After a week in Mountain View (where I lost two days to a stupid cold), I'm having a weekend in San Francisco, City of a Thousand Hills. Everytime I visit this city, it has a different feel -- not because it's a different season (it's pretty much always the same). Not because I go to different areas. Just because it's a strange city that hides its true nature from me.
I spend the morning walking down Valencia and back up, which was interesting. Apart from dropping by a store that needs to be a secret a little longer, I found several other cool places, including three used book stores (I'm somehow managing to not come home with an extra wheelbarrow of books), a store called "Stuff" which indeed has all manner of stuff, vintage, modern, weird, funny. I want to buy half of the things there and throw the other half out. Also found a neat store by the name of Paxton Gate, which bills itself as "inspired by nature and the pre-digital era" and has various nice artwork interspersed with all manner of dead animals. Nifty! Somehow I managed to pass by the Pirate Store, though.
After this roughly three-hour walk, I rested briefly before going off to Golden Gate park. Despite its confusing layout and shortage of maps (at least where I was), I found the Japanese Tea Garden and took some time walking real slowly and taking unusual pictures there. Then at sunset, I bussed out to Golden Gate bridge to try to recreate a picture I did there in 2005, but alas! they have redone the area south of the bridge so I couldn't get to the right spot. Nice sunset over the Pacific, though.
I had dinner at the local cult restaurant, run by the disciples of one Sri Chinmoy, a guru I hadn't heard of before. Apparently quite productive, having made 1500 books, 200,000 paintings and 14 million "peace harmony bird" cards. I'm slightly skeptical of these numbers - 10 paintings and almost a thousand cards every day, and a book a week during his writing years? Plus running, meditating, teaching, writing poems, writing songs, giving concerts... But I can't complain too much - I was there right before closing time, so they gave away the cake that couldn't be kept over the weekend. Yum.
Selected pictures 'r' up at https://picasaweb.google.com/110769792326934861724/SFFeb2010#
Tomorrow: The Exploratorium!