My last post on exploring bits of magnificent San Francisco featured only one day. This post will cover parts of two, and still barely scratch the city’s surface. It’s a big place with lots to offer, and traveling companion Tirzah and I had limited time and cash to throw to the wind. Even so, we made our visit worth remembering.
‘Twas the day before the Night of Writing Dangerously – (y’know, that oft-mentioned NaNoWriMo event that brought me to San Fran in the first place, to be more properly chronicled in a post to come) – and Tirzah and I had time to kill, along with our friends from the hostel, Kat and Jory. (Jory would be joining us at the NoWD, too. United writers, for the win!) We decided to bus over to the Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park, but we hadn’t even come within sight of the garden before the fun surprises began.
First there was the huge group of swing dancers. I know, it sounds like I’m kidding you or exaggerating, but seriously, there were dozens of them just outside the park, all jiving together on the walkway.
As my friends and I stood by watching for a few minutes, I couldn’t resist following along with the moves somebody with a microphone was calling out to the participating crowd. It felt almost familiar to me, after a brief swing lesson at Bristol, one weekend. (Our number of multi-talented, fun-loving Rennies included a stage manager who liked to moonlight as a dance instructor. I’m only sorry my feet tended to be too sore after pounding the streets as a Crier all day for me to join the after-hours swing sessions more than just the once.)
My more-or-less competent moves attracted the attention of an older fellow who offered the hand of partnership. So what the hey? I accepted. Because, far more than a few basic dance steps, Bristol’s taught me the number one motto of improvisation: “Yes, And!” Take what you’re given, and roll with it. …Or, in this specific case, swing with it.
After we left the dance floor, my pals and I came to a pathway spouting mist into the air. Dressed as we were for a noir-themed writing event, Tirzah and I knew there was only one thing to be done: Get photographed standing looking suspiciously cool. (Because fog is like alleyways, like that.) And here’s the amazing part: Mere moments after we decided that we’d taken enough pics and started to walk away, the path’s mist-makers just stopped. Boom. No more fog. Not even when some other people walked down the path, meaning that it wasn’t just a motion-sensitive thing. Nay, my friends – it was San Francisco magic, just for us.
Now inside the park proper, we paused for some pics with a stately sphinx before continuing on into the Japanese Tea Garden.
There was much prettiness to be seen, there – serene waterscapes, a singular bridge, a pagoda, and a zen garden, just to put names to a few.
We called it a day early, wanting to be reasonably rested for the night ahead. And so that might have been the end of our sightseeing, had not Tirzah’s father phoned the next day (our last in the city) to insist that we visit one more landmark before we left town: The Coit Tower. He’d been there before, and declared that the view was not to be missed. So before making our way toward public transit and home, T and I detoured to the top of Telegraph Hill. …A very high hill. Steep, too. Lots of steps. And we were carrying all our baggage. Spoiler alert: We some how managed to survive. And we got more pictures!
That was our tour of San Francisco. In the grand scheme of things, we hardly saw anything at all. But we also saw a lot. And did a lot. And loved a lot. And left a lot for us to see and do and love the next time!