Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Sep 26 2011

US trip, part 2

I woke up this morning feeling discombobulated after sleeping late; it was almost noon and Ernie had left a message that he was having brunch with a friend at a place called BrunchDrunkLove. Apparently it’s quite a popular restaurant, as just before I set out Ernie said they’d had to switch to another spot: Future Cinema on Mission and 21st. As I was already late, I decided to hail a cab, a feat Ernie had assured me was quite simple. The problem was, I soon discovered as I walked down Keary in the drizzle, that I couldn’t tell which cabs were full, and each one I hailed just declined. Eventually I got one to stop for me; the driver was from Shanghai, and we chatted in Mandarin as he drove. He’d been in the US for 20 years, along with his siblings, while their parents were still in Shanghai. “The cost of living in Shanghai is outrageous these days!” he said.

Future Cinema turned out to be, predictably, an old movie house converted into a swank restaurant. I found Ernie involved in animated conversation with a tall, handsome woman. I tried to draw up a chair, but apparently Future Cinema is too nice a place for such backwards behavior, and we had to arrange things with the highly efficient and rather nervous staff. I had an excellent omelette as well as a few bites of a pastry ordered by Ernie’s friend, who turned out to be Denise Jacobs. Denise is a professional speaker, author, web designer and more, but the thing that impressed me the most was the resounding echoes of her laughter startling several tables around us after Ernie explained to me the term “See Tarzan, Hear Jane”.

Denise had to go somewhere after lunch, and Ernie and I took the subway to Folsom Street for the fair. The train’s seats and floors were carpeted, which I felt was a poor decision lacking in foresight. We were planning on following the leather to the fair, but even before we exited the station Ernie encountered a couple of people he knew, and he introduced us.

The sun was strong and bright as we passed through the barrier into the fair, over which hung thick smoke from the barbeques. Several stages had been set up, on which various acts were being hailed by the prodigious crowds, mostly men, some clothed in leather and quite a few not really clothed at all. I think I saw more silicon than clothing, and it really wasn’t as interesting as it sounds. Ernie and I forced our way through the dense crowd until it all got a bit much, whereupon we stationed ourselves on the sidewalk and watched people going by. A great majority of the Caucasian men seemed to have a certain facial expression, a kind of tight-lipped grimace and thousand-yard stare as they strode along at a set, slow pace. Ernie called it “the pout” and apparently it’s A Thing. A couple of girls were giving out free kisses to all the guys, making me wonder if they truly had a handle on the major demographic there. We saw some animal costumes, plastic rather than the furry kind, apart from Pedobear, who was so hot that he kept taking his head off. Ernie said there were quite a few gawkers, and many people had cameras. I didn’t take many photos, as it all seemed a bit easy.

We met up with Ernie’s friend from yesterday, Claudio, and walked down the street some more until Claudio went into a dark, cavernous bar filled with thumping music. But I was loathe to stay while the weather outside was no nice. The slanting rays were lovely but fleeting as the sun dropped along with the temperature. We met another group of Ernie’s friends (my but that boy’s popular), one of them with the Chinese characters for “destiny” on his shoulder and “Live for Today” on his meaty calf. He said I was the only one to ever have recognized them.

Claudio had bought tickets to the post-fair block party, so he and Ernie continued up Folsom while I turned back as the fair packed up. I walked in the deepening dusk down Folsom, taking 7th over to Market and walking down past all of the fine triangular buildings, the homeless people and the rattling streetcars. I walked into a Walgreens at a whim, just to catch a whiff of that peculiar combination of plastic and produce. At the end of the street I could see the port building’s tower. I was wandering the streets of San Francisco in the afterglow of the spent day, in fine spirits.

Dinner was at a Subway next to what turned out to be the Hearst Building. I turned onto Keary and walked back to the hotel, putting everything away except for the Rabbit and a small 50mm lens, and then I went out again, walking through Chinatown, which seemed more familiar and less forbidding than the empty financial district.

At one point a Scandanavian couple asked me where Union Square was, but I had no idea. The only other people around were a group of Chinese people, so I asked them, and they told me, and I told the couple, who immediately set off. “Are you a foreigner?” one of the Chinese people asked me.

I continued walking around the area, up and down hills, past wonderful buildings, many empty. Fog was rolling in, obscuring the tops of the taller buildings. I walked back through Chinatown and had some pizza before coming back to the hotel. Just now some Russians were chatting in the hallway before a woman stuck her head out and told them to shut up as she was trying to sleep.

Tomorrow’s my last day in San Francisco.

posted by Poagao at 3:19 pm  


  1. 太好笑了~!你有沒有突然發現會中文很棒呀!

    Comment by Chenbl — September 26, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

  2. 太好笑了~!你有沒有發現會中文是很棒呀!

    Comment by Chenbl — September 26, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

  3. “I walked into a Walgreens at a whim, just to catch a whiff of that peculiar combination of plastic and produce.”

    LOL! Add “industrial cleaning solution” to that combination

    Comment by Dave Chen — September 27, 2011 @ 10:01 am

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