Return of the Queens
Ok, so I’m still mourning the fact that we had no money for me to indulge in adding yet another Star Wars item to add to my modest collection (my prized autographed, Ray Parker in full Sith Lord regalia has an honored spot in our family room and damn that saber would have looked good over top). Anyway, our first and last Sunday in San Francisco dawned cloudy and we were immediately depressed because our sailboat cruise was at sunset. Unfortunately, clouds present a problem when it comes to seeing the sun actually set.
We tried not to think about it as we got ready to attend the drag show. I suddenly decided on a whim that I just wanted to wear shorts. So I called the Starlight club and asked about dress code. I wasn’t happy when I was told no shorts, but JEANS were allowed! Guess I should have asked THAT question before I left Virginia because I didn’t bring jeans. Arrrrgggh. So I dressed up.
Sunday’s a Drag
I’d like to make a HUGE commercial plug for Harry Denton’s Starlight Room at the Sir Francis Drake . This guy knows exactly how to put on a meal and a show. There was so much food to select from, salads, made-to-order omelets, fruits, muffins, roasted pork, potatoes and OMG, the French Toast. I’m a decent cook. In fact, I’ve had people tell me I’m an exceptional cook (although I think it depends on the taste buds). But I do admit to having specialties that few places or people can top. One of those is my French toast. The family lives for th
e occasional Sunday when I fix mine, so I was blown away by Harry’s French Toast. It was exquisite on the taste buds. A one-inch thick slice of heaven is what they were. I won’t tell you how many I ate, but suffice it to say, even when I was full, I had to have more. My mouth is watering as I type. And on top of that, if the maple syrup they had wasn’t the real deal, then I want the brand name they used, because it oozed sugary sweet all over these divine angel wings being passed off as fluffy French toast.
With our bellies full, we sat back to enjoy the show. I already had a good idea of what to expect from a drag show, but I knew the DH didn’t have a clue. Truth is, he really didn’t want to go to the show, but because I wanted too, he agreed. He’s a good husband, and he also knows he generally has a good time when he agrees to do things he didn’t want to do in the first place. For the DH, the show was an eye-opener. He has truly come to accept and appreciate all alternative lifestyles and he was enthralled with Cassandra in the show. She’s wearing the strips of blue in the picture with him and the other queen.
Funny, bawdy, yet clean and tasteful, these performers made sure everyone had a grand time. When the DH was presented with the $100 bill, he exclaimed surprise and I reminded him that it was $45 a person and we’d had ice tea. He grinned, shook his head and scratched his name on the ticket with a big, “Ah, hell, it was WORTH it!”
After our drag queen show, we had a few hours to kill until our sunset sail. So I announce I want to go see the Painted Ladies. Naturally the DH is all keen to do go too given he’d just had a wonderful time at the drag show. However he wasn’t exactly keen anymore when I inform him that the Painted Ladies are Victorian Houses at Haight and Steiner. He’s now got the hang dog look on his face. Too late, you already said yes, sweetie. After a quick clothes change, we hop onto the bus and head toward the Haight Ashbury section of town. I don’t know what it is with us and buses, but we always managed to meet the most interesting of people. On this trip we met a gal who told us where to get off, but the DH and I disagreed over what she said. I looked at him and said pull the cord to make the drive stop.
“No, it’s not this stop.”
“Yes it is.”
“Pull the cord. We need to get off here.”
So I pull the cord, but the bus rolls right past Steiner Street. The next street it stops and we get off. As I study the map, I tell the DH we have to go up a couple of blocks and then turn left (BACK the way we came).
“Why do we have to do that?”
“Because you didn’t listen to me when I told you we needed to get off at Steiner!” *sigh* Men, I’m convinced its true that they really don’t have a sense of direction or the willingness to stop for directions.
We set out down the street toward the Painted Ladies on what’s a relatively flat plane.
When we turn the corner to we’re facing more steep hills. What is it with this city! LOL
Check out the hill above! After Lombard Street this sucker was peanuts!
Painted Ladies is a term given to houses built in the Victorian and Edwardian eras that are painted in bright colors. In the late 1800s, San Francisco was populated with houses like this, including Nob Hill where the most affluent people lived. In the quake of 1906 the Nob Hill mansions were destroyed, but a number of beautiful houses like these still remain. The houses in this picture face Alamo Park and are sometimes referred to as Postcard Row because they’ve become a tourist destination as a result of the number of times they’ve been photographed.
As you can see from the photo, the sun had come out, and it was turning out to be gorgeous weather. Nippy but wonderfully sunny. With my need for architecture not yet sated, we headed back to the bus stop where we should have gotten off to begin with, and along the way I insisted on the DH taking shot after shot of architecture. I’ve no idea what to do with these pictures! I think we took something like 300+ shots in four days.
The DH was getting antsy about getting to the cruise ship on time. Not that we had to rush, it was only 2:30pm and the ship didn’t leave until 6:30pm, but he was not eager to keep stopping at every house I wanted him to photograph as we walked back to the bus stop. We killed some time at Fisherman’s Wharf until it was time for our sailboat ride.
