Tuesday, November 24, 2009

if you're going to san-fran-cisco...be sure to go to santa cruz too

A photo (and some text) narrative of our trip to San Francisco last week:
(Incidentally, we both grew up all over the Bay Area and the coast, so despite the touristy nature of the pictures, we owned these streets and are decidedly not tourists, lol. So there's that.)

Even though we ran out of gas and sat in Homicide Cornville (between Orland and Corning) for an hour, at which point Lewie (exact spelling) arrived in his diesel steed to rescue us and tell us that we were, with absolute certainty, going to die on the Bay Bridge, as people had been doing all week. Debe got a bit spooked when the car died in pitch black nowhere, whereas I was out stretching my legs and laughing, but once we were rolling, she eased up and I began chewing off my tongue in fear of that stupid bridge. I've hated it my whole life. Thankfully I fell asleep like 20 minutes before we got there and awoke to the ghetto-est motel in San Francisco. After handing over our keys, signing waivers in case of death, and surviving up the scariest elevator in the world, we got to our room at 4-something am. It seemed logical to just stay awake at that point.

Beautiful San Francisco sunrise:

Always a good sign:

Behold the oldest, most rickety, sweaty, all-glass, banging-against-the-walls-and-ultimately-breaking-with-me-in-it Stephen King elevator bringing us four floors down:

This is all the shit necessary to eat and shop, lol. (Note: It was on the ride back up to retrieve this mess that the elevator broke--awesome.)

"Sooo, I'm thinking the Cheesecake Factory?"

Now this is a city landscape. Even 20 years later, you can't take California out of the girl:

Avocado spring roll appetizers at the Cheesecake Factory, in which Debe forced me to sit not only on the 700th floor, but right on the edge of the balcony, to repay me for her being afraid when we ran out of gas. I am seldom compelled to photograph food, but these practically reached out and took pictures of themselves:

Seriously, this sandwich was six inches tall, no hyperbole. The process of me trying to eat it is not something I'd ever publish but all I could think was, "I have a shot at this, but how in the hell is anyone else supposed to eat this?" There were tears and laughter...and middle fingers:

Our amazing waiter Mitch, who accommodated my special shrimp order, whose sarcasm was splendid, who amused us while we ate, and most importantly, reminded me of Naveen Andrews:

Writing a scroll of commendation for Mitch, since we couldn't steal him:

The theater in which a friend of Debe's performed with her troupe, ostensibly our reason for going down. It was approximately 500 seats smaller than I expected. My legs were on the stage, no big deal:

One thing I'd never done was go to a hookah bar, which evoked great pity and dangerous speeds and the next thing I knew I was breathing watermelon-mint uh, air, through a pipe, in front of 30 people, which was arguably the most awkward experience of my recent life. I just didn't get the allure, and I held the hose wrong, and just generally failed to appreciate inhaling something that was neither mood-altering nor good-tasting. But the Arabic belly dancers were mesmerizing, and far more intoxicating than watermelon-mint air:

How not to do it, well excuuuuuuuuuse me:

I give up:

Ah, the Castro, where even the bottled water is gay. Some of the best shopping evah:

Getting tattoo quotes on lower Haight, and meeting the meanest artist alive, who would have frowned if a wagon full of kittens rolled by. Sheesh:

When my Santa Cruz family found out we were in S.F., my cousin Maria said, 'You had better be coming here.' So we ran down Haight, Debe taught me the most ingenious parking trick ever, waved goodbye to the old bridge, as I have hundreds of times, and hightailed it to Santa Cruz:

The tunnel through which my brother Sky and I used to hold our breaths en route to Santa Cruz. This tunnel means we're almost there:

Greetings from my most beloved Maria:

Maria's son Max, 12. He's a fully-endorsed surf champion, well-known throughout Pleasure Point, deliciously handsome, hilarious, generous, and so sweet of spirit it's a wonder I haven't stolen him yet. We had the pleasure of hanging with him one night, and I couldn't be more proud of this guy I used to wear in a wrap:

My favourite restaurant in Santa Cruz, Dharma's. When I was little it was called McDharma's, but McDonald's sued them into dropping the "Mc." Damn, that was like 25 years ago, and I've been ordering the same pesto pasta since then. It's vegan, ultra Santa Cruz chic, UGGs mandatory, but so so worth it:

Uh, epic fail. Perhaps we should eat someplace else?

Splendid as always. May I have a shovel? And thanks to Debe for capturing my sloppiest, laughingest, and otherwise worst eating shots!

Yet I never caught her eating. I'm actually not sure I've ever seen her eat:

What's better than Dharma's for lunch? Back to Dharma's for dinner of course. That's where my fam opted to meet so we could visit. We were like our own little nest of paparazzi:

My cousin Catarina, Gustavo, sweet Gabriela, and yummy yummy Luca:

Luca, the wild thing, baby of the family, stops for nothing:

Some Wilhelm women: Auntie Donna rockin' 65 (!!!), Maria, me, Catarina, Gabriela:

The dreaded goodbyes, I hate letting go of Maria, and even got lured to Coffeetopia over Starbucks for her, lol:

Okay so this wasn't strictly the scenic route nor blog, but it's my family who made these cities so special. As the saying goes, I always leave a piece of my heart in San Francisco, and an even bigger piece in Santa Cruz.


dobby said...

but did you wear flowers in your hair?

Cheyenne said...

I knew you were going to say that. No.

debe said...

let's go back. right now. pack your tiny old navy bag and don't let me forget my toothbrush again.

Mensa Family said...

You really went? Whoa! I tip my hat to the multi-tasking queen! And I cannot believe you sent 25 post cards, lol. Only you lady, seriously. Too bad about the epic hookah fail, but it's nice to know you can't do everything, damn.

Susannah said...

And why didn't you bring me with you? Now I really want to go to Castro. Road trip?

Cheyenne said...

Absolutely. I'm so glad I learned the truth about Sex on the Beach, lol.

Susannah said...

OMG. I was laughing forever. <3