Batkid saves SF. I love this city.

I am sure that you’ve already heard his story, but I want to tell you my version.

Miles Scott is a 5-year-old boy who defeated leukemia earlier this year. To celebrate his victory over cancer, the Make-A-Wish Foundation threw him the party of a lifetime. They staged a series of crimes and damsels in distress for him to rescue as Batkid. The mayor of San Francisco and the SFPD were involved and over 10,000 SF residents showed up to cheer him on.

from hollywoodreporter.com

from nydailynews.com

Several of my coworkers took half-day on Friday to go to Union Square and watch Batkid rescue a girl who was tied to the train tracks. I stayed at worked but followed the story on Twitter. After Union Square, he traveled in “The Batmobile” to AT&T Park and rescued Lou Seal from a villain. His last stop was a cheering crowd at City Hall where Mayor Ed Lee thanked Batkid and gave him a key to the city.

And, of course, #SFBatKid‘s day ended with a key to San Francisco and our hearts: pic.twitter.com/YcaFslJrAs #Nightline

— Nightline (@Nightline) November 16, 2013

from hollywoodreporter.com

My husband attended the ceremony at City Hall and he said that he was amazed by the crowd that showed up to support this kid. His exact quote was “giant mass of humanity”. My husband was moved by this little kid and his incredible story, and I know he wasn’t the only one. For one day, we as a city were united by this little boy and all rooting for him as one. I think that is the greatest thing that Batkid did… he saved SF for one day.

here i am, stressing about code reviews and deadlines, and here is this stream of BatKid pictures. silently weeping at my desk.

— Chad Etzel (@jazzychad) November 15, 2013

from hollywoodreporter.com

7 things I miss about Georgia

Because I write a blog about SF, I feel like I’m supposed to be mega in-love with this city all the time. But that’s not the case. There are times when the concrete wears on me, and the hustle and bustle gets me down. Today in particular, I’m feeling homesick, and I’ve got Georgia on my mind…

1. Seasons

When I lived in Georgia, summer seemed to last for ages. It would be so hot hot hot, for months. And October would arrive and it was still hot. And then one day, I’d walk out of the house and be like “Hmmm, I need a light jacket today”. That was my favorite day of the year! It was that desperately-awaited break from the heat.

San Francisco is known for its “great weather”. It is 65 degrees and mostly cloudy every. single. day. Jeans + sweater + scarf. Every. single. day. Check the weather in Jan, May, Aug, or Oct and it’s always 65 degrees and I’M SICK OF IT!

2. Georgia Tech Football

I avoid Facebook following the Homecoming game. If I sign on and see my friends wearing white and gold, marching down the hill, and cheering on the Jackets, it makes my heart ache. I watch all the games still, but it is nothing compared to seeing them play in Bobby Dodd Stadium. This past week was band camp, and I got so nostalgic seeing all of @GeorgiaTechBand‘s pictures.

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3. Cheap Rent

Ask anybody to name the thing they hate most about SF. They will say the rent, the rent, the rent. The fact that I have to pay $1800 per month for a 1BR 600-sqft apartment is ridiculous. But the worst part is that my rent is cheap compared to the city average! This place is surrounded by water on three sides, so there’s no more room for more apartments. That causes the supply/demand model to be completely broken.

I know people who live in Georgia and pay less than half what I do, and they have a ton of space and closets and a DISHWASHER!! Click here to see a map of San Francisco with the average rent for a 1BR apartment. 

4. Barbecue

If I describe my perfect day, it would include a backyard, a cold beer, and the smell of charcoal. I can’t think of anything better. I don’t get barbecue very often here in SF because (a) no one has a backyard, (b) it’s too cold, and (c) it’s not really that important. I have dreams about pulled pork with a side of baked beans. I love the feeling of sticky BBQ sauce all over my fingers and face. Mmmm, I really miss the taste of juicy, smokey, grilled-all-day pork!

pork sandwich at country’s barbecue, columbus ga

5. Swimming

How can I miss swimming when I live 3 miles from the ocean? I’ll tell you. The Pacific Ocean is like ice water and I wouldn’t even stick my toes in!

