S.O.F.T. IF YOU’RE GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO!

softravels:

Christmas in AMERICA…now that will be different.

Arrived in TECH CITY, after a pleasant flight with AIRNZ via Auckland to pick up daughter number 2. Sydney airport was like Bedlam on a bad day- hordes of swirling masses all pushing trolley loads of luggage, all with crying babies and excited toddlers! However I continued to wear my winter coat in the heat, sweating but smiling at the check in, with my 2 backpacks “ not much hand luggage here!”

The stewards on AIRNZ were most amusing, even advising me to take my own towel to the nude coffee lounges..iT is BYO towels. Alas, they no longer show The Lord of the Rings safety video, and customer interest has dropped to zero again. My theory is, if the plane goes down, you are well and truly stuffed , you really do not need to know where the nearest exit is. As luck would have it ( or a few extra dollars) we were sitting in the exit seats ,..manning or woman-ing the doors.

Tech City was cold, very cold. So glad I had sweated through check in with my warm coat. Everyone here appears to work for a STARTUP, an INCUBATOR, or a UNICORN, and to add insult to injury they also mainly appear to be under thirty. I did feel just a touch hillbilly with all the APPS and even using SQUARE for everything. At home I consider myself a reasonably savvy tech senior, but I am overawed by it all. The cell phone is everything. We used UBER and LIFT for transport, quick cheap and efficient. At home there is just a few taxis, that take forever to get there and are really expensive. I noticed a group of much older women exiting the theatre, gripping their mobiles to track an Uber driver..I have become a hick. I do a lot of staring..’ OMG how did you do that?’

I am staying in the gay district of the CASTRO, at the INN ON CASTRO. It is a delightful BNB, run by a delightful Dutch man, who whips up very yummy breakfasts each morning. The decor is unusual, in the style of an old queen. Initially i was the only female and straight person there. It did make breakfast interesting at the communal table- often there was a different lover each morning, just dressed in their bath robes. ( I hope they bought their own towel!) However now it is Christmas, married couples are appearing, visiting families in the area- and it is not as amusing.

We visited Cliff House ,perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, with its spectacular view of the wild sea, the winds were whipping in, the surf crashing on the rocks- where we had the worst coffee in the world at very expensive prices. Cliff House was burnt down in 1906 and rebuilt next to the Sutro Baths, which also burnt down..is there a connection!? The Sutro Baths are now an eerie ruin, was once the retreat for the wealthy of San Fran.As a child I used to stay at CLIFF HOUSE, In Port Elliot, obviously people lacked imagination when naming accommodation. “ Oh it’s on a cliff- lets call it cliff house”

The Golden Gate Bridge was not covered in smog, but covered in traffic jams. I had never been to The Palace of Fine Arts before, which is another interesting remnant of SF , built to resemble a classical ruin, complete with muses weeping for a world without art. It was a beautiful location.and I actually thought we were going to an art gallery!

Hipster San Fran is a little nerdy..everyone codes…and there are billionaires who made their fortunes from tech. Real estate in unafordable..the revenge of the nerds! Some say the city has lost its soul, as the artists and creative types that made San Fran what it is, can no longer afford to live here. But the Tech Gold Rush continues to bloom…Go West, Young Nerd.

Meanwhile, back at The Castro- we had a wonderful Christmas Eve with the SF Gay Mens Choir, at the Castro Theatre- a magnificent old theatre from the 30’s. We rolled in there after a superb Christmas Eve Feast, cooked by my daughters. Ok we nearly burned down the apartments with the brandy on the Christmas pudding which set the holly alight, and the lift may have stopped working after we used it- but, in politically correct SF..we just smiled and said Happy Holidays..

Then Christmas day, a day after Australia, we had a wonderful Christmas lunch at the Palace Hotel- another historic hotel, festooned with chandeliers and classical christmas trees. We drank more than our share of champagne and walked around in silly sparkly hats..in fact we were the only people in silly sparkly hats. Thats ok..“ They are Australians!”..people nudged each other discreetly, and who let them in?

And I can not post photos on this APP on my Ipad., will have to wait until I get a laptop. You would think that Mark, or Bill would fix it for me…I am in Tech City!!

Photos now up!