Monday, February 07, 2011

San Francisco

A week ago, my wife and I had our yearly jaunt to the City by the Bay. Best Winter weather I've ever seen in San Fransisco. Sunny and up into the 70s, every day. My wife went to Mac World. I got a cheap bus pass and enjoyed being out and about.

You can certainly see the city evolving into recession times over the last few years. There are fewer people in the city. Fewer street people, fewer workers, more foreign, ethnic enclaves. The buses used to be difficult during morning and evening rush hours. No more. Always seats available, no matter the hour. Plenty of elbow room on Market and Van Ness. No waiting for tables at restaurants, even the gyp joints at Fisherman's Wharf and North Beach, not that I'd ever eat there. Made for a nice, relaxing tourist experience. Here's a tip. Food's a little pricey there. The best cheap lunch in town is the In n Out Burger franchise at Fisherman's Wharf. Same prices as any other In n Out. No drive thru, counter service only with lots of eat in tables looking out over the Wharf. I'm sure it's maintained by the company as a promotional location because there are so many national and international visitors to San Francisco and they all eat at Fisherman's Wharf. Believe me, In n Out will be the best and most authentic food you get there these days. No fishermen work out of the Wharf anymore. All the seafood comes in frozen from Alaska, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Hotel rooms weren't as cheap this year. I think it's simply because management has given up on trying to lure non existent travelers in with cheap rates. The Hotel Carlton, is a very nice, rehabbed, 1920s era speakeasy, whorehouse and men's club, has 160 rooms and never more than a few dozen rented while we were there. I only saw two maids and they were moving at a very leisurely pace, never a problem getting an early check in or late check out. The desk clerk seemed eager to do both and begged us to return again next year, even though we were shameless, bottom feeding trollers from Priceline, paying little more than a third of their rack rate. I highly recommend the place, by the way, Room was clean. Nice linens and bathroom. Plenty of hot water pressure to the shower. No air conditioning but hardly necessary any time of the year in Frisco with big windows in the room and a ceiling fan. The walls are a little thin but with the place so uncrowded, it wasn't a problem. I paid $52 a night for a large room with two queen beds. Rack rates start at $139 for a single Queen, double occupancy. I was worried it might be a little out of the way, on the corner of Larkin and Sutter but turns out the entire center city is walking distance and frequent buses to everywhere within a block. Great neighborhood. Yemani ethnic enclave during the day and evening and a stroll for tranny hookers, late night. Very few street people. Good reasonable restaurants. Nice area.

I came down with a little virus the night we got home. Achey bones, chills and a little upper respiratory smut. At my age and general condition, you got to start worrying that it's really congestive heart failure from the exertion of hiking up and down steep hills. Didn't seem to be the case though, so I guess I'm still good to go for a while yet.

If you get the opportunity, visit San Francisco. It's a great place to visit. No place else quite like it in America.  Weather is nice. Lots to see and do. Cheap public transportation. Buy a visitor's bus pass, $20 for 3 days, $27 for a whole week and the bus drivers never check whether or not it's expired. You could probably buy one in January and use it the whole year, not that I would ever do that. Senior passes are only $20 a month. If you can convince them you're retarded or disabled they're almost free.

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