Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Friends, roaming charges and bikes

21 March 2009

People seem friendly here. Often in shops, of rather stores, I’m told ‘You have a wonderful day’ with every appearance of it being meant. Even the well presented men inviting us to have a drink and a little fun outside the strip clubs on Broadway are affable, unmenacing and a little humourous.

Michael and I quickly became welcomed regulars at our breakfast place, Pat’s Cafe. As well as good food and a friendly welcome we get free wi-fi. O2 make an exhorbitant charge for Internet connection by 3G, so checking email etc has become part of the morning ritual. This post is being written at the airport while waiting for my plane home, but all the others came from Pat’s. The wi-fi isn’t free here, so this won’t be published until I get home.

Another of our shared interests is cycling, and we have been looking at the bikes locked up on the streets as we walk round. Fixed wheels seem as fashionable here as in London, and some of the machines are gorgeous. Many of them have centre pull brakes and alloy handlebar stems, suggesting to our expert eyes that they date from the seventies or eighties.

Fixed wheels seem an odd choice for a city with such dramatic, vertiginous hills, but cool and practicality often don’t go together.


The Saloon

19 March 2009

San Francisco is a magical city with many wonders. One of them is The Saloon, a blues bar at Columbus and Grant, where I’ve been spending more than a fair share of my time.

It is all that a bar should be, untouched since who knows when, dingy and, above all, with great bands and juke box. Most of the musicians look as if they’ve been playing there since the last time the decorators were in.

The first two times I went in the bar tender was a man who had made an art of his job. He never stopped, his fluid movements in time with the music, spinning glasses in the air, catching them and then sweepng them behind his back and down the bar…

As my travelling companion is Michael Harvey, lettering artist, type designer and photographer, I have been paying particular attention to things like the notice in the second picture here. The letters are gloriously drawn and irregularly spaced. So much better than if they’d been printed out in Arial or Times.