(Clear skies above San Francisco...can you feel the irony yet?)
Thus far, we haven't been involved in any large fires, so I assume that's a good thing. I say "assume" since they – as I mentioned – are related to warm weather, which is the polar opposite (see what I did there?) of what there is here in San Francisco. People are in coats and scarves. In August. I'm not joking in the least bit, though I wish I were.
The fact that the Russians built this city on a windy peninsula doesn't help matters at all. Perhaps for them it's a tropical paradise... You know when you travel someplace hot and people tell you that you brought the cold weather with you? Turns out it's not just mindless chatter.
It's even more serious when "you" refers to a group of settlers, since the effect seems to be permanent.
At least there's not as much rain, 'cause there's just as much gray. And that gray is just as depressing.
The foggy color of the air also seems to have a negative effect on people's motor skills. Going from the hotel to SF, we came across the conclusion to a rather curious traffic maneuver.
Specifically, one particular street has a center divider consisting of a grass mound that is about as wide as a small car, and as long as the block itself. On top of that mound was an older Camry testing its front-rear weight distribution and facing the wrong direction.
A fire-truck and its occupants swept the surrounding leaves, scattered like the remains of explosions, while the young driver (yes, an Asian driver) scratched his head pondering why the divider's integrated sprinklers' spray was all crooked.
Luckily, just as I gave up trying to figure out how the poor boy got his car
I'm referring to Golden Gate Heights, which if I didn't know any better, I'd say was in Brazil. Houses are squished onto terrain that would throw a mountain goat off-balance, and they've strung trolley bus lines throughout for good measure.
This part of town especially leaves a mark as it makes one indecisive: was it the view of all of the city's western rooftops, the silly-straw streets, or the fear of falling off a cliff that left the greatest impact?
Having navigated ourselves outside of Brazil's little-known middle-class favelas, we arrived at Golden Gate Park.
In a nutshell, 1860's San Francisco wanted to copy NY's Central Park in order to get people to come and build houses. The area wasn't particularly attractive since it was just sand dunes at the time, so by spending 10 years eliminating all traces of said dunes with greenery and Dutch windmills, they eventually succeeded in growing the population.
The park they built is absolutely huge. It's so huge that:
- it's 60 blocks long
- it has parks within itself
- you have to use a car to get across it
- it houses museums, gardens, lakes, stadiums, and parkades
- it has its own golf course and outdoor amphitheater
- it has its own homeless people
- it has its own road network
- a highway runs through it
If you like art, science, flowers, horses, monuments, and walking, you'll probably enjoy the park. Even if you don't, it's worth a look just to get an idea of the massiveness of the place. You'll find it difficult to believe that you're in a park.
Just don't get too close to the west side of the park (the one on the ocean) if you don't like chilling wind.
After not seeing all of the park (it's that big), we wandered over to the PCH in order to check in at the next hotel. Driving just five miles south of San Francisco yielded better weather.
Driving a hundred southbound brought real summer weather, bright as it should be in August. Santa Cruz happily kept this up...but Aptos, not so much. It was gray again. But at least not as much as San Francisco. Fortunately, Aptos is close to Santa Cruz, which I hope will still be sunny this week.
So, contradictions are abundant here. You're in California, but the weather is gray (Tired of me saying "gray" yet? Not more than I.) like in the Columbia District. But unlike the Columbia District, there is plenty of stuff to do.