Tuesday 12th April 2016 – San Francisco Day 2

Woke naturally, which is nice. Slept well, so obviously bought the right sleep aid product yesterday!

Off at 10. Fran met us and we drove to the mall to do the bits of shopping we all forgot yesterday, and post some cards and stuff.

Then we went to the Embarcadero, to a bookshop that we remembered from last time, that we loved. We all came out with armfuls of purchases, as I recall. Not any more. Never go back. They have taken out all the decent books, and filled their shelves with current fiction, children’s books and cookery books. All of which you can get cheaper in Walmart. That’s not what we go to a ‘proper’ bookstore for.

So we gave up and went into The Slanted Door for lunch. This is supposed to be an excellent restaurant. Presidents eat here. I say supposed to be. The noise level was quite high but we thought we had ordered quite easily. The waitress dealt with the no nuts, no gluten nonsense quite well. The lychee iced tea was, however, disgusting. I like lychee tea, so I was very disappointed with this. And she kept refilling my glass! Yuk!

Then the spring rolls arrived for mum. They were supposed to be vegetarian, but she took two bites and said they tasted funny, so I took a closer look. They were NOT vegetarian. They took them away pretty sharpish, and mum refused a replacement – she had soup instead. The waitress came over and apologised – saying she hadn’t heard the word vegetarian. Really? Cos I was pointing at it on the menu at the same time. So, don’t worry, you just probably fed pork and shellfish to a Jewish old lady with known food allergies. No issue there whatsoever. They really could not have cared less. She just said “We won’t charge you for those”. You’re damn bloody right you won’t, dear! Never mind that we didn’t order them, never mind that we didn’t eat them. If she had a fish allergy, which you might not mention when ordering the VEGETARIAN spring rolls, she’d be DEAD BY NOW, you incompetent cow.  They didn’t even bother to send over the manager. So much for the famous American customer service.  (NB. We have NOT told mum what she probably ate. We think she knows, but no one is saying it out loud, so please don’t mention it unless she does first).

So, if you want a recommendation for somewhere to eat in SF, I’m afraid I recommend that you go ANYWHERE BUT The Slanted Door at Embarcadero.

This did not put anyone in a very good mood, perhaps unsurprisingly, and after the bookshop fiasco next door, we decided to give up on Embarcadero and head elsewhere.  At which point, I went to the loo, and the cleaner unlocked the door from the outside while I was in there. Mood improvement quotient: -700,000%

So Fran took us to a proper book store on Van Ness and we all bought LOTS of books – I think mum got four and I got five. That’s more like it. Although, oddly, whilst you can buy absolutely everything Patricia Highsmith has ever written here, they have never even heard of Mary Higgins Clark. Don’t worry. Only one of the world’s top mystery writers. Very odd.

Then we went to the Jewish Community Centre, to see if they had anything nice in their shop. They didn’t, but at least their toilet doors were secure! Adriana Huffington is speaking there tonight. Seventy-five dollars a ticket. Yowzer. She has a book out about how to improve your sleep patterns. I’m not sure what qualifications she has on the subject, mind you… Apparently, she has also been acting as an Uber driver all day, here in SF. Odd, but interesting.

Then we went to City Lights, and I bought some more books. LOVE City Lights. Democracy is a participation sport.

The trouble with all these bookstores is that they are all in areas where there is only a half hour of parking. Have you ever tried to browse an entire bookstore in 30 minutes, including queuing and paying?! Can’t be done. Trust me, I tried. Twice. At both shops, I had to drop something I was considering and just leg it. Oh well, their loss. If they want more custom, they need to negotiate with their city planners. Nothing I can do.

Then Fran drove us around the city for a bit, showing us some of the cool architecture. There are some very pretty and some VERY large houses in some parts of town. And we drove the ‘Wiggle’ (down Lombard Street), because I could not remember doing it last time, although dad swears we did (we didn’t!). They are building a new ‘transport hub’ which will be under the (new) tallest building in SF. A transport hub that the new underground will not link up with. Buses and trains, but not the underground, for which they are currently digging up significant portions of the city streets. Not exactly joined up thinking…

Then we went to a lovely restaurant called Garibaldi’s, where we met up with Rachael and Blake for dinner (Rachael is Fran’s daughter and Blake is her new hubby). She is an architect, and he works for Google. We had a fantastic meal, although the portions were positively monumental in size. We had a great time, and it was sad when it had to end. Blake PROMISED me that Trump will not win the Presidency. You read it here first, folks.

Here endeth day two, with less foot pain, but much more shopping to somehow shoehorn into our luggage at some point. Tomorrow: a well-earned sea day before we get to San Diego. I’m pooped.

I think I was glutened at some point, which is a shame, but it didn’t hit me til after dinner, so it didn’t mar the day itself.


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