Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Route 66-ish Day 29

So, our first day in San Francisco. We thought a good way to get an overview would be to take one of the open-topped bus rides of which there are many on offer. We picked the one from City Sightseeing Tours, which turned out to be a good choice. We got tickets which would allow us to take three tours of different parts of SF during our stay, and on the first day we did a downtown tour and one that went over the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito. The best thing about City Sightseeing was the quality of the commentators on the buses. On the downtown tour we had Soda-Pop Jones, whose constant stream of trivia, witticisms and genuinely fascinating information made him a firm favourite with all of us. Because of where we wanted to go afterwards we actually stayed on his tour one-and-a-half times, and were amused to note that he found different things to say the second time round: he was genuinely ad-libbing, not working to a script. On the Golden Gate trip the commentator was also the driver (this was a smaller bus) and if anything he was even funnier than Soda-Pop. His name was John T (aka The Fat Man).

We had lunch at a genuine English fish and chip stand, The Codmother at Fisherman's Wharf. It was actually genuine (you had only to hear the owner's voice to know that) and did serve great fish and distinctly un-American British CHIPS (not French fries, CHIPS). Afer lunch we visited the Aquarium Of The Bay, which was good fun, did some shopping then rode the Powell-Mason cable-car line back to our hotel (or pretty close). Having eaten plenty of fish and chips we reckoned we didn't want another full meal, so we checked out Schulzie's, a local bread pudding parlor, with multiple flavours of bread pudding. I'm not sure if I'd have identified what I ate as bread pudding with my eyes closed, but however one describes it, it was a treat.

We saw a lot of fun things: the City Lights bookstore, where Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlighetti and Greg Corso made San Francisco a countercultural Mecca long before the hippie scene arrived.

A statue which was paid for by a sugar magnate, Adolph Spreckels, and modelled by his mistress Alma. Their age difference gave rise to much comment (she said she'd rather be an old man's darling then a young man's plaything, though I don't suppose the money hurt either) and gave rise to the expression "Sugar Daddy".

The bank owned by Wiliam Randolph Hearst and robbed by his grand-daughter Patty (of the Symbionese Liberation Army).

The Golden Gate bridge, and a military cemetery containing the graves of some of the original "buffalo soldiers".

The aquarium and the sealions at Pier 39.

Streetcars, and the "crookedest street in San Francisco" (Lombard Street - actually Vermont Street is steeper but has fewer turns).

Let me leave you with quite the worst food-related pun I encountered all holiday:

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