Wednesday September 29th, 2010 16:46 San Francisco

I stepped out onto the arrivals/pickup loop of SFO and in a matter of minutes, my chariot had arrived. The car was practically full of my pals from Icrontic! Ryder behind the wheel, Bobby sitting shotgun, Dan and Charlotte in the back seat. After tossing my bag in the trunk and jumping in the back, we were off.

Our first destination was BevMo!, which is essentially a candy store for adults. With an ungodly selection of all forms of booze at stupidly cheap prices, I’m kind of amazed that BevMo hasn’t spread like wildfire across America. We made our way back to Bobby’s apartment in Sunnyvale when I realized my plans of making it to my friend Steph‘s birthday beach bonfire bash later in the night wasn’t going to happen unless I made a move and made it quick. I threw a daypack together as quickly as possible and got dropped off at the Sunnyvale Caltrain stop in just enough time to make the 8:14 train. An hour later, I arrived at 4th and King street.

My original plan was to take a cab to the beach, which was conveniently on the other side of SF. Rob, my old friend from high school decided to pick me up instead and we headed straight for the beach. We got to the beach after a 30 minute semi-scenic ride. That made me realize that Rob probably saved me from a $45 cab ride. The police were in the parking lot sending people who had parked alongside the beach home. The beachfront still had a few bonfire pits which were still lit up so we headed down. When we got closer to the nearest bonfire, Rob realized that our party had upped and left. I had missed out on the birthday beach bonfire bash… damn.

On another note, the night was still young and the party wasn’t gone. They had just moved to a bar. On the way way there, we made stop at Magnolia for a quick pint and for Rob to say hi to some friends. Magnolia was in the Haight-Ashbury area which was always talked up to be like the super awesome bohemian punk-rock neighborhood. Although brief, my observation is that there was nothing that special about it. Maybe all the mohawk magic faded away?

After spending way too much time trying to find a parking spot, I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed to meet the remnants of the birthday party at The Page. With cheap Anchor Steam on tap and plenty of friends and strangers to annoy, I had a great time. After last call, we headed over to some dude’s apartment for a hot minute and then ended up at Rob’s apartment for the night.

The next morning we met up with Steph and her friends for brunch at Toast Eatery. After gorging on chicken fried steak a second morning in a row, Rob took me to Bernal Heights Park. Driving up absurd inclines we parked and walked up the steep red earth to the top. You could see the whole city from up there. With a huge grin on my face I snapped some photos:

The Sunday tradition in San Francisco is to get yourself a blanket, some beer and maybe some sunscreen (if you are a pasty white boy like myself) then head over to Dolores Park. The park is really a treat if you enjoy yourself some good people-watching. According to Rob, the park is further broken down into subsections like “gay plateau” and “hipster hill”. I’m sure none of you will find it shocking that we ended up on hipster hill. We joined Steph and friends along with some others who probably only remember me as ‘the guy who spilled beer all over us’. Whoops! Anyways, my plans differ per city, but I usually have a couple things on my agenda that I like to do. In San Francisco, it was to go to the Cartoon Art Museum and to go to the Golden Gate Bridge. From my position at the park, it would take me a significant amount of time and money to get to both. I was just having too much fun hanging out in the park and I realized that I’m on vacation, I don’t have any obligations except to have a good time. So we sat there for hours, napping, sunning, chatting, and daytime drinking. It was wonderful.

As the afternoon turned to evening, Bobby, Dan and Charlotte finally made their way up to the city. They joined us at the park for a while and I had the pleasure to be the person to give Bobby his first PBR. He was actually surprised when he realized it wasn’t awful but still far from amazing. Bobby suggested that we head uptown to The Buena Vista Cafe. We split off from the group and drove up to the marina district. The Buena Vista accredits themselves for bringing Irish Coffee to America. The four of us grabbed a table and ordered a round of Irish Coffees. My stomach was rumbling so I also ordered a children’s chicken tenders with fries meal. The coffees came and they were delicious! The ratio of coffee to whiskey was absolutely perfect! It was smooth yet strong. As we drank, Bobby regaled us with an epic tale of him chasing a girl. (Bobby, if you are reading this, I hate to say it but you’re probably permanently friend-zoned by now. At least you live in the bay area! I saw no shortage of cute girls there. Also, since you are freakishly tall, girls probably think… you know… roll with that!)

Afterwards, we headed down to the waterfront by Fort Mason. I looked across the water and there it was, the Golden Gate Bridge. I tinkered with my camera’s exposure settings for a while as I attempted to take a few photos. Sadly, none of them came out to be worth a damn. It was getting late and both Dan and Charlotte still had to get back to LA in time to be productive the next day, so we were off to Rob’s apartment. It was amusing to watch as Dan had one hell of a time throwing his car up some of San Francisco’s most treacherous hills. I made it back to Rob’s to catch the tail end of his dinner party and then I was off to bed.

The next morning, I packed my bags up, said my goodbyes and headed to the airport. Taking the BART to SFO was painless yet absurdly expensive ($8 for a one way public transit ride? really?). The flight back to LGB was quick and easy but when I got off the plane, I was in for a real treat. Los Angeles was experiencing a record high of 113 degrees! Getting off the plane and walking down the jetway under the direct sun in that heat was an experience. On top of that, as hard as they ran the A/C, the terminal was still at least 85 degrees inside (due to the airport’s silly indoor/outdoor nature). I boarded my second plane, kicked back in my ‘even more legroom’ seat and watched a ton of SportCenter then the first bit of Monday Night Football until we arrived in Portland.

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