz (photo by David)

The day is hot and clear in South San Francisco, where we are staying. In the city, where there is a good breeze from the water, it is warm and clear; we can see everything around, and each time we climb a hill we can look out at the bay or the Pacific or some water, and we can see Alcatraz with no problem. We drive through the Castro district to get downtown, and I practice with the video camera, marvelling at the brightness of the day and the blueness of the sky. We park in Chinatown and eat lunch, and then stroll around the city for a while. Then we get into the car and begin to follow the 49 mile scenic drive (with a few detours while Philip shows me certain sights, or follows his memory to a favorite place). So we climb Nob Hill, wander through nice neighbourhoods and watch people enjoying the sunshine. Then we end up in the Presidio. This, according to the guidebooks, is the site of the Spanish military post that accompanied the first European settlement of the peninsula that became San Francisco. It is huge and beautiful, overlooking both the bay and the Pacific, and guarding, effectively, I presume, the approach to the Bay. It is surrounded by huge, non-native trees, eucalyptus and others, that were planted as part of a more recent American military effort in the early part of the 20th century. While appearing to be empty, the buildings are immaculate, and the grounds are breathtaking. We wander through it, glimpsing the Golden Gate Bridge nearby, and watching all the people who have come out to bike, jog or stroll through its grounds. I shoot the history of the non-native plantations of trees to send to Garry.

After the Presidio, we join the ranks of cars crossing the bridge and drive over into Sausalito. This part of the area reminds me of a Gulf Island or of Oak Bay, only with a California flavour (adobe-coloured walls on houses, Spanish roofs). We drive along the waterfront there to look at San Francisco from this perspective, and then we crawl back over the bridge. All in all we manage to spend five good hours exploring the city, and as we drive back to the hotel, watching the traffic creep towards a Saturday evening on the town, we vow to spend our night quietly in the hotel, maybe ordering room service or something. A very nice day indeed.


 back to ashland
 back to day 1
 on to day 3

san francisco
los angeles
new mexico
new york city
quebec city