We packed incredibly light so as to avoid having to check any luggage and I did not bring my laptop. We drove to Boston Thursday night, stayed over with my friend Jen, then headed out to Logan first thing in the morning for our direct flight to SF on American Airlines. The whole security thing was far less intimidating and stressful than I imagined and went incredibly smooth. I’ve done it twice now (to and fro) so I no longer have any true anxiety about it and won’t hesitate to fly in the future.
I was as giddy as a child when we first lifted off. It was exhilarating and exciting and I was a little sad that it had taken me so long to experience this. I wish I could have blogged immediately afterward to capture the raw emotion. Most of my emotions were positive and I chattered on to Jeffrey about how cool it was to feel that sensation in my belly and to see the ground get further away and to finally be traveling through and above the clouds and all the places I wanted to fly to now. I know it’s silly and so many of you take flying for granted, but as a first time flyer, I have to say, I was truly amazed. I also felt a little sad that the people I would have really enjoyed sharing this experience with were no longer a part of my life.
The rest of the flight remained uneventful. I settled into my seat and just enjoyed staring out the window, reading and passing the time by watching the in-flight movies (The Remake of Karate Kid and Fracture.) I was amazed at how quickly people started getting up to use the bathroom, fidget in their seats, dig through the overhead luggage…all within 30 minutes of taking off. Really? I mean, I consider myself an antsy fidgeter and I was able to stay in my seat the whole 6.5 hours hardly shifting at all and they couldn’t survive 30 minutes? Sheesh!
The landing was almost as fun as the take off and I was excited to be on the West Coast at last. The airport was nowhere near our hotel (The Hilton in the Financial District) so we had to take the shuttle, then the BART, then walk several blocks to the hotel. Our hotel was nice and the view from our room was great. We freshened up and headed out for a small walk only to discover we weren’t really near much of anything. Jeffrey was extremely jet lagged so we grabbed lunch at some place nearby we found (with a waiter that was annoying and , I think, trying to be funny by calling us cheap for not ordering $5.00 beers with our lunch, then referring to us as “big spenders” when he handed us the bill) then headed back to the room for a nap which, for Jeffrey, turned into his actual bed time, so I spent most of our first night in san Fran in the hotel room putzing around on my iPhone, really wishing I had brought my laptop.
The next morning we mapped out our destinations and headed out on foot which is how we explored most of the city for the rest of the weekend. We managed to see:
The Peter Macchiarini Steps
Golden Gate Park
The AIDS Memorial Grove
The Japanese Tea Garden (and had Tea and these weird sweet cakes that seemed like a cross between gummy erasers and jello)
The Pink Triangle Park
We were able to visit and have a drink in The Eagle (for a Bear Beer Bash) , 440, Twin Peaks (the Bar) and some restaurant bar I can’t recall.
Our last night there, friends of ours who live in Pacifica drove us op to the Twin Peaks look out (highest point in San Fran) which was an amazing view. Then we went to dinner at Fuzio’s in the Castro and stopped for a drink at Lone Star before calling it a night.
The flight back was just as thrilling at take off and much faster at only 4.5 hours (thanks Jet Stream) although the in-flight movie made my brain bleed (The Last Airbender. Good-bye M Night Shyamalan’s career.) We got in about 9:30 pm EST, hopped in the car and headed home and were safely at Chez breen around 12:30 am.
I am of two minds about San Francisco.
On one hand, it has a lot of emotional resonance with me due to it’s significance in glbt history and being the birthplace of Harvey Milk’s political career. On an even more personal note, it is the place my Uncle Gordon spent much of his adult life and, although I have never found a single connection to him (people who knew him, an address he lived at, photos of him anywhere in SF, etc.) I felt like I could have been walking in his footsteps at any moment, patronizing the same places, walking the same streets, seeing the same views and I got teary eyed a few times as I thought about being in his city, wishing for the life of me he was there to show me around. I kept a small pink oak from the Pink Triangle Garden which i have placed next to his picture. I definitely feel closer to him now having been there.
On the other hand, on a purely entertainment note, I was underwhelmed by the city. I guess I expected it to be bigger, better, gayer and even more fabulous. It was cool and I love all of what we saw and did, but I was not enamored by it like so many others. Not 100% sure why. It was a little too spread out for me and would probably have been better if we had a car, despite my preference to walk whenever I can. It also surprised me how many places were closed throughout the weekend, even during the day. I would go back for an event or to visit or hang with friends without hesitation but, truth be told: I like Toronto and Provincetown better.
All in all, the whole experience was very nice and I look forward to flying again soon. I suspect the only things that will limit my flights are the expense and my available vacation time. I could definitely see myself being a regular flyer, though.