Give me a penny, I need a new face.

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
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31
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Trip End Aug 15, 2010


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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, August 6, 2010

There are a lot of beggars in San Francisco. It is a mistake to make eye contact or smile at someone cos you get asked for money - one guy actually asked me for a penny and said he needed a new face! When I was in LA I was told that homeless people often come into the big cities during summer because of the tourists and it is certainly the case here.
This morning I went to the University of California San Diego to catch up with Dulce, a friend I have not seen for 15 years. We were both on the JET program in Japan (it seems to be a bit of a Japan reunion for me this trip as I met Irene and Yukari in Japan as well!) and hung out in Kobe a lot and travelled together. It was great to reconnect with an old friend but it was a shame we only had a couple of hours. However, it was better than nothing.
At the corner of the exit from the highway on the way to the uni there was a beggar which I thought was an interesting place to be as it is out of town. However, I was later told that La Jolla (the suburb where the uni is) is pretty up market so perhaps that is why he thought it would be a good place to stop. A number of guys hold signs saying homeless veteran or disabled veteran - one old man had a bike with a large and small trailer attached which were packed full of stuff. On our way back to the hotel tonight we decided to walk on the road because the footpath was obviously the local homeless 'town'. It was outside the naval headquarters which looks as though it has cars permanently parked on the street so perhaps it was a warm place to be. Even though the afternoons are warming up, as soon as the sun goes down it gets quite chilly. I was told today that this is the coldest summer in over a century - trust us to be here at this time!
After catching up with Dulce I returned to the city and got a little lost in the maze of one way streets so instead of taking me 20 minutes it took about 45. We are quite close to the airport so I should have taken that exit but missed it and thought (wrongly) the next one would be OK. The planes come in quite low so when you are driving they appear to be only just above the cars - it is a bit disconcerting. I had arranged to meet Irene in the GasLamp Quarter which was a bit of a disappointment as I expected it to be a bit similar to Old Town with some history etc that we could read. It was full of shops and bars. We spent an hour in a shoe shop trying on all the shoes on special - I felt really bad that I did not buy anything but at least Irene did. 
We wanted to go on the Midway (aircraft carrier museum) but all the shoe 'shopping' took up too much time so when we got there we would have only had about 1 1/2 hours and they reckon it takes at least 2 1/2. We have bought the tickets so will be there ASAP tomorrow - Irene has never been on a warship. There is a nice little park there with sculptures celebrating the contribution of people during WWII.
I had another gin and tonic (that is 3 in 3 weeks now - I do miss UDLs) at a place called the Fish Market which overlooks the water and actually sells fresh fish as well as being a tapas bar and restaurant and then we had greek food for dinner. It was rather nice to eat early and then walk it off - Seaport Village is a mix of eateries and interesting shops. There were two buskers - a magician and a guy who balanced rocks. I guess I should have taken a photo to explain it but he just put rocks on top of each other, mainly on their ends and then another to counterbalance. People actually gave the rock balancer money but I did not see anyone give any to the magician!
We went into a kite shop that basically just sold wind spinners to hang on verandahs but it also had mini parachutes and boomerangs made in Canada. The kites were over $300. There was also a very expensive shop that sold interesting sculptures, paintings and glassware. Look up www.jacarte.com for some very intricate handpainted glass. They drill a hole into the glass and use a very fine paintbrush to get the design. Its rather gorgeous stuff. