Wednesday, December 20, 2006

San Francisco, Day 1

Got up early in the morning after a late night flight to SFO. I decided to charge up the side of Telegraph Hill first thing off the bat, bundled up in a wool sweater, jeans and scarf. Appropriate for Chicago weather, nearly fatal in 58 degree, high humidity San Francisco conditions after going up 45 degree streets. By the time I reached the top, I was completely drenched.

On the way back down, I stopped in Cafe Zoetrope, and told the bartender, "I just climbed Telegraph Hill."

"Yeah," she said, "that's what it looks like."

Later in the day, I stopped in at Mea Cinis ("my ashes"), a newly-opened store that specializes in new hand made jewelry and Southeast Asian Antiquities. The store featured Chad's Venetian plastering job and the hand-strung pigskin hangings that looked like dreadlocks, as well as a kick-ass selection of art objects.

Dan, the owner, showed me around the place. When I mentioned that Chad's blog led me to visit, Dan shouted, and Chad appeared from the back, wearing a Geek Squad t-shirt. He seemed very surprised that anyone reads his blog...false modesty, judging from his site stats.

We started chatting about blogging and plastering and whatnot, and Dan showed me his twin brother's collection of 12th century bronze Khmer mirrors. A guy came in, wearing a massive pair of green galoshes, and started ooh-ing and aah-ing over everything, until he came to the mirrors, and gasped.

"Those are 14th century Khmer bronze mirrors," he said.

"No," replied Dan with a touch of pride, "they're 12th century Khmer bronze mirrors."

Just a standard day in North Beach. Always nice when you can find the one place where two people would come to argue over the dating of nine hundred year old art.

A bald woman came in next. I couldn't tell if she was bbald because of some ailment, or for religious reasons, or just as a fashion statement, but clearly, being bald worked for her. Dan went off to show her the bracelets made from something that looked like the mating between human bone and high-grade fractal rendering software.

Chad said, "look, since you don't know anyone in San you do. A friend of mine is throwing a party tonight, and I'd love it if you would come."

Despite jetlag and tired legs from the morning climb, how could I say no?

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