I grew up with a pool in the backyard, a lake house close by, and the beaches of Panama City just 4 hours away. I could swim while I was still in diapers, and I didn’t stop until I moved away. I have so many fond memories of the summers I spent at Lake Martin… skiing, lounging in the sun, and eating fresh picked blueberries. Some of you are probably sitting by the pool, with your toes in the water, reading this blog on your ipad right now!

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lake martin alabama. photo was taken by my mamma.

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6. Spanish Moss 

I was in Georgia this past June, at Sea Island. One afternoon I took a bike ride down a street that was canopied in oak trees and spanish moss. It was so peaceful and calming, and filled my heart with joy… I felt like I was home. The old oak trees remind me of a simpler time… you know, the era of “sitting on the porch and drinking sweet tea” that they sing about on country radio. On top of all that, spanish moss always makes me think of Savannah, which is one of my favorite cities in the world.

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7. My Family

The only reason why I love Georgia so much, is because my family is there. My family has had celebrations and tragedies this year. I’ve tried to be there as much as possible, but I’ve also missed a lot! The little things like birthdays, and game nights. I spend a lot of time pondering the pros and cons of living in SF. I love this city, but today the fact that I’m missing my family is outweighing the good.  At the end of the day, it’s not the city where you live but the people you’re with that matters most.

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Afraid of the Farmers Market

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My name is Kim Etzel, and I am afraid of the farmers market.

It’s unfamiliar. Outside my comfort zone. It makes me anxious.

I feel like I’m supposed to shop at the market because everyone else in town shops there. And I feel left out. I’ve been doing research lately on the importance of buying local produce (which I’d be happy to go into some other time). Plus I have this feeling that seeing all the beautiful fruits and veggie laid out on the tables will get me more excited to eat healthy.

Several times I have asked knowledgable friends to go with me, but they laugh and say “what’s the big deal?” No one laughs at a fear of the dentist, or the gym, or the shady gas station. But apparently market phobia is funny.

Now for today’s entertainment, I give you The Top 10 Reasons why I am afraid of the farmers market:

10. I’d have to get cash.

9. I’d have to bring my own bag. 

8. I’d have to peel my own carrots.
Seriously. I think my peeler is in the closet with the tortilla maker and the coffee grinder.

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7. I am afraid of looking stupid.
This is a fear in all aspects of my life, but specifically when I’m in a new situation.

6. I am afraid of bartering.
I was in Mexico a few years ago and I had to barter with the merchant for a bag I liked. I was so timid that I probably overpaid for the souvenir.

5. I am afraid of socializing. 
People go to the market to see their friends and I’m like GTFO of my way.

4. What if the farmer doesn’t speak English?

3. What if I buy too much and it spoils before I have a chance to use it?

2. What if I buy something and it tastes bad?

and the number one reason I am a scaredy cat is….

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1. I am afraid of turning into a hippie. 

Well this story has a happy ending, folks! Today was a beautiful day and I decided to bite the bullet and face my fear at the Castro Farmers Market. First steps: I got a reusable bag from home and I went to the ATM. Okay that wasn’t so bad.

Then, I walked to the market. Easy peasy (and the added bonus of exercise)!

Next, I bought a lemonade, found a bench, and just watched for a minute. I saw people talking to the farmers and cashiers and asking questions. “What is this?” “How to I prepare that?” I watched them find the secret stash of plastic containers to fill with little tomatoes or blackberries. This all made my confidence grow.

I got up and walked down the passageway. A man pushed a slice of peach on a stick in my face and said “Free sample?”. Yes please! I munched on a juicy peach and decided I was kinda having fun. Then I ate a free sample of fig, and a sample of apricot.

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I walked into a tent and recognized several of the vegetables on the counter. Celery, broccoli, green beans… (oh my!). These things are comfortable to me. I reached under the table and got a little plastic container like I saw people doing before. I filled it with green beans and weighed it. One half pound! Just the right amount.

I took my beans and also some broccoli to the cashier. He weighed them and said “three dollars”. No haggling. No gimmicks. Just $3. What a huge relief! At this point I felt pretty proud of myself. I bought some tiny tomatoes from a vendor on the corner. And I got carrots and peppers from the stand next to the crazy guitar singer.

