The REAL shining city on the hill

I spent part of last week in San Francisco with my brother, Dave. He had to go to some seminar for work and wanted company for the drive up and back, so I happily accepted the invitation. I love to travel just about anywhere, and I've never stayed in San Francisco.

The drive up was boring and uneventful, just a lot of nothing. Dave's GPS basically gave us two instructions: 1. Find the 5 and 2. Drive north until you're comatose. Which we did. I caught Dave banging on the steering wheel trying to stay awake. He thinks I don't know that's why he was doing it, but I do. It's the same thing I used to do driving home from wherever at two in the morning.

We hit the city around dinner time and went to Fisherman's Wharf for chowda at Boudin's. So good! They claim to have the original bread bowl, but so does every other seafood place around there. We hung out on Pier 39 for a while, then drove to our hotel: the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on Union Square. Gorgeous hotel, but the room Dave reserved was the smallest hotel room I've ever seen. We tried to upgrade, but the snooty concierge told us they were all booked up. So I slept on the floor the first night, then traded for the bed the second.

On Thursday I was on my own for most of the day and got to explore the Union Square part of the city a little. It was so much fun! I loved everything about it: the weather, the shops, the people most of all. Everyone seemed so friendly and relaxed, and I felt like the people that worked in Starbucks and Borders were already my friends. So different from around here, where it tends to be a struggle to get a smile out of people. I sat in Union Square for a long time that afternoon writing, listening to the Thicker than Water soundtrack (it just seemed to fit) and watching people check out the art show. Later I met Dave near the financial district and we walked all over the place, looking at the buildings and the shops. The architecture there is amazing and beautiful. It's like they rebuilt the whole place in 1907 and haven't touched it since.

That night Barbara came into the city and we went to dinner at Brindisi in Belden Place. I loved eating outdoors in the alley, sitting so close to the people next to us that we could've (and almost did) eat off of each other's plates. It was great to see Barbara and talk about what's been going on and what's coming up and what our latest music finds are. After dinner we walked down to the Virgin Megastore to stock up. I was looking for an Owen album I'm having trouble finding, and Barbara was looking for various things that she got talked out of. I wound up with an American Football album, and Barbara got a Cure and a couple of U2s. Dave joined us at the store and we walked Barbara back to the BART station, and then Dave and I hopped on a cable car (free public transportation day!) at the end of Powell Street and rode it all the way to Fisherman's Wharf and back, standing on the running board of course.

We left Friday morning, stopping in Monterey for more chowder. It was such a fun trip, and San Francisco (what I saw of it) is a wonderful city. I'm sad that I only really got to spend a day there. But I'll definitely be back....

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