Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco summer’

Havana, Cuba, Baby

April 9, 2019

That’s right.

I am going to CUBA!

I just booked my ticket for July.

Yeah.

I know, Cuba in July is going to be hot, but fuck I don’t care, I like it hot, steamy, warm, bring it on.

You know where it isn’t hot in July?

San Francisco.

It’s fucking freezing.

It’s foggy, grey, dreary, damp, and hella cold.

Especially where I live, right out by the ocean.

It is not pretty.

The nice summer, the Indian summer glory that I hope no one ever really discovers except the locals is mid to late September and early October.

Then its glorious.

But July?

Forget it.

Crap weather.

I was going to go to Hawaii.

That had been the plan.

But.

I kept getting disgruntled when I looked.

So expensive.

The flights have been steadily going up and what had once seemed reasonable and doable began to look much less so, especially when the cost of the tickets easily eclipsed what I had paid for my round trip ticket to Paris in December.

Granted, Paris in December is during the off-season.

But one would think that Hawaii isn’t all that packed in July.

The tickets though and the cost of accommodations was depressing.

Do I want to spend that kind of money to lie around on a beach?

Will I get bored.

I suspected I would.

Would I get resentful and annoyed at the expense?

I think I would have.

Really I was mostly worried about getting bored.

I mean.

Sure, a nice lay around on a beach is all good, but I couldn’t actually imagine doing it for an extended period of time.

One friend said five days was his max and then he was done.

Another friend said a week was way too long and that it felt like paradise with strip malls.

I spent a lot of time on Air BnB trying to find accommodations I liked that weren’t too expensive or didn’t look like my grandmother’s kitchen.

Nothing against my grandmother, I love her, but do I want to spend a lot of money to stay in a place that looks like her kitchen?

No.

I did find one place and it was a bit more than I wanted but I compromised and figured better to stay somewhere that would make me happy.

And the site went down.

And there was a glitch in the dates.

And sorry, we don’t know what’s wrong.

But basically for two days straight I couldn’t book it.

I took that as a sign.

I felt bad for not wanting to go to Hawaii.

Shouldn’t I want to go?

I am sure it’s lovely.

But what do I like to do on vacation?

I like to walk around and see things, I like architecture, I like museums, I like, really like people watching.

I felt flummoxed and a bit baffled at myself, did I or did I not want to go to Hawaii?

When it came right down to it I realized I did not.

And that’s ok!

It’s ok to change my mind and its ok to know that I am a savvy traveler and I would really rather go somewhere more exotic and have an adventure in an urban environment.

I like cities.

I am a city kind of gal.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being out in nature, but when I think about traveling I want to go to a city.

I have always found the idea of Cuba and specifically Havana, very appealing.

All the Art Deco, the Prado Theater, the Habana Vieja (Old Havana), the churches and all the vintage cars, the colonial architecture, Cuban coffee, veranda life, sitting on a balcony or in a square having fruit and coffee, walking around and really seeing something different.

Also, there are plenty of beaches in Cuba.

As soon as my friend said, “strip mall” I knew I wasn’t going to Hawaii.

I wanted something more.

So, yeah, I bought a ticket.

There’s some hoops to go through, you can’t really travel to Cuba on a tourist Visa, you must have a reason to go.

I did a lot of research and the category that best fit me was that I was going to support “the Cuban People” which means that I won’t be staying anywhere or buying anything that has any ties to the military or government.

Fine with me.

I’ll support the local artists and musicians.

I will stay, fingers crossed at Hotel Chez Nous.

You have to love that it’s a “French” named casa.

It’s considered a “Casa Particular” which means a local family that runs a “hotel” or sort of “boarding house”.

The rooms are in two different homes in Old Havana, one that is old school Colonial and the other is Art Deco.

You can’t reserve online, you have to make a request, so I sent off my request and hopefully I’ll be staying there.

The room I want is 45 Cuc, Cuban convertible peso (which is pretty much one Cuc to one dollar) a night!

I request the Art Deco single with a balcony.

That’s my style, sitting on a balcony in Old Havana, overlooking a square smack in the middle of Old Havana.

Yes please.

Bring on the sundresses, sandals, iced cuban coffees con leche, walks along the old port, visits to churches and museums, and yes, some spicy Cuban food.

God damn I am excited

I did not feel excited by Hawaii.

I feel ecstatic about Havana.

Nervous too, I don’t speak Spanish and there are some hoops to jump through to get the Visa but, overall I’m fucking thrilled.

But hell yeah, Havana, baby.

It’s going to be one hot, sexy summer.

Well, at least nine days of it will.

Heh.

