My San Francisco diary


9:30 am: Arrive. Nice bridge.

10:00: Go to Ferry Building outdoor market. Foodie mecca. Mainly Midwest tourists. Could be fatty mecca. But am not judgemental. Each to his own...side of beef?

10:10: Many overheard non-native conversations in farmer's market. Examples:

"It's tah-kay-shee-tah mushrooms, Roy! I told you, that's how they pronounce takeshita mushrooms here!"

"But it's spelled..."

"I know Roy! Ha ha ha! You're not even funny anymore. You're....embarrassing..."

"OK. OK! How about those melons over there?!"

"See how he is, Janey?"

10:20: Near fava bean stand: "Do you think there are many Jews who farm?"

10:30: Outside wild greens stand: "Do you sell those with the pesticide? Haw haw haw!"

10:40: Consume $5 piece of chocolate. Consequence: $5 poorer!

11:30: Cross Embarcadero to mainstream SF native zone. Largest population in nation of males who can actually look good in horizontal stripes.

11:40: V nice man asks me if I would like to "go around the world" with him. I tell him can't b/c vacation not in budget this year.

11:45: Notice huge sign on Macy's looks exactly like friend Sandra. OK, not as cute. But please, Sandra, don't step on homeless man!

12:00: Fashion time! Buy suit at Macy's.

Tailor (while measuring crotch): "And how does the gentleman dress?"

Me: "Well, I guess I put my right leg in first, then my left..."

Tailor: "No no. Heh heh. I meant which way is the gentleman most comfortable in the crotch?"


12:30: Depart Macy's, stop in restroom. Existential question: Why does the gentleman's pee sometimes smell like Cheerios?

12:45: Lunch with magazine editors. V. nice. V. smart. V. young. V. handsome. Hate those magazine editors!

1:30: Overhear someone saying "really?" for 700th time. Seek ice-pick.

2:00: Cross over to Chinatown. Sign: "Giant sushi discount!" Worrisome.

2:30: Sign: "Sincere pork bagels fresh bun China bakery." No hasidim in sight. But yummy yummy yummy!

2:45: For sale: 3-D placemats of Krishna, Jesus, Boddisattva, etc. But. No. Brigham. Young.

3:00: Buy Chinese "snapper" fireworks. On box: "Tro them. Bang them. Fun them!" But when I "tro" is not seen as "fun." Leave Chinatown.

3:15: Decide to play macho "on the ground " journalist and explore "gritty noir" Chinatown back alley. Frightened. Out. Of. Fucking. Mind.

3:30: Enter North Beach. Little Italy but why stripper bars here? Will investigate tonight.

4:00: Snack on 9 17 23 biscotti--but they are small biscotti!

4:30: Enter bookstore of St Francis Assisi chapel. Many thoughtful, spiritual gifts. Purchase ceramic cannoli pastry tree ornament.

5:00: Tired. Stop in v. intellectual bookstore. Sit down with Ferlinghetti book. Woozy. Actually...snore!

6:30: Decide to hike up to Coit Tower. Minor hemorrhage by time reach top. But v beautiful view. Love San Francisco! Now see why every single person since arrived has told so.


Will return.

With Platinum Card.

Greg Critser is the author of "California," (National Geographic 2000), "Fat Land" (Houghton Mifflin, 2003), and "Generation Rx" (Houghton 2005). His latest book, "Eternity Soup" (Harmony/Random), about anti-aging science and medicine, was published last year. He lives in Pasadena and is working on a modern history of the sugar industry.

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