San Francisco, Part Two
he span of the Golden Gate Bridge suspension is 4,200 feet (a mile is 5,280 feet), so the walk across the bridge was shorter than the walking I do on an average day (at least three
miles). It had to be only about sixty degrees, maybe a little warmer, so the weather was perfect for a short hike across the strait. A beautiful day for it, actually, with a warm sun and a cool, ocean breeze. Unfortunately, we forgot our sunscreen, so we got a little burned, but otherwise we were no worse for the wearing.
During the walk, my friend–who is somewhat weary of heights–pointed out all the holes where bolts or rivets once were ("There are approximately 600,000 rivets in each tower").
I pointed out how beautiful the ocean looked from above. Also to
distract us along the way were: a couple of plaques (a construction and
a memorial plaque), cars speeding by, and families trying to keep their kids from guardrails water-side or roadside. It was a good time all around.
The next day, we went to a different San Francisco mecca: City Lights Booksellers and Publishers. We wandered from our hotel room through Chinatown (btw, San Francisco has the largest Chinese population outside of China and Wiki has a good Chinatown page
) to the corner bookstore, just on the outskirts of Chinatown. As our pilgrimage was somewhat early, the bookstore/publishing house was still closed, so we went to a bar across the street (yes, I said bar. Apparently, they open at 6:00am. We had coffee) that was ready for business. We asked the locals if they’ve ever seen Lawrence Ferlinghetti–poet and
publisher and founder of City Lights–traipsing around. Everyone said, "Yes. You’ll see him ride his bike around. And he’s eighty-eight years old!" Later, when we actually got into the store, the gentleman who sold me my books said just about the same thing: "You might see him on his bike. And he’s eighty-eight years old!"
I bought four books at City Lights, which was probably the highlight of my trip; I’m a sucker for books! The bookstore, admittedly, was like any other bookstore, but I must say that being in it, I felt the history. It felt good.
We left San Francisco soon after our trip to City Lights, and I feel like we haven’t done enough while there. Next Tuesday, I’ll tell you about my Minnesota escapade.