Saturday, May 22, 2010

High Five to San Francisco – Part 1

There is something about the way the evening light reflects off the windows of the houses that spill down the hills of San Francisco that brings a kind of peace to my heart. It really is breathtaking. From my vantage point on the rooftop deck of our vacation rental from heaven up in the Cole Valley neighbourhood, I can see the Golden Gate bridge in the distance. All around me are leafy backyards, more rooftop decks, and the fascinating rooflines of the beautiful San Francisco homes. I think I could stay up here all night.


I’m here with three best girlfriends, Melanie, Sandy and Pam, for what we like to call our Split Party. Mel and I have been friends for a long time – 38 years to be exact and our birthdays are only 10 days apart. So when we were little, our mums would have one party for the two of us and call it our ‘split-party’. As we are both turning 40 this year, a more grown-up version of the ‘Split-Party’ was called for. So here we are, and what a beautiful place it is.

We flew down from Victoria on the ‘early’ flight which is ridiculously easy to do. We knew we were going to have an excellent trip when none of us could understand the boarding announcement:

Announcer: mwah mwah mwah flight blah blah 6585 to San Francisco blah mwah mwha etc etc

Us: Did anyone understand that?

Me: No – I think she said something about our flight

Sandy/Mel:No, I think she said ‘High Five to San Francisco!”

All of us: YES! That is AWESOME!

A 140mph tailwind was also in our favour and had us there in one hour twenty minutes instead of the usual two hours and twenty minutes. I highly recommend this flight. In fact, United should start paying me for recommending this flight to so many people. It is a bare-bones flight, mind you: we had a rather vapid flight attendant who seemed surprised to find herself on the plane and even more puzzled by the list of safety procedures that she was required to instruct us on. I wasn’t exactly filled with a sense of confidence when I looked up to see her awkwardly balancing a large unwieldy book in one hand and the phone handset/microphone thingy in the other while she attempted to read the script to us. I could only assume that this was perhaps her first time reading this script and, well, that didn’t really help me either.

No matter as I was able to turn my attention to the charming and entertaining magazine ‘Sky Mall’ which graces the seat pockets of these fine aircrafts. More on this later but suffice to say the presence of a cast replica of the upper half of a zombie, ‘life’-sized’ hauling itself out of the ground, and the accompanying description suggesting the zombie would be an ‘excellent addition to my family room’, instantly convinced me of the merits of this catalogue. It deserves its own blog and will get one.

Everything went very smoothly upon landing and we breezed through everything as if we do that sort of thing everyday, including renting a car. Now, I would usually spend several hours, which I would never get back I might add, staring at a computer screen trying to get the best deal ever on a rental car. I had the intention of doing this, but never actually got around to doing it. Just as well as it turns out that walking up to the first rental car booth you see, asking for something big enough for 4 girls and all their luggage, gets you a very nice car for only $30/day. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

The drive in to town was also easy and we learned that it is also easy for Sandy to get extremely car sick. This was especially unpleasant for her as she was also battling a huge cold.

Anyhoo – we located our place and learned that there was no checking in until 3pm (it was, like, 9am or something ridiculous like that). No matter as Cole Valley must be one of the most delightful neighbourhoods on the face of the earth. We found a cafe, parked ourselves, and stayed for awhile. The cafe in question, La Boulange, is AMAZING, and the home of the BEST granola, yogourt and fruit bowl EVER. See Exhibit A:


I will admit I had this for breakfast everyday for 4 days. It’s about the yogurt. I think they put crack in it or something. This cafe further endeared itself to me on the 2nd morning when the guy behind the counter asked who was next, and it was me so I put up my hand and he put up his and said ‘Alright! High Five!’. We all looked at each other and yelled “High Five to San Francisco!”

After we had sufficiently rested and recovered, we made it several metres down the sidewalk, shopped at a few cute little stores, wandered a few blocks the other direction and found ourselves on Haight street where we were forced to shop in the vintage clothing stores. Torture.

After a while we struggled back up Cole to our ‘hood where fortunately another cafe was conveniently right were we needed it to be. We passed another couple of uneventful hours eating and drinking (travelling really takes it out of you) until finally we could check into our apartment. If you haven’t heard, San Francisco is very HILLY. Actually that is an understatement. San Francisco is one ridiculously steep hill after another which makes walking tiring, driving interesting, and parking a f&%$ing nightmare. Anyway. I had to talk myself through it a few times. It’s not easy parallel parking on a 90degree angle facing downhill when the space you have to park in looks like it’s about 5 inches long, with a Porsche in front and BMW behind. Of course I got so good at it that I’m sure I was mistaken for a local many times. Right.

The apartment was a dream. Words don’t really work here so I’ll just post a few pictures and you can see for yourself.


The 2nd living room



This painting was life-size and hung in the living room. DSC05835


The very cool shower floor. Someone had some time apparently.DSC05848 


And did I mention the view from the roof top deck?



My shadow on the Japanese Maple.

The day was rounded out by a delish dinner at Zazie down on Cole. I don’t remember going to sleep :)

Stay tuned for Day 2…

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