Monday, November 09, 2009
This is a confusing place.
Here, there's a blend, a mixture, a complete mélange, of different things. The Ferrari Store is just around the corner from a gentleman who would like your spare change. "Chagall, Matisse, Picasso" proclaims a sign - but is there anyone nearby who can buy?
My own hotel, the Hilton Union Square, is fairly opulent, although like the other San Francisco hotel I've stayed in, has tiny, noisy rooms. And it's just down the street, in either direction, from serious dives - hotels that look more populated by drug addicts, crack whores and other similar characters, than reasonably well-heeled scientific tourists such as myself.
Even the restaurants are a confusing mess - sushi, presumably affordable; burger joints, with tasty offerings at a reasonable price; over-the-top bistros and diners that no self-respecting, publicly-funded science geek would ever be able to afford.
It's an interesting city, this San Francisco, I'll give you that - hills a-plenty, the harbour, historic sights. But somehow, oddly, it doesn't really seem like a Pacific Coast settlement. The shore is commercial, to be sure, and full of people fishing, gulls preening, sea lions fishing, pelicans dive-bombing - but somehow, it's not marine.
It's an odd place, San Francisco, but all that said, one, I think, I could get used to. If I had the inclination, the mobility, and of course, the disposable income. For now, though, I think I'll hold steady just north of Toronto, and retain this town as an unusual, puzzling, tourist attraction.