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I am very pleased with my adventure to the Castro Farmers Market today! It wasn’t so scary after all. And look! I got all this for only $7.75! (and those red and yellow tomatoes are little bites of heaven). Maybe these California hippies have the right idea.

The Castro Farmer’s Market is open Wednesdays, during Mar – Dec, from 4-8pm. It sets up at the corner of Market and Noe St. http://www.pcfma.com/market_home.php?market_id=64 

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Here’s are several sites that list of all the farmer’s markets in town. I bet you can find one that’s close to home, and fits into your schedule.

http://sf.funcheap.com/city-guide/funcheaps-guide-farmers-markets/

http://togetherinfood.wordpress.com/s-f-farmers-markets-the-full-list/

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/top-lists/best-farmers-markets-by-county/ 

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Pix of Our Apartment II

I posted pictures of our apartment in March of 2011, and I did not like this apartment back then. I spent the last year and a half adding furniture, art, throw pillow, and other homey touches. I guess I could say decorating is kind of a hobby for me. I really enjoyed it. So now I can say that I am happy with my place. It’s small, but it’s home!

Check out the before pictures here!

Photo Dec 13, 8 45 46 PM Photo Dec 13, 8 46 24 PM

 

I hope IKEA is enjoying all the free advertising.

Photo Dec 13, 8 46 31 PM Photo Dec 13, 8 47 33 PM

Oh, the Mountain Dew tree. a.k.a. the only interesting thing I’ve ever done..

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The bathroom looks the same. I just added candles and whatnot.

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I love throw pillows on the bed! It makes me makes me want to jump in!

I hung a shoe organizer on the closet door in the hallway. I store all my toiletries in it because there’s no room in the bathroom (or in the closet, for that matter).

Photo Dec 13, 8 51 50 PM Photo Dec 13, 8 53 42 PM

My 100th Post!!

100 episodes! Yay, that means I can go into syndication! I started this blog over two years ago and I can’t believe I’ve kept it going. I’m so thankful to live in such an awesome city that provides me endless inspiration to write. Since it’s been 100 articles, I thought it was time for a facelift. Whaddyathink? I like the new direction that the blog is going and I think this new layout gives it a fresh vibe.

So now, for my 100th post, I presenting
my 100 favorite things I’ve experienced in San Francisco.

100 . the view from coit tower
99 . hiking at sutro baths
98 . chinese new year parade
97 . tree lighting at union square
96 . watching GT football at the blue light

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95 . crepes at the crepevine
94 . hiding after the giants won in 2010
93 . movies at the metreon
92 . tanker ships
91 . bay bridge at night
90 . skyline at night
89 . shopping at pier 39
88 . the arrow at the end of folsom

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87 . the rocket at the ferry building
86 . farmers market at the ferry building
85 . alemany farmers market
84 . driving over the golden gate bridge
83 . the view from twin peaks
82 . running by willie mayes statue
81 . ice cream at mitchells
80 . christmas decorations at the airport
79 . the fountain at the civic center
78 . crème brule from a food truck

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77 . anchor steam beer
76 . burgers at barneys
75 . chocolate sundaes at the ghiradelli shop
74 . riding the bus
73 . street musicians in chinatown
72 . fog like I have never seen before
71 . the botanical gardens at golden ate park
70 . the architecture in the haight

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69 . st peter and pauls cathedral
68 . ice cream at bi-rite creamery
67 . ramen noodles at katana-ya
66 . naked people
65 . crazy costumes at halloween
64 . the madhouse that is bay to breakers
63 . musicians in the subway station
62 . the exploratorium
61 . volunteering at city impact
60 . dim sum at yank sing
59 . the palace of fine arts

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58 . flash mobs
57 . bubble tea
56 . aids awareness on twin peaks
55 . trash, recycle, and compost
54 . bicycles. Everywhere.
53 . doggy drinking fountains
52 . the rants of homeless people
51 . the flowers on lombard street
50 . walking up the hill to my house

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49 . all the cute shops on chestnut st in the marina
48 . the plants in shoes at alamo square
47 . gawking at the giant houses in the inner sunset
46 . my view of the city on my daily commute
45 . the water truck on halloween night
44 . hosting my family for thanksgiving
43 . my “stay”cation at fishermans wharf

cheers!

cheers!

