Wednesday, 17 September 2008
SF - City of Random Singing and Grumpy Sea Lions
SF is a busy, hectic city. The crush of people here can be overwhelming. But one nice thing is that a lot of them sing while they plummet down steep sidewalks and dash in front of trolley cars. Some have i-Pods jammed into their ears, but others just sing random tunes without any ear-budded accompaniment.
Take the business-suited Hawaiian guy walking behind me on Market street yesterday. He scatted an impressive ladder of notes, jogged to catch up to me and said, "Hey beautiful, like my singing?" I had to admit that I did. Once he'd quickly determined my marital status and given me his website ("I write all my own music, s'true!"), he cheerfully skedaddled. But my favourite singer was the little Asian guy in the wheelchair going up an impossibly steep hill outside of Chinatown at 10pm last night. His voice was as high pitched as one of those Chinese erhu thingies, which is funny, because they say the erhu can sound like a human voice. Anyway, his lament pierced both my eardrums and my heart.
Speaking of Chinatown, I had a chance to explore it for a few hours on foot yesterday. What a boisterous, shiny, colourful, crowded, gaudy bit of over stimulation it is. I found the perfect Kuan Yin statue, something I've been searching for, and the shop keeper directed me to the Washington Restaurant to try their "very delicious" won tons. You know you're probably in a decent Chinese place when you're the only white person there. (Although the "noodles with hot dog and tomato sauce" wasn't my idea of authentic Chinese food) The crispy won tons were so delicious that I forgave the grim-faced waitress for giving me a fork instead of chopsticks.
On the less than melodic side, we stumbled on the famous sea lions of Pier 39 on our waterfront crawl. Talk about a cantankerous group of creatures: barking and biting and whacking each other with flippers. And the stink! It was almost like being back in Bruce County at manure-spreading time...or watching the tourists vie for room at Station Beach on the long weekend.
Finally, let me say that the sushi here is absolutely the best I've ever had. Heaven = San Francisco rolls, a rich combo of toro (fatty tuna belly) and California avocado. Washing them down with chilled Cherry Blossom sake, I found my happy place. God bless whoever invented sushi.
They say SF is the city of "foodies," and tonight I intend to drag a reluctant D to a fine eatery to test this theory further. So far, I haven't been disappointed.
Up next: eatin', drinkin', dancin'...and Alcatraz.