So here it is, the pretty much exhaustive list of what we did in California.
Wednesday — airplanes
- I left Richmond at 2:30pm. Thanks to Brandi for taking me to the airport.
- I had an awful flight from Richmond to JFK because of delays (quelle surprise, JetBlue). But the flight from JFK to SF was way worse, because I got incredibly antsy, claustrophobic, cold, and just generally wanting the flight to be over. I was miserable. Usually I’m a very good traveller, so I have no idea what was wrong with me. There was nothing on TV but garbage, so that didn’t help.
- I arrived at SFO and looked for Dan, who wasn’t hard to find because he was holding up a large cardboard sign with my name on it.
- On the way back to Sacramento, we stopped at In-N-Out. “Those are good burgers, dude.” Good, but nothing compared to 5 Guys. And that is the honest truth.
- ‘Twas very late (like 4am Eastern time), so ’twas bedtime.
Thursday — our day of driving around
- Crepeville for breakfast, which was delicious. I think I had a crepe with spinach, eggs, and cheese.
- Walking around on the Golden Gate Bridge, taking in the view, dodging bicyclists, enjoying the fog.
- Muir Woods, one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Forget the redwoods…it’s freaking ENDOR! And it was just as bizarrely damp and dark as that place. I loved it.
- Stinson Beach, where I put my feet in the Pacific for the first time ever. I also had clam chowder and garlic fries at the Sand Dollar, and we played chess.
- Back in Sacramento, we had dinner at Paesano’s. I had some incredibly spicy shrimp pasta that was perfect. Now that I have a boyfriend and a glass of wine, eating Italian is fun again.
- Next we checked out a reputedly haunted house at 2131 H. St. It’s one of those abandoned houses that is so sublimely creepy that even standing on the sidewalk, peering through wrought-iron fencing at the silent beast, you’re creeped out. This one is a gem. It’s the classic neighborhood haunted house that’s just oozing doom and weirdness.
- Back to Dan’s house to watch Voldemort slaughter the adorably innocent Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Friday — chilling in Sacramento
- The plan was to see some historical / old stuff in Sacramento, but it was raining all day. So Dan made a delicious breakfast, and we went to the mall. I love roaming around in a strange mall; it’s something that I don’t get to do enough. I had a Jamba Juice for the first time and it was great, but I have to say I’m a milkshake girl rather than a smoothie girl.
- Back at the house, we watched Batman with the roommates.
- Dinner at Ernesto’s, with the loud, trumpet-playing mariachi band of doom. The chips and salsa were incredible.
- Back to Dan’s house to round up the troops, and then to the Flame Club for drinks. Then back to Dan’s for spilling glasses of wine and playing Wii. I adored all of Dan’s friends and am so glad I got a chance to meet all the people I met while I was there. I hope they’ll come out and visit once he moves here.
Saturday — heading to SF
- First, breakfast in Sacramento at Cafe Bernardo (huevos rancheros!)
- Then, driving to SF and going shopping on Haight St.
— Haight St. pros: lots of shoe stores, good places to eat, friendly salespeople
— Haight St. cons: there’s not much that we don’t have here in some incarnation, the smell of weed everywhere
- Back to the lovely hotel to get ready for dinner
- Dinner at the Stinking Rose, a garlic restaurant where I had garlic-roasted crab and garlic everything. Certainly, this is true happiness.
- Drinks at Zeitgeist with the lovely Dan Baber, and also a couple of Dan’s friends. It was a camp-like outdoor thing, with rows of wooden tables filled with hipsters and strong drinks.
- Jon Clary met up with us as we were leaving, and we walked to some other bar that I can’t recall the name of.
- Afterwards Dan and I walked Jon Clary home and then couldn’t find any taxis that weren’t full, so we ended up walking all the way back to Union Square. My feet were screaming in their brand-new heels.
Sunday — more SF
- Eggs benedict via room service = amazing. Why have I never tried room service before? It is a good thing.
- Cable cars from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf. Actually a quite terrifying experience. “We have to hang off the sides,” said Dan, in order to get the full experience. This means hurtling dangerously close to oncoming cars, bikes, other cable cars, sideview mirrors, etc., with nothing but your white-knuckled hands glued to the cable car poles to protect you. It doesn’t seem like it would be legal, and yet…it’s fun.
- Touristy stuff around Fisherman’s Wharf: seafood stands, souvenirs, caricature artists (Jon Clary again!), little doughnuts, Houdini’s Magic, sea lions (very weird), crab cake at Pier Market.
- Alcatraz: one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. This ranks up there with Salem, MA, the Charleston Jail, and other legendary Midnight Society hangouts. It reminds me a bit of Danvers State, just because of the eerie peeling paint everywhere. It’s also strangely silent: inside the prison, because everyone has headphones on and is listening to an audio tour, and outside the prison because of the howling wind sucking up any sound you make. All of the history surrounding the island was fascinating, including the stuff about when it was a military base, and when it was occupied by Indians. What an amazing place. It’s the perfect blend of going to a straight-up museum, but feeling like you’re sneaking into some haunted asylum. I loved it.
- Back on the mainland, we went to Ghirardelli Square for a minute to grab some chocolate
- Waited in a freezing cold, forever-long line for the cable car again
- Shopping around Union Square (H&M, FCUK, Urban, etc.)
- Took BART to Oakland. The seats on BART are one million times more comfortable than on the NYC subway, but I don’t think the trains come nearly as frequently.
- Dinner at Zachary’s Pizza: delicious, deep-dish, cheesy goodness. I ate way too much of it and was blissfully happy.
- Fell asleep on BART on the way back, so it was bedtime.
Monday — airplanes
- Breakfast at some 50s-themed diner, which was alright.
- More tolerable plane rides home to RVA, which I reached at 11:30pm. Thanks to Talia for picking me up.
The whole trip was jam-packed and not very relaxing, but one of the best weekends ever. Dan is an admirably organized and uncomplaining traveler…it was amazing to see and experience all of these new things with him. And also, helpful that he knew his way around. I only wish I could have spent more time there.
My overall impressions are that Sacramento is small, chill, and kind of Richmond-like (Dan’s neighborhood reminds me of the fan, except mostly newer). They have a lovely capitol building and lots of trees. San Francisco is manageable and easy to get around, like Richmond. But way larger, surrounded by a huge bay, and way more expensive. Having all of those food choices is probably radical. It was a fun place to go, and I’d like to go there again sometime.
BUT now I’m back in RVA, and I missed it. Now it’s time to get ready for Halloween. Plans for hayrides, costumes, parties, pumpkins, etc. have already commenced. Get ready!