42 . deep dish pizza at patxis
41 . carrying groceries on the bus
40 . dinner at bobos
39 . flying into SFO over water
38 . voting in a blue state
37 . cheap souviners in chinatown
36 . the view from crissy fields
35 . the painted houses in the sunset

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34 . dogs in the window of macys
33 . the crowds at dolores park on a sunny day
32 . the sunset
31 . ballgames at at&t park
30 . dungeness crab
29 . building yoda out of legos

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28 . brunch
27 . clams on a pizza
26 . watching the progress on the new bay bridge

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25 . hiking at muir woods
24 . the drive-in movie
23 . burritos at taquiera cancun
22 . pizza at marcellos
21 . no air conditioning
20 . coffee from blue bottle
19 . sing-along sound of music at castro theater

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18 . bad movie night at the dark room
17 . fish tacos at tres agaves
16 . the view from fort point
15 . running a 5K at golden gate park
14 . sandwiches at ikes place
13 . seeing the family crest live
12 . meeting banana sam at the zoo
11 . watching the blue angels from a rooftop

Photo May 28, 13 18 58

10 . golden gate 75th anniversary party
9 . eating a picnic in alamo square park
8 . hitchcock’s vertigo at the castro theater
7 . the architectural majesty that is grace cathedral
6 . attending epic church
5 . christmas at union square
4 . lunch at the cliff house
3 . noe valley harvest festival
2 . hearing the symphony at the stern grove festival
1 . partying with giants fans after the 2012 victory!

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Well played, Metreon

In 2010, I told you about a movie theater/entertainment venue in SF called the Metreon. Back then, it was pretty sad, and I said that it was “not what it used to be”.

Two years later, I am happy to report that the Metreon has gotten a facelift, and they are looking mighty spiffy!

The biggest change is, of course,  the addition of the new Target. This is a big deal because previously you had to drive across the bay to get to the closest one, which included a lovely $5 toll. Now, we have a Target in town with no toll! Yes, it’s a regular Target, and actually it’s smaller than most, but it’s new and shiny and we’re all giddy with excitement.

image courtesy of the SF Chronicle

The Metreon makeover also includes new shops along the street, where previously there was just a wall, a new Starbucks, a more cohesive connection to Yerba Beuna Gardens, and several new restaurants in the downstairs “Dining Terrace”.

Last night, my man and I went to the Metreon to see Wreck-It Ralph (a must-see, btw) and got to try out the eateries. My review of the “Dining Terrace” is very positive. It’s a food court with 10-12 food options and a giant combined seating area. But it’s all so modern and hip and… well… “green”! If you are craving greasy, asian hodgepodge, you’re out of luck! If you want hot dogs on a spinner or pretzels in a warmer, forget it! All of the food is healthy, made-to-order, and oozes with the San Francisco M.O.

image courtesy of San Francisco Sentinel

I am very happy that the Metreon is cool again. Two years ago it was really sad and had the depressing reputation of a ghost town. But now it’s hip and attractive again, and brings much-needed life to the neighborhood! You can get more info at www.metreon.com.

I read an article that made me angry

I just read an article on Cracked.com that made me angry. It was titled “5 Reasons Why San Francisco is the Worst Awesome City in America”. I am not sure if the author was exaggerating or not, but either way, I feel the need to defend my city. I want my readers to know that, yes SF has it’s flaws, but it is also a beautiful city and worthy of a visit!

You can read the full article here. Warning: this article contains bad language and it will hog a lot of your computer’s CPU. http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-reasons-san-francisco-worst-awesome-city-in-america/

#5. Filth. 

The author of this article says there are homeless people everywhere, the whole city smells like urine, and people defecate wherever they want. Ok yes, we do have a large population of homeless, but I think they are flocking to the city because there are so many opportunities to get help. I personally support an organization called City Impact. This group provides meals, clothing, job training, and healthcare, to people in need. I know it’s hard to show compassion to the homeless, but I try to remember that they are human beings, and they deserve kindness and respect just like everyone else.

