Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Day 2 - San Francisco Labor Day Trip

My wake up call rang at about 7 a.m. Michael and I stayed up the night before with Mark Andrew until 2 a.m. just talking and goofing around in our (two bed) hotel room then Mark Andrew took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit - it's like their subway) back home to Concord. We met back up with him later in the day.

I got up first to shower and get ready for the day. That gave Michael a tad longer to sleep in. Once we were both ready, we left for breakfast at good old Burger King around the corner, cracked open a map of the city so that we could plan out our navigation from the hotel to the Fisherman's Warf, bought a breakfast meal and coffee for the homeless guy that opened the door for us on the way in, got in the car and began our trek to Alcatraz . . . .

The Bay area is a lot cooler in the mornings than it is in Southern California. It was a little bit chilly - not too bad - cold enough for a jacket but not warm enough for shorts. Do San Franciscans even wear shorts? Just the tourists i suppose.

So we took the ferry to Alcatraz riding at the very top floor so that we can see the view and feel the cool wind. We quickly discovered the weird alien-looking flies that pestered all of us on the top deck. I don't know - that feeling of small little bugs crawling all over me just grosses me out so having all these flies continually landing on hair and clothing and all over one's body was extremely frustrating. But that's a sacrifice you make in order to see the view of downtown San Francisco from the water and also to see us approaching the former federal prison.

Once there we took the audio tour. That was actually pretty kewl. They give you a head set and a device to play the tour recording. It had us wandering around from cell block to cell block, from the dining area to the library, from the visiting area to the recreation area and every place else that had a story to tell about this prison and what it was like to live there.

Can you fathom being confined in a small cramped space having nothing but a slab to sleep on, a sink and a toilet? It's crazy! I actually can fathom what jail is like - but prison is a whole different thing. The audio tour had one of the previous inmates share about the mental anxiety that goes through a person's mind when they are locked up for ten or more years. The lack of hope, the despair, the boredom, the kinds of things that go through your mind when you've got nothing else to do except to think about whatever goes through your mind - family, old friends, memories of times taken for granted - playing with kids, seeing the sunset, swimming, eating whatever the heck you wanted instead of eating the gunk being served to you.

We heard lots of interesting stuff about Alcatraz which I'll spare you from now - you'll just have to go and see it for yourself if you've never gone. But it's definitely kewl to see at least once in your lifetime!

So we took the ferry back to the pier and obeyed the grumblings of our stomachs. We discovered that if we ate at designated restaurants then we could get a three hour free validation for our parking. (By the way, parking is crazy expensive!) So we decided to go for lunch at a restaurant - seafood of course. The food was good and our food server was fine - but there was a super rude and disrespectful guy serving some other tables near by. We tried to get his attention as he walked by just to ask him for napkins and before we could make the request, he interrupted us by lifting up his hand against us (kinda like that typical 'talk to the hand' gesture) and walked right by us as if to say, 'um no, you are not my table'. Michael and I were kinda surprised - shocked even - at how rude he was. We both kinda laughed about it thinking, 'What in the world . . . . ?' but i'll admit that i was a bit perturbed about it. Whatever. I wrote a note about him and left it with our bill.

After lunch, we began our quest. Remember the days when the good old Golden Gate Bridge was actually the Bay Bridge? Oh goodness, that was so embarrassing!

That was a little over a month ago when I naively thought that the huge towering structure that extended from one large land mass to another over a body of water was the Golden Gate Bridge. I was wrong and Stephen from Globality.org (who also reads TWC) was kind enough to shatter my paradigm, oops i mean correct my error. LOL, i could have sworn that that was indeed the Golden Gate Bridge - it never dawned on me that I might be looking at the wrong bridge, much less that the GG Bridge is actually orange!

So now that I'm back, I was determined to search high and low for the real and actual Golden Gate Bridge. But where ever I went, it just seemed like the GG Bridge eluded me. Where was it? What was it really like? Is the bridge really orange? How can something so huge - something that significant of a landmark - the icon of San Francisco - escape my grasp? We continued to look for it far and near and it just seemed like the bridge was so close and yet so far. It was almost like it was right under my nose . . . but where? I searched and searched and searched for the real and actual Golden Gate Bridge.

And there it is! I found it! The Golden Gate Bridge!

Sigh. It's so magnificent (he says with awe). It's all I could ever hope or imagine!

LOL. I know, i'm a goofball.

So yep, there she is. The good 'ol GG Bridge. And yes, I know for sure that it's the one - I have confirmed it with three sources. This is indeed the Golden Gate Bridge.

And so Michael and I walked across to the other side of the Bridge. It took almost an hour I think - maybe it was less. We got to the other side and we each posed for our GQ cover photo shots. Then we decided to run all the way across the bridge to the other side (where we were parked) because we were running late to meet up with Mark Andrew again at our hotel. It was actually a pretty good work out - the run, that is - although I got a blister right smack on the bottom of my left foot. Ouch! But no worries and no complaints because I'm a trooper. On the way back to the hotel, we kept taking wrong turns or taking lanes that forced us onto the freeway that led to Treasure Island or going down streets that disallowed left turns for miles.

By the time we met up with Mark Andrew, we were an hour late. Sorry Mark! Anyway, we took some time to plan out Day 3 with our GCN friends so that the next day would be all set. (We'll go hiking at Angel Island during the day and then meet up for dinner at the hot Italian place with the cute gay food servers.) After firming up the next day's plans, we went to Castro to have dinner at this really kewl coffee shop/restaurant/bar called Cafe Flore. I mentioned it before in a previous post when I came a month ago. I decided to get a drink to accompany my roasted chicken dinner so I asked the bartender to give me something tropical and something blue. He says, "um, how about a Blue Hawaiian?" LOL, I laughed and said, "that sounds tropical and blue. I'll take it!" (I'm such a newbie when it comes to drinks.) Anyway, after dinner Mark Andrew couldn't keep his hands off of cutie Michael. Can you blame him? Hehe, just kidding - he was just engaging in a bit of public tickling.

Following dinner, we decided to go to a highly recommended dessert place called Sweet Inspiration. They had an assortment of pies and cremes and ice cream and sherbert and coffee drinks and all kinds of other gourmet sweets. Definitely good stuff! While we were there, we happened to run into a couple of other GCN friends that we weren't actually expecting to connect with over this weekend. What a nice surprise! This was actually my first time meeting the two of them (Chris and Isaias) - Michael and Mark Andrew had met them previously at the 2005 EC Conference. They were a kewl couple. We also met up with Edison (a GCN friend from Los Angeles) who flew up to join us for the weekend. He'll be staying at Mark Andrew's place in Concord.

So by the time we all chatted about this and that and whatever else was on our minds at the time, Michael, Mark Andrew, Edison and I decided to head back to the hotel. Of course, that led to more late night chatting and hanging out. Eventually, Mark Andrew and Edison took the BART back to Concord and Michael and I finally got to bed. It was a long and full day but definitely fun times!

Stay tuned for Day 3 at Angel Island, the Italian place with cute gay waiters who actually dance with customers, and hanging out at the Castro . . . .

Go to Day 3 - San Francisco Labor Day Trip > >


Anonymous said...

Very nice play-by-play Eric! It was a tiring day, but indeed lots of fun.

Closed said...

Michael and Eric,

It was great meeting you both in person. I hope your trip had many blessings.

Eric said...

Thanks Christopher! Michael and I had a wonderful time having breakfast with you and sharing awesome conversation. You are a blessing!