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Seer of ghosts & weaver of stories

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Retroactive Blogging: 29 December in Haight-Ashbury

Around 11:30 AM, I took one of the streetcars from Market Street to where Fillmore intersects with Haight. After a bit of bewildered wandering, maybe two minutes' worth of walking in either direction to get my bearings, I went to a burger joint that was right around the point I'd got off the streetcar and guiltily enjoyed some lunch. Normally, I avoid beef like the plague, but every once in a while, man, there's nothing like some local ranch-raised stuff.

The next seven hours or so passed slowly, but blissfully so. I backtracked to where Lower Haight begins and walked the entire length of the street, poking into each shop and establishment that caught my fancy. I spent a good fifteen minutes engaged in conversation with a blue-eyed South African woman who's had her stuff-shop (jewelry, Haight-centric t-shirts, weed-positive memorabilia) there for years. When I indicated the Obama shirts and asked if they'd sold well, she said, "At first they did, but now it's kind of died down. People don't want to rely entirely on him, you know. They want to rely on themselves now. It's going to be hard." I couldn't disagree with that.

There was an odd little clothing boutique called DOE, and there was this Indian place that sold cups of hot chai for a dollar. I scoured every corner shop for wine from Rosenblum Cellars, but I couldn't find any. The weather was the warmest I'd seen in a few days, sufficiently so that I was able to take off my coat and shove it in my bag. Approaching Upper Haight, I stumbled across Bound Together Books, where I purchased a collection of surrealist poetry dating back to 1992. At this point, things printed in the late '80s/early '90s feel oddly precious to me. Another clothing boutique - this one bigger and feeling a bit more like it belonged in L.A. - yielded up a pair of Silver wide-leg jeans on clearance for $10. The coffee places, at least, were all independently-run and inviting.

I finished off the evening with some phenomenal Belgian ale (St. Bernardus Christmas brew) at Toronado and a duck-and-plum sausage sandwich from Rosamunde's next door. What really makes the place, though, is the sporadic graffiti and the lived-in, friendly feel. I never felt like a tourist. I felt like a traveler passing through who had, generously, been accepted as a local for the day. And yes, Pai: I added to the graffiti in every loo I chanced upon.

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Congrats on the house, in case I hadn't said so before!

Wandering around like that, just drinking everything in, sounds like the perfect thing to do. <3

In a place like Haight, yes it is. Next time I go to SF, I'd really like to stay in that part of town instead of at Union Square.

SF is one of the places I definitely want to visit one day...

For future reference, the Rosenblum tasting room is in Alameda -- just across the Bay from SF, but not very easy to get to using public transport. The way to go, I think, is to e-mail the winery 24-48 hours in advance at RCinfo@rosenblumcellars.com and ask them where you can find a local retailer. (I've never tried this, but there's no reason it shouldn't work.)

Thanks! I should've consulted you before I left.

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I still only have You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train.

I was there about 18 years ago--got a pic of me in my little leather jacket standing on the corner there. (-: I took amtrak across country as a reward for finishing my folklore MA and attended a folklore conference in SF and spent a week there. People were friendly just like that. Residents on the buses were saying, "I love this town! Why would anyone live anywhere else?" Friendliest place I've ever been. Best tasting food, too.

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