As for the smell, I am not going to lie to you. There are parts of the city that smell like urine. The area down by the ballpark/caltrain, in particular, has a pretty strong bouquet. But my neighborhood doesn’t smell, and there are several other areas that don’t smell either.

#4. Misguided Community Support.

In this section, the author describes a protest that took place on BART last year. The short version is, a man was killed by police, and the public disagreed, so they protested. This guy says the protest was bad because it shut down public transportation during rush hour. My opinion is: (a) people have the right to prostest, and (b) people have the right to prostest.

I wrote in an article a while ago saying that I actually admire SF’s activism. I gave the specific example of the AIDS awareness banner on Twin Peaks. It seems to me that the people of SF are constantly trying to make improvements, and I think it’s a pro not a con.

from sfgate.com

 

from SFgate.com

 

#3. Anarchy. 

The night the Giants won the world series, the city was in complete chaos. It was not our finest hour. And I’ll admit that our police force it short-staffed. But I don’t want you to think that this is Syria or Pakistan. Most of the time, there is nothing going on. The streets are calm and the neighborhoods are quiet. You can get to work without a problem. You are safe to walk around the streets.

#2. Indecent Exposure. (the author used a different word here.)

I live near the Castro. It is one of my favorite neighborhoods, mostly because of its famous theater. And I see naked people all. the. time. It was very shocking at first, but eventually I got used to it. I want you to understand that these people walk around without any clothes to get a reaction out of you. So you just have to  act like it’s no big deal. If you are offended by an extreme display of human flesh, just try to avoid the Castro, and DO NOT attend the Bay to Breakers. That’s all.

#1. Access to Horrifying Food.

LOL wut. San Francisco is famous for it’s food!! This guy talks about a restaurant in the city that serves a doughnut hamburger. That sounds amazing to me and I will write about it next week. Nuff said!

Dinner and a movie just got more interesting.

New weekly tradition: begin immediately!
My husband and I found our new favorite Sunday night activity. It’s dinner and a movie, but with a twist!

First,  we went to dinner at Taquiera Cancun, the home of the Bay Guardian’s Best Burrito. I got the regular burrito, and he ordered the Burrito Mojado. For those of you who don’t hablo español, mojada means wet. And it was definitely…. um, wet. We were both sitting there chowing scarfing down our food, when I looked at him and said “I think this is the best burrito I’ve ever had!” He agreed! I don’t know how to describe the awesomeness that I tasted that night, but it was some sort of cosmic union of crunchy, soft, spicy, creamy, and drippy! Muy delicioso!

burrito mojado

Burrito Mojado = wet burrito!

After dinner, we went to a movie at the Dark Room Theater. But this wasn’t one of your typical summer blockbusters; Sunday night was Bad Movie Night. That means they showed a really terrible movie and the hosts added their own commentary. Yes, it was just like Mystery Science Theater, except it wasn’t rated PG, and it was live! We watched Angel Heart starring Mickey Rourke, which is an absolutely terrible movie, but the extra dialogue they added made it hilarious!! This is truly a San Francisco gem!

The Dark Room is located on Mission St, between 18th and 19th. They show bad movies every Sunday night at 8pm for $6.99. http://darkroomsf.com. Taquiera Cancun is across the street. They are open till 1am or later and FYI, they don’t take credit cards. Visit them on Yelp. You can probably tell from these pictures, that these two spots are not in the best part of town. I suggest you walk with a buddy, but don’t let the neighborhood keep you from this unique and wonderful experience.

Thanks as always for reading!

Houses of Worship

Holy Virgin Cathedral

I am obsessed with church architecture. My faithful readers probably already know that. But I haven’t shown any recently. Well, I’m gonna make up for it now. I went out today to photograph seven historic churches in San Francisco.

Saint Ignatius Church

Going out to photograph landmarks all over the city is difficult. I normally take the bus around town, but today I drove since I had great distances to cover. This means that I parked illegally everywhere I went, cab drivers yelled at me, and I got stuck in Giants traffic. But it was all worth it to show you these amazing feats of architecture.

