Walking to Ocean Beach and back

Leif Johnson — 12 Aug 2003, 16:08

on sunday i was feeling quite a bit homesick. the homesickness was striking because i've lived in quite a few places over the past 10 years, mostly without my blood family around, and never really felt that homesick. there's something permanent about moving here, though, to the biggest city i've ever lived in, with no friends in sight ... yet.

so, suddenly realizing that i'd been standing around in the kitchen staring at the linoleum for fifteen minutes, i decided it would be a good time to see the ocean. on saturday i'd gotten a good glimpse from the campus of the city college of san francisco. but seeing it up close is now a realizable goal : i'm living in san francisco !

the trek down there bordered the golden gate park for about 3 miles. (my flip flops held up admirably and only nose dived a couple of times.) it was quite windy at the beach, and there were somewhat alarming signs at all the entrances stating quite clearly : “people swimming and wading have drowned here” ; plaques in four different languages—two of which don't use the latin alphabet—said “dangerous currents.” quite the encouragement. i'd imagine the water is really cold anyway, but there were a few folks out windsurfing, which looked pretty fun (and really difficult). i stood around for a bit and then scoped a kind of castle turret up on a hill, so i went to check it out. turns out the mayor of san francisco built an elaborate mansion up there in the 1890s, but it fell into disrepair after he died and was eventually torn down. all that's left now is a neat park with lookout tower that looks like a castle turret. the wind was blowing in the palm tree leaves overhead as couples wandered past the lady cleaning the bird bath. i sat and talked to mama on the phone for a while.

i checked out the map at the muni stop when i left the park and saw that i could walk pretty much all the way up geary and get home. geary is a really cool street. it includes the following landmarks :

  • sushi restaurants (kind of scattered all over, but there were quite a few around 21st, including one that got a favorable review in the local indy paper last week)
  • russian/jewish restaurants and delis (scattered between about 10th and 30th)
  • a store called “computers and music” (maybe around 11th or 12th)
  • a farmer's market (4th)
  • “family billiards” (wood)
  • bike shops
  • thai restaurants scattered all up and down the street
  • mattress and bed stores

further east on geary are chinatown and japantown, where at least two of the aikido dojos are located. exciting stuff. when i got back to the apartment, joe told me there are a lot of farmer's markets a couple blocks north of geary, but i forget the street name. so many places to remember.

today i went to the dmv to see about getting a california license. there were a lot of people in this building ... probably about 250 based on the number that i got at the welcome desk (which was g538 ; they were currently serving g332). i left.

right now i'm at the horseshoe cafe on haight street. it's kind of cool, they play nice music, it's just across the street from the futureprimitivesound, and i can plug in my laptop to get internet access (at least in theory ... the dhcp server or something with the network seems to be down today).

later on i'm planning on scouting out said computer music store and checking out some bike shops. i'm trolling for a cheap road bike. wish me luck.