Mirror balls, Evil Yoga Women and Tasty Salty Pig Parts
San Francisco, California
The day started with us admiring the morning view from our window and watching the multitude of joggers and their dogs run along the bay front.
This was followed up by a good healthy dose of hotel coffee and a gentle stroll to the Ferry Building, stopping on the way to pet a few willing dogs.
It was Saturday morning and that meant the bi-weekly Farmer's Market was on. It was THE place to grab not only your groceries but also your breakfast. After a quick circuit, we found just what we fancied. Two Maple Bacon Sausage Sandwich Breakfasts were duly ordered. They should keep us going 'til lunchtime at least.
With a heap load of napkins, we found a spare spot to park our behinds and tucked in. I soon felt eyes on the back of my head, or more precisely, the back of my sandwich however. Turning round, I found a face I recognised watching me. No, not Mr F (he was fully occupied with his breakfast) but instead a Labrador with a stare so intent it could melt concrete. Pavlov's theory was coming into it's own as two long strings of glistening, trembling drool dangled from it's jowls and swayed in the morning breeze. The owners were oblivious, of course, noshing into their own morning snack so I quietly munched away too happy in the fact that for once, it wouldn't be me cleaning up the dribble.
Our morning coffee had now worn off so we went on the hunt for some more in the Ferry Building. The shops were all food related here and included the rather wonderfully named 'Tasty Salty Pig Parts' and 'Praise the Lard.' I was swung by a raspberry cream soda at the Cowgirl Creamery, whilst Mr F had another shot of caffeine at Peet's Coffee. With our drinks in hand, we took in the view on the dock of the bay alongside some keen gulls.
We continued with a stroll up to Union Square to wander around even more shops with even more tourists. We had two main reasons for this most un-Whiffin-like pastime. 1) To track down where to pick up the rental car on the morrow and 2) To investigate the possibility of cheesecake for lunch. You can probably guess which reason I was behind - it was Mr F's birthday after all!
It appears that the streets of San Fran are paved not with gold but with granite; as the sunlight hits them, the sidewalks glitter like mirror balls. It's pretty but a bit distracting. Something else distracting (at least for Mr F anyway), was the giant yoga festival we found going on in Union Square. Hundreds of people were perched on mats, assuming the dog position and worshipping the sun. Mr F suddenly turned into a yoga guru and insisted on sitting and watching. Let me make something very clear at this outset: he knows nothing of yoga at all but is a self appointed expert on skinny women in tight clothing. Once I managed to get his attention back (a good 15 minutes I might add), I got my revenge by dragging him round Macy's - mess with me at your peril Mr F!
After getting my fill of shopping, and spending Mr F's money into the bargain, we accidentally found ourselves in the lift to the top floor. To my utter astonishment, that was exactly the same location as the Cheesecake Factory. What a coincidence!
It was a beautiful sunny day and the idea of sitting outside appealed greatly. Once we were offered the options of a 20 minute wait for an outside table or an inside one immediately though, we decided it was too hot outside anyway.
The original plan was to just have cheesecake of course, but it just didn't seem polite. Instead we opted for 'appetisers' with soft tacos for him and popcorn shrimp for me. Mr F seemed more distracted than usual though. He even asked for my camera at one point and started taking shots of the balcony. I began to think there was either a celebrity out there or the evil yoga women were back! It turned out to be something completely different but knowing Mr F as I do, not completely unsurprising.
There was a gull perched on the balcony railing. It was staring fixedly at someone's lunch from a what looked like mere few inches away. I was amazed that neither the bird had lunged or the lunch-owner shooed. I only then noticed the slight reflection on the 2" plate of glass between the bird and the object of it's attention, aka a plate of chips.
Our cheesecake finally arrived. Mr F was resplendent with his Chocolate Tuxedo and I was in awe of my Chocolate Coconut Cream. No more needs to be said.
We rolled slowly back to the hotel via Walgreens for some antacids. These were surprisingly not for us but to meet the medication requests of those back home - the shelves of UK chemists offer lean pickings compared to Walgreens it would seem. We resisted the incredibly strong urge to lie down and sleep off lunch, and instead took a stroll along the prom. When I say stroll, of course, it was more of an amble really. And when I say amble...well, you get my drift. With Mr F used to a near light speed pace, I think he was somewhat shocked to be over-taken by pedibikes, skateboards, joggers and worse of all, other pedestrians. It did mean that we didn't miss the 'Free Advice!' guy though. His sign stated "free advice on anything" and weirdly he looked pretty normal. I was sorely tempted to go ask him my grandfather's unanswerable question about railway arches, caravans, elephant feet and skylarks' kneecaps, but found myself being slowly yet determinedly towed away.
Fishermen's wharfe is apparently the most visited tourist attraction in California - even over the mouse park??? Having arrived there, I can honestly say I have absolutely no idea why. What a dive! Full of litter, noisy tourists and souvenir shops. Don't get me wrong, I'm the first to admit I like a nice souvenir shop but streets full of them selling identical items is even too much for me. We next found ourselves walking past a burger joint that looked oddly familiar. Oh yes, it was on last nights's news report as a very recent murder site. With this revelation, we turned our tails and headed back to the hotel. We'd had enough excitement for one day I reckoned.