Long Walks Between Rain

Over the past three days, I’ve walked 30 miles around San Francisco. The footwork has been for both pleasure and practicality: either seeing the sights, killing time, running errands, interviews. The sole of my shoe has a hole in it. My knees are sore. My buttocks is so firm that I can bounce dollar coins off it. My stye is withering from the exertion. Like me, the weather has been all over the map.

On Wednesday, J. and I took the train to the Inner Sunset and went on a walk through Golden Gate Park. She was meeting a friend that afternoon at the DeYoung Museum. I was meeting an old boss downtown, so I said goodbye and took a leisurely stroll through the varied plantings of the botanical gardens towards the train. The succulent’s zone was a juicy sight.

Downtown, I emerged from the tunnels early, so I walked to the ferry building, got some coffee, and sat outside watching the boats. My borrowed smartphone buzzed. The meeting had to be postponed until tomorrow. With the rest of the afternoon free, I walked through downtown and back home.


Old sign on Irving.

Stone wall.


Scenic drive sign.


Cactus and kumquats.

Japanese Gardens.

Metal wall and palm in front of the DeYoung.

The pleading cat fountain.

Plenty of benches.

Here lies irrigation. May he irrigate in peace.

Two-tone grass.


Chilean rhubarb.

Another view.

Flowering bush.

Berrying bush.

Fern valley.

Pink magnolia blossoms.

The radio tower of Twin Peaks.

Pink building and gas station sign.


Pretty cloud.

Container ships in Oakland.

Thursday morning, I hoofed it to the train, then hoofed it to an interview. Afterward, I grabbed some Vietnamese bun and went searching through the less touristy shops of Chinatown for a source of kicking feathers. The kicking feather is a toy I got addicted to in China. It’s like a cross between a hack-y-sack and a shuttlecock. With kung fu kicking skills, the players pass the toy between each other. In a low-ceilinged junk store, I found one for $2. The seller blew dust off the toy when I handed it to him. I asked if he had more than one. No, nor did the man know where more would come from. A few stores later, I found a big supply that cost twice as much. I bought one anyway and gave J. and excited call to share the news. With a steady supply of feather toys, I don’t have to be as precious with mine.

The famous “Painted Ladies” near our apartment.

A church that resembled a crashed blimp.

City hall.

Orange glass.

Decorative roofs.

Decorative doorway.

Decorative shrubbery.

Gingerbread man with enormous dong.

That afternoon, I met my old boss for coffee.

On Friday morning, it started raining. I had to walk downtown again. I suffered from inverted umbrella syndrome. The hole in the heel of my shoe allowed water to get pumped in during my confident stride. I was in sorry shape when I arrived at the security desk of corporate America. Two different security guards asked me how I was doing. I must have looked a little off-kilter.

Japan Center.

Nearly a full moon.

This is my kind of color scheme.

Purple shingles.

Blue building, pink blossoms.

That evening, a friend was in town so we met for dinner. Afterward, we walked the length of Haight Street. Most of the stores were closed, so we had to entertain ourselves with the bums, drunks, pot smoke, and Amoeba Music. We parted company and walked back home.

On Saturday, the potential of rain and tsunamis ended up being sunny and tidal wave free. The morning was spent walking between stores along Geary in search of RAM and cheap mouse pads. After a Vietnamese lunch on Clement, we walked into the Presidio through the Arguello Gate. Birds, bees, and flowers were in abundance. After making out at Inspiration Point, we hiked along some new trails down to Crissy Field and Fort Point. From there, we walked to the Palace of Fine Arts to catch a bus downtown to watch the Chinese New Year parade.

Menacing storm clouds.

Side of a school.


Presidio Heights.

The view from Inspiration Point.


Tall sculpture made from fallen eucalyptus trunks.

J. on the trail.

Golden Gate Bridge seen from benches on the cemetery overlook trail.

Trees and grass.


Old door to the horse stables.

Pet cemetery.

Rest in Peep.

The city.

A family sneaking off the pier with a catch of crabs.

A lone sail boat drawled by the Marin Headlands.

Rusted, cracking chain.

The chains.


Surfer examines the potential for death near Fort Point.

Surfing under the bridge during a tsunami warning.




A small sampling of the pungent masses.


The parade route was packed from Chinatown to Union Square. People were setting off firecrackers. There were dragons, marching bands, senators, firemen. We walked reverse of the parade into the swarms of people. Our legs needed to rest. We hopped on a bus headed home. Sleep.

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February 28th, 2010. Categories / San Francisco

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