Back in the U.S.S……A.

It’s been surreal. I keep thinking there’s got to be a door somewhere through which I can walk and find myself in Ha Noi. I’m not quite ‘here’ yet. Ha Noi (after all my trials and tribs) was home.
But, I have to say I’ve been made to feel at home by some of the most hospitable, welcoming, kind, friendly, wonderful people on the planet….my friends.
I flew in to San Francisco and, I guess because of the flight path, I didn’t get to see ‘The’ bridge, which was disappointing, but that was remedied in a few days time. I love that bridge…..who doesn’t?
I took the BART (for the first time ever…..easy peasy) to my dear friend Lin’s house. I’d arrived the day before her daughter Alva’s birthday and Lin’s cousin Daphne was there for the celebration as well. We three talked and laughed well into the wee hours of the night…..which was a breeze for me….the middle of the night for them was the middle of the day for me as far as my circadian rhythm was concerned. It was a very fun talk.
The next ‘morning’ I woke up thinking I really ought to get up….it must be 9:30, maybe even 10am… was 1:30pm…..whoa….. I slept like a rock. They told me the people next door had been working very noisily all morning on their driveway which was right next to my bedroom window…..I didn’t hear a thing….I was OUT.
Anyway, for the first few days I didn’t take a single picture of anything. Not the birthday party, not nothin’. I think I was just dazed most of the time. Jet lag is real. But I got to see and talk with Lin’s younger brother, Jack (who I’ve always absolutely adored) and her good friend Jamie (who I’m just in love with… a ‘friends only’ sort of way!).
Picture taking finally started when I met up with my good friend Jodi. She and I met in Chico years ago and she’s now living in San Francisco. She is an enormously talented artist who’s made her living from her art for years……and she’s worked incredibly hard to do so.  She came to Lin’s, picked me up and drove me around the city…..just talking and doing some sightseeing….such a treat.  Here are some pics…


← Under the Bay Bridge.  I tried to take some pictures while on the bridge but I guess I don’t do as well from the window of a van as I do from the back of a motorbike …..nothing really turned out.  They’re building an entirely new section to it that was very interesting to see.



The bridge construction is being done by giants and you’d better not piss ’em off or…… →


16First stop ~ Jodi’s store “YeahYeah!PonyPrince”.


She sells clothes and bags (made from only organic or recycled materials) which she hand stamps and paints with her own block print designs.   Each piece is completely original due to the hand painting.



I love this…..’oooooh…. ahhhhh….. Fancy…..!’ →






Great design, yes? ↓ She painted this on the wall.


Her shop is in a very cool area (at 241 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, if you’re ever in town…..) so we walked around for a bit and I took these pics….


6← The unmistakeable TransAmerica building and a gorgeous building in which Francis Ford Coppola has his offices and a restaurant downstairs.

Some very cool random art….. →




….down a very cool random alley….





…..just around the corner from….↓

11…..though we didn’t have time to go in due to the possibly-less-than-perfectly-legal parking we had to do (it was quasi-legal ~ you just had to think outside the box).  We needed to just do a quick walk around the block then scoot.  Ah well, next time.           More alley art…↓

14… sentiments exactly…..











A cool building →

← A cool tile floor at the entrance to Jodi’s store.




← A cool Jodi.

19.5We were heading to the Palace of Fine Arts and I was able to get this ↑, my first glimpse of the bridge…… and of the Palace ↓



On most structures like this, you see the scantily clad women statues facing outward, but these are all looking ‘into’ the columns……




…..what the heck are they looking at anyway…?


26The underside of the dome.  It was so large, I couldn’t get all of it in the shot.

27Aaaahhhh, finally.  What is it about this bridge?  For me it’s like comfort food for the eyes….and the heart.


293031↑ This is the site of the Sutro Baths.  It’s got quite an interesting history.  What always comes to mind for me, though, when I think of the Sutro Baths is the movie Harold and Maude, part of which was shot here.  If you’ve never seen Harold and Maude……see it.  Great, great movie.

A day or two later I met up with my friend, Willy….aka Bill.  Also an old friend from Chico, he’s currently living in the Bay Area.  We decided to meet in the Jack London Square at Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon, a historic bar in Oakland where Jack London used to hang out.  It’s been kept in the same condition it was in when he was there, though the floor probably slopes a whole lot more due to the random earthquake.

33It’s one of those places where there’s never a lack of things for your eye to gaze upon.  Great old pictures (you can see Mr. London just left of dead center)…..even a portrait of Dwight Eisenhower, of all things….



←….one of those old time ‘movie’ thingys …..

…..a drunk moose….he looks all blurry because he’s drunk….→


Stickers all over the walls….


←….a cool Bill….




…another incredibly cool Bill….→


I had a great time hanging out with Willy.  He’s just good people ~ smart, funny, good conversationalist and a damned good writer.  We just drank and talked and walked for hours.  Very nice time.


Back at Lin’s the next day, we went over to Jamie’s house to make tomato chutney.  Such a nice time.  Such wonderful company.






The ingredients….




….the chefs….






…..the chutney.



41Great people.  Great day.







Our handmade labels and the finished product.  I still haven’t opened my jar!  Gonna have to do that soon…..




←  Lin as Vanna……



…..Lin as….Lin ↓


45If only you could hear her laugh…..I can’t think of a better welcome back.

3 thoughts on “Back in the U.S.S……A.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s