Early the next morning we made our way back to the city via the lovely golden gate bus aka the longest bus ride of my life. We were to meet our friend Mary at the very last bus stop on the route to San Francisco and I must say she was certainly a sight to see after that experience. It’s always nice to see someone you haven’t seen in a long time … she originally moved out to wine country (from the Cape) with out best friend Mike to work at Medlock Ames. After several months there she took the big plunge last Spring & moved to the city. I wasn’t sure when Rory & I would actually make it out there but it sure felt good when we did. Instantly Mary made us feel like we were home. She knew we’d be hungry so she brought us to her favorite lunch time cafe which was this amazing bakery where we had the most delicious lunch – homemade croque monsieurs (mmm) – and brought it back to her place for a quick catch up picnic before she headed to work.
Mary lives in the Castro which is filled with bright colors, dynamic shops and plenty of good beer (and people!). Her house is friggen amazing. I suspect a highly estute older gentleman once lived in this house because of the amazing built in dark mahogany bookshelves, mantles, fireplace and liquor cabinet. I could picture someone in their 60’s sitting in this room drinking a fresh cup of coffe and playing a game of chess. The light poured in from the outside and you could just feel the historic energy in the place. Rory & I were in awe – just thinking of who once lived there… I loved the kitchen! The hardware & appliances reminded me of Montreal (very french)and it seemed to get a lot of good use with Mary cooking it up with her lovely roommates all the time. The streets reminded me of Montreal as well (every house was distinctive – in size, color, stairwells, doors etc).
Mary supplied us with just about all the information we would need to explore the city on foot. She was the perfect hostess – full of very thoughtful recommendations which was a very excellent gesture. We ended up heading out of the Castro on foot down to the MOMA to see a few different exhibits going on there. The weather was amazing – it felt like fall – we didn’t even wear out jackets (what a difference from Alaska!). There are lots of old cable cars in San Fran. There are also a lot of crazies roaming the streets. We ran into the same black man wearing green chucks on totally opposite sides of the city trying to sell acid on the street corners. I have no idea how he made it to one end and back. It was strange.
Anyway, the MOMA was pretty awesome. We saw 246 & Counting, The Art of Participation, and my favorite – a photo exhibit going on called Brought To Light: Photography and the Invisible. It comprised of the photographs/slides captured by scientists using microscopes, telescopes and photography to capture motion, galaxies, weather and the human body. These pictures were the very first glimpses of these amazing discoveries. They were awesome – something I wish I had a whole room in my house dedicated to. The participatory art exhibit was hard for me to get into but there were a couple of things that I found interesting. There were a bunch of Matisse paintings in the permanent collection which was really amazing to see in person.
After the MOMA we decided to enjoy the afternoon walking around – so we headed out & made our way to City Lights Bookstore – the home of the generation of beat writers. It was really cool – the upstairs had a whole section dedicated to the beat generation with a lot of old memorabilia on the walls of the creativity that happened within those very walls. There were a lot of movements that started in this city – it made me feel really good to be there to take it all in. You could get a strong sense of the culture through the history of it’s people. Very passionate, innovative revolutionaries. It made me wish we had a few more days (at least) in the city.
After the bookstore we wandered around and ended up in Little Italy where we grabbed an apple turnover and oatmeal raisin cookie (with banada) and headed for the pier. By the time we got down there it was starting to get dark but it was still really nice. The Christmas lights twinkling on the ocean and there were even lights on the trolley cars that passed by. It felt nice strolling through this unknown city. People watching and enjoying the culture. We took it all in and started making our way back to the Castro to enjoy a lovely meal with Miss Mary….