On Friday, we cowardly explorers headed south to a mythical place called Noe Valley. Nestled between misted hills, the fertile neighborhood is home to unicorns, various species of fungus, and yuppies. Originally a working class village, the area has gone through rounds of gentrification. According to an unnamed source, 24th Street has the greatest concentration of bagel shops outside of the secret Jewish Underground Bagel District of Manhattan (JUBD). The well-dressed “Noegians” walked their pure-bred dogs between cafes and organic hair salons. They smelled of BMW leather and new money.
“I will be one of you…some day,” I mumbled to myself as a single tear ran down my cheek.
Painted crosswalk at Castro and 24th St. in Noe Valley.
Sea foam green and ugly stone.
James Lick Middle School. Go Licks!
Purple house, purple car.
Metal fence and road cone.
A sad Dane.
Pete’s Cleaners sign.
Sushi lunch at Hamano Sushi. It was a bad hotel restaurant atmosphere, but with good cheap sushi and friendly Japanese hosts.
Bernal Heights Park, as seen from a dead end on Cesar Chavez St.
After exploring the area on foot and eating a delicious sushi lunch, J. and I spotted a barren, grassy hill to the east. This hill, Bernal Heights Park, was our next destination.
Another purple building.
Green and orange house on a hill.
No squatting dogs.
Blue door on the edge of the park.
Walking up to the top of the hill.
Woman and her dog dwarfed by rock.
Spandex lady doing stretches above the bay. Binoculars revealed her to be in her late 30s and possessing slightly hairy arms.
The view from the top was world-class. Bernal Heights might not get the tourists, but its view rivals that of Twin Peaks. The hilltop features a powerful microwave tower used for cellular transmission, cooking popcorn, and frying gonads. The whole park is designated as an off-leash area for dogs, making everything but the dirt trails a minefield.
The 101 and 280 interchange.
Erosion reveals railing foundation.
Boats behind Hunter’s Point power station.
Man walking his dog with Noe Valley in the background.
Tree-lined Folsom Street.
Rocks made for sitting or breaking bottles.
The Golden Gate Bridge and the other park on a hill, Buena Vista.
South Van Ness Avenue.
J-Dawg Jammy Fresh chillin’ with hur cam at B-Heights.
Caroline Nik in the city.
After taking in the view, we descended into the Mission and went in search of burritos. Triunfo!
A fun slide built on a hillside in Bernal Heights.
A tough looking old car: chrome, skulls, baseball bat, red lights, first aid kit.
The rear window.
A lantern flower.
Elmo and his two gay lovers.
Graffiti covered truck.
Large 99¢ Store.
Exotic produce for sale, including these prickly beasts.
Another old theater.
People along Mission St.
El Capitan Theater must have been a beautiful sight in its day.
Cacti for sale.
J. getting directions to the popular Bi Rite ice cream stand in the Mission.
Yesterday was the first Sunday of the month and the Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire. This massive event takes place on the grounds of the former Alameda Point Naval Air Station and is a sprawling collection of over 800 vendors and thousands of attendees. Everything under the sun is for sale under the sun. The food vendors are better than average and reasonably priced.
That morning, we met at Pier 41 and caught the Blue and Gold Ferry for $7 one-way. The ride was memorable, passing under the Bay Bridge and going along the massive cranes and stacked shipping containers of the Port of Oakland. We walked from the pier through the sprawling parking lot towards the gates. Heat rippled off the pavement. It seemed like Decepticons would attack at any moment.
Sail boat race as seen from the ferry to Alameda.
Tanker ship passing under the Bay Bridge.
Our ferry going under the Bay Bridge.
American flag with seagull poop on it.
Containers at the massive Port of Oakland.
Sail boat passing a heavily loaded container ship.
Old parking spots.
The desolation of the Alameda airfield.
Threading through the rows of goods, we realized how daunting seeing everything would be. Our strokes became broader, first looking at one side of the row at a time, then both sides, then just down the rows.
For lunch, I ate an emasculatingly long and spicy sausage on a bun with sauerkraut and all the trimmings.
Crowds at the flea market.
Ninety-five dollar duck.
V. and J. heading home.
By early afternoon the vendors looked like they were getting ready to go. Many had been there since early in the morning, and most of the afternoon shoppers like us weren’t serious buyers. We hoofed it back to the ferry, only to get there two hours early. We passed some time kicking the feather before deciding to take the bus home.
Our first bus was caught in the market traffic. The driver, who had been exceedingly friendly with us, got into a yelling match with an aisle-blocking woman with a stroller. We left the bipolar bus and transferred to the O. For a fare of $4 had a scenic ride across the Bay Bridge to the Transbay Terminal.
The sun was setting.
It was time to start heading home.
It was time for afternoon coffee and pastries.