 

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Crawling Out of My

July 20, 2013

Fucking skin.

I felt it prickle up and wondered if I was perhaps actually coming down with some sickness.

I felt feverish and unsettled and so far down the road in the future that no wonder I was uncomfortable in my body.  Future tripping is not a good trip for me.

Never was, never is.

I did have a little stroll down memory lane tonight though, faces and places of San Francisco  that I had not thought of in some time.  I am coming up on my 11th year of living in San Francisco.

Give or take six months in Paris.

And two and a half in East Oakland.

Oh, fyi, stay the hell out of Fruitvale tonight if you can, there’s an Occupy protest going on that looked like it was getting brisk and uncomfortable.  There was that tingle of uncertain electricity in the air, a balance that could be tipped either way, and I could see the riot gear and the batons dangling and I wondered, how many of the protestors actually live in or around Fruitvale.

I think if you do, live in the neighborhood, you were busying getting your Friday night El Gordo Loco taco truck on.

That place is booming.

Aside from constant vigilance while riding my bicycle down International Avenue, I have to pay extra attention to this corner, loads of people whipping in and out for some toothsome carnitas or al pastor.

It does smell divine.

But I never have stopped.

Even when I was in my I am gonna get crazy with my food mode.

I had that thought today, Enteman’s Chocolate Cake donuts with glazed sugar icing.

One box please.

Followed by crazy.

I deigned to go there.

But I did not.

I stumbled through the uneasy on my skin and said, hey you know, yeah that extra time I have, it’s not a bad thing, it’s gonna be a good thing, there will be loads of things to occupy you and your time.

Tomorrow I will go see a friend whom I have not seen in years, not since, I just realized I left my place up in Nob Hill.  She still lives on Taylor Street.  I am looking forward to seeing her and I also realized that I am nervous too.  She’s successful, does well, travels, has a great job, has money, I am assuming, and I am comparing and despairing.

Which may have accounted for some of the discomfort today.

When I run into people that I knew from my “former” life, I feel almost compelled to prove that I have done something big and bold and daring with my life.

Then I think, oh please, you have done plenty.

If not just in the success of living in one of the most expensive places on earth for over a decade, that has got to count for something.

I don’t have to prove myself, I don’t have to fix myself, and most of the time I just have to sit, drink a cup of coffee and listen to someone else for a little while, listen to their experience and share mine.

My experience is valuable.

Really the one thing that I have that is all mine and I have a wealth of it.

I do.

I sat in the falling gold spiked light at Atlas Cafe on 20th and Florida with a friend this evening, sharing our experiences, relating our solutions, laughing at ourselves.

I sat there in the warm sun getting more and more comfortable in myself, my body, my skin, I don’t have to check out and I can walk through this (whatever this is) some made up story of failure and loss and it’s not going to work out because I can’t see it coming.

Damn it, girl, don’t you know that’s when the most exciting stuff happens?

Some of the exciting stuff can be scary, the unknown, but usually what happens when I ride out the discomfort is that whatever it is ends up being better on the other side, I emerge enriched with another set of experiences.

Sometimes it is just to compare the two places in my minds eye, one full decade apart, the cafe, Atlas, was the first cafe I went to in San Francisco, it is located at 20th and Florida, my first place in the city was a sublet at York and 20th.

It was for two months.

It morphed into a longer time, then the house got put on the market, sold, and owner occupied in a matter of weeks.

Literally.

We had 30 days to get out and there was no paying our way.

I found another spot, not too far down the road at 22nd and Alabama.

Atlas was still my go to cafe.

I liked the patio where I could smoke and drink my lattes.

I liked the out door tables I would sit at and wait for my dealer to roll by on his way to drop me a few grams of blow.

I drank beer there, ate pizza there, did blow in the bathroom, although it was so close to my house that I preferred to go back to my place and do it privately, had blind dates that I met through craigslist.  It was my go to cafe.

It was my entree into San Francisco.

A decade later it is still there, a stalwart in a sea of ever burgeoning upscale neighborhood joints and eateries, still serving the smoked trout salad, still serving coffee in pint glass mugs.

I felt connected and known.

If only to myself.

I felt back in my skin.

And despite hopping on my bike to hit Rainbow, grab some groceries, and haul them back to the East Bay, I did not feel that I was marking time anymore.

I was just in the moment.

Just me, in San Francisco with my bag full of organic produce, my rolled jean pant leg revealing purple and teal striped socks, my one speed whip and my knowledge of the city.

I wore a hoodie today and a jean jacket; I know what July in San Francisco is like.

The fog flooded through the streets and I rolled right along with its chill breath into the night.


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