i left my heart in san francisco

Or so the song says, and so I always feel when I come home from the City. Now, I just want to move up there, live in the Mission and spend weekends biking around the Presidio. I adore San Francisco. I love that it has neighborhood stores and people walking on the streets and a sense of humanity to it.

I’m writing this, in the car, coming home from Northern California. We stayed this weekend at a friend’s brother’s condo in SoMa. The area South of Market has been gentrified, and has very nice condos now available. That’s where I woke up this morning, looking out a window at the Bay Bridge. We were two blocks from the Embarcadero and within five minutes walk of SFMOMA. Despite the overly secure condos, the neighborhood is still sketchy, but it isn’t nearly as Third World Disaster Area as the similar regentrified zone in downtown L.A., provided you don’t mind stepping over a few sleeping bags when you go out to get Starbucks.

Today was our last day in the city, and we’d planned to start with breakfast in Sausalito. Unfortunately, due to getting in late from the party we were at in Santa Cruz last night, we were still sleeping when today’s Cameo Appearance From Jillian’s Past appeared. Brunch became breakfast food for lunch. There is a difference.

But Sausalito was adorable. It’s the small town across the Gate from the City, from which one can see the hills and downtown and the bridge itself. It’s charming, and filled with shops and locals out for their walk. Today was especially busy, because it was a gorgeous day out, an L.A. day that followed us North, sunshine and breezes on the tall ship that sailed by while we were eating at a restaurant on the pier.

We went separate ways after that. I wanted to go spend some time in the GGNRA, which is, I believe, America’s largest recreational park area. Most of the Marin headlands are now park space, since they are no longer in use as dairy farms and army bases. I needed to get out of a city for a while, and I figured that no one would appreciate that more than someone else from BC. Andrew, fortunately, is from my home province, and understands these things.

And the day trip resulted in some of the most beautiful, peaceful scenery I’ve seen since I moved down here last year. It looked like the part of the North Coast where I fell into a state of total joy while driving south from Oregon to San Francisco. The timeless hills and the rocks, the ocean, the sunshine – everything. It was so vivid, so gorgeous, as to be more than real, colors from a world more real than ours. We took some time to visit a lighthouse that dated to 1899, to walk down and through rock tunnels, to watch the waves turn opaque as they hit the rocks. It was just amazing, and peaceful, and exactly what I needed to alleviate some of the city poisoning I get in L.A.

We spent the entire afternoon out in the park, driving with occasional stops out of the car, and got back to the SoMa condo in time to get coffee and meet up with the rest of my crew, who had been doing the tourist circuits of Ghiradelli and Fisherman’s Wharf, places I’ve explored many times and was happy to skip out on. They came back just in time for Andrew to run off to a Vancouver friend’s birthday party, and for us girls to get cleaned up to go see Garbage. Which is a whole other post, because my laptop is about to

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