We caught our second wind today, and perversely got loads done by taking things a little easier. We breakfasted heartily (at the Persimmon Cafe, two doors up from the hotel. Proper sausages and hash browns, finally, none of this patty nonsense), before taking a stroll through Chinatown. This was nice in a Chinatowny kind of way. Sorry to sound blase, but I’ve worked in Soho for nearly fifteen years. Funny pointy hats on phone booths are not a big deal to me.
That slow stroll up Grant Avenue brought us out into North Beach, the area of the city best known for nurturing the Beat Poets. It’s as shabbily boho as you’d expect. Strip clubs face off against coffee shops, with the odd chichi addition and blow me if we’re not back in Soho again. The Beat Museum on Columbus sports a sign outside which states “the wearing of berets and over-use of the word ‘daddi-o’ is discouraged”, which made me smile. And someone had attempted cutout poetry outside the City Lights bookstore, using masking tape and permanent marker. The end result wasn’t worth the five minutes of work that must have gone into it.
We stopped for coffee at Cafe Triesste, the oldest coffee shop in SF. They still do a good cup of joe, and there’s a nice line in opera standards on the Wurlitzer in the corner. The opera’s live there on a Saturday, apparently. Bet they don’t do anything by Philip Glass.
Onwards. We head west, and grab a bus to Union Street. Lots of fun little girly shops and restaurants full of ladies wot lunch, so we’re in Kensington now. But now the sun’s out (spits of rain while we strolled Chinatown) so it’s fine, and we promenade. Clare frowns at the lingerie shops, and decides she needs more Victoria’s Secret stuff. So, back on the bus, then a bare-knuckle straphang hanging out of a cable car back to Union Square. This is the way to commute. The wind in your hair, the smell of hot metal as the gripman hauls on the brakes, the whoosh of traffic inches from your kneecaps. Knocks the tube into a cocked hat, that’s for damn sure.
We split to do more shopping, which is a foolish error on Clare’s part, as she leaves me in the Graphic Novel department of Borders. I’ll draw a discreet curtain over the feeding frenzy that followed. I leave an hour later, heavy of bag, light of wallet with a wild glint in my eye and a slightly sickly grin on my face. Folks, lemme tell ya. When things are half price, don’t necessarily follow that you have license to spend twice as much.
Got back to the hotel in time for a quick S3, before we trundled out to meet up with Madame X and some more of Clare’s buddies for a night at the movies. The film of choice was Rendition, which has some guy called Jake Gooberballs in it. I can’t think of any other reason why Clare would want to see a film on covert torture.
There is a good film to be made about the dreadful practice of extraordinary rendition, but this isn’t it. On the plus side, it looks suitably gritty in that Syriana/Traffik grainy, heavily coloured mood. There’s a clever time-pull towards the end that reconfigures the plot in quite a neat way. But apart from that, it’s standard Hollywood issue-by-numbers, without ciphers in place of characters, (Meryl Streep as Cruella de Ville again, Reese Witherspoon as the most annoyingly vunerable soccer mom on the planet (tiny, blonde, wide-eyed and fifteen months pregnant furfuxache), and the aforementioned Goofsitall as the CIA analyst who gets a backbone in act 3 for no discernable reason whatsoever) and a dumb revenge motive instead of a credible plotline. We had much more fun bitching about the film afterwards than while we were in the cinema.
Ooh, and I got a handy tip that will inform tomorrow’s activities. There’s a Cartoon Art Museum in SF.