Saint Dominic's Church

Ever since I saw Vertigo, I have made a point to see other movies and tv shows that are filmed here. This church, Saints Peter and Paul, was featured in the movie Dirty Harry. Remember the scene where Harry and the other guy are waiting for the Scorpio Killer because they think his next victim will be a catholic priest?

Saint Peter and Paul's Church

I was reading about all the cathedrals I visited and found out that several of them were damaged in the earthquake of 1906. Most of these churches were built in the 1800′s when San Francisco was still growing. The churches that were damaged in 1906 include Saint Dominic’s and Saint Ignatius. Both churches were restored. But then when the second major earthquake hit in 1989, several of these buildings were determined to be seismically unstable.

Trinity Episcopal Church

Most of the time, when a religious facility is found to be unstable, the congregation raises money to fix it and make it “earthquake-proof”. Saint Dominic’s now has flying buttresses to keep it stable. But one church was not so lucky. Saint Joseph’s members could not raise the money to restore the church so the building was condemned. It now stands empty, run down, and ugly.

Saint Joseph's

Then three years ago, someone bought the church with the intention of fixing it up and turning it into office buildings. The owner promises that he’s going to keep it looking like a church on the outside so we can all enjoy it, but I’m still a little sad about this fate. I want him to fix it up and restore it as a church. But on the other hand, it would be awfully cool to work there! Here’s a link to the full article in the SF Chronicle.

Saint Patrick's

So I hope you enjoyed this religious tour of San Francisco. I certainly did!

Holy Virgin Cathedral. 27th and Geary Blvd. www.sfsobor.com
Saint Ignatius Church. On USF campus at Parker and Bush. http://stignatiussf.org
Saint Dominic’s Church. Bush and Filmore.  www.stdominics.org
Saints Peter and Paul. Filbert and Powell.  www.stspeterpaul.san-francisco.ca.us
Trinity Episcopal Church. Bush and Gough. http://sftrinityepiscopalchurch.wordpress.com
Saint Joseph’s. 10th and Howard. www.noehill.com/sf/landmarks/sf120.asp
Saint Patrick’s. 4th and Mission. http://www.stpatricksf.org 

Here Comes the Sun!

San Francisco has exactly five warm days each year. One of them was Friday, and I wasted it at the office. But yesterday, whoa baby, the sun was out in full force, and I had a whole 14 hours to enjoy it! I dug around in the bottom of my closet until I found my flip flops, then I ventured out to discover what the natives do when the weather turns warm. I got two very clear answers….

A. They go to the park.

I started my quest at Mission Dolores Park, right in the middle of the Mission District. Even though there are hundreds of parks in the city, this is where all the cool kids go. And they were all there on Saturday. The park was so crowded, there was a line at the ice cream cart, a line at the bathroom, and not one square inch of grass left unclaimed.

one nutty buddy please

People wore shorts and bathing suits, lathered on the sun block, and lounged on blankets reading, sun bathing, drinking, and generally hanging out. It was neat to see such a large group of people focused on relaxation. And I could tell that these people were soaking up every moment as if they didn’t know when they’d see the sun again.

someone set up a tightrope and let everyone try their skills

B. They go to the beach.

look at the crowd!

Next, I went to Ocean Beach. I have visited and documented this beach before, but never like this. Hundreds of people as far as the eye could see. There at 800,000 people in SF and I feel like 400K of them were at the park, and the other 400K were at the beach.

two boys went swimming in their clothes

I saw dogs chasing balls, kids building sand castles, and families enjoying a picnic. There were even a few brave souls who got in the water. I took my shoes off and dipped my toes in for a moment, but it was too cold for me! I couldn’t believe that no one seemed annoyed by the crowd. It was like they all understood the necessity of the moment, and let each other enjoy the sun in peace.

After my wonderful afternoon in the sun, I went to the mall to get myself a new phone. The people at the AT&T store were so happy to see a customer that they practically attacked me. I really felt bad for them having to work on that beautiful day, and miss out on all the fun!

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