Sailing the Seven Seas (ok, the Bay)
We weren’t sure what to expect on our cruise, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to adequate describe the impact this experience had on me, or on us as a couple. The first part of the cruise started out on choppy waters. We’d not been out on the water but maybe 15 minutes when I heard a cell phone go off. It was near where the DH had left his stuff, but there was a couple sitting beside his jacket and I didn’t think anything of it. The ringing stopped, and then it started again. Over the wind, I told the DH that I thought his phone was ringing.
“No, it’s not mine.”
“Yes, I think it is,” I said with an arched eyebrow. He checks it and rolls his eyes.
“It’s Oldest.” (Oldest stayed at home by herself for the first time ever!) DH answers the phone.
“What, Oldest?” Long pause.
“That’s why you called me? You want to know how to cook hot dogs?” The couple sitting next to DH’s jacket are laughing. “All right you put a couple of cups of water in the bottom of the steamer, put the hot dogs in the top part and cover it. Cook them about 7-10 minutes. Okay?”
He shakes his head as he hangs up and he glances down at the phone. “She’s been calling for the last fifteen minutes because there must be six or seven calls on here, I just didn’t hear the phone going off.”
I laugh. “She’s missing us, but doesn’t want to admit it.”
The cell phone goes off again. DH scowls as he answers it. “NOW what?” His eyes widen. “O‑M-G, Oldest. Yes the hotdogs can be frozen when you put them in the steamer. I’m trying to enjoy a romantic sailboat cruise with your mother. Now do you have any other questions?”
When he hangs up, I’m laughing uproariously right along with the couple near the DH who’ve been privy to the one-sided conversation. Kids, clearly they need us, but they don’t like admitting it.
With daughter number 1 taken care of, I move toward the front of the catamaran. I expected to get a little wet on the boat. After all the catamaran has open webbing between its hulls, what I didn’t expect was to have a HUGE wave surge up through the webbing and drench me in salt water. Oh wait, it wasn’t just salt water. It was ICE COLD salt water. But I decide that’s okay, how many people can say they’ve sailed on the San Francisco Bay and gotten drenched from it? Besides, it wasn’t too cold, I could handle it. Ummm, note the sweatshirt I’m wearing in the picture here! LOL
Feeling the need for food, I go below and grab what little of the cheese and appetizers are left. There were only about 35 people on board, but damn they must have been hungry! When I go back up on deck, I move to the front of the catamaran and simply put my face into the wind and revel in the beauty of a boat slicing through water with the precision of a knife. Left behind in the boat’s path was white foam cresting on top of water that couldn’t make up its mind what color it wanted to be. One minute it was green then it became midnight blue only to become green again with a tinge of blue.
Above my head, the sails billowed outward like freshly cleaned sheets on a clothes line, while the company’s logo of a black cat stood out sharply against the bleached sails. When it came time to head toward the Golden Gate Bridge, the DH and I just stood quietly together enjoying the view. I remember leaning over to kiss his cheek and saying I love you. He smiled and said I love you too. Then we were silent again. Sometimes, there are moments in your life which can not be put into words. For a writer to say something like that seems a bit incongruous. But it’s true.
That One Moment
I could wax poetic about those few minutes of bonding and closeness that I shared with my husband, but the truth is, a moment like that must be experienced. It must be felt. Or perhaps what I’m really saying is that the moment was too intimate to share with anyone but him. Intimate in the way that two people can simply hold hands and see deep into the heart of the other person.
The simple knowing that only someone who loves you can have any hope of understanding who you truly are. I remember my mother once describing a walk she and my Dad took on a beach when they stopped to watch the sunset. She told me my Dad just reached for her hand and held it in silence. That simple description speaks eloquently to what I experienced with the DH. It was acceptance, understanding and love all wrapped up in a beautiful gift of heartfelt intimacy that said, I don’t want to be any other place but here with you. It’s a moment I’ll cherish until my days end.
With our wonderful bonding moment still close to my heart, the captain of the boat took us directly under the bridge. Again, this is another difficult experience to truly describe. So I thought I’d do it with pictures. Even they can’t do justice to the majesty and beauty of this man-made wonder that spans a rocky shoreline and is buffeted by fog and sunshine depending on nature’s whim.
When our sail ended, we were ready to go again. NO, wait! That’s not true. Remember how I said I was soaked with water and that it wasn’t cold? Well, the weather decided to change on us, and the wind got stronger and COLDER. It takes a lot for me to complain about the cold. I rarely wear a coat in the wintertime. So when I’m standing on the dock shivering and my teeth are chattering, the DH realizes that he’s not going to convince me to eat dinner down on the wharf. Instead we return to the hotel.
Monday we awoke to our last day in San Francisco and our scheduled trip to Alcatraz. The barometric pressure had shifted and my knee and hip were agonizing reminders that I was no longer 25 anymore. Nonetheless, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the tour of the prison.
I can only say that my trip to San Francisco was wonderful on so many different levels. It was a business success and it created memories that will last a lifetime. The only things we didn’t do that I wish we had were…
- ride a cable
- take a dinner/dance cruise on the Bay
- walk the whole length of the Golden Gate Bridge
- visited the Parthenon from the Pan American Exhibition
But hey, who’s to say that we can’t go back. After all, when I talked with the cheese guy from LeBeau the other night as to what cheeses he sold us in his small grocery store. He said we should come back, and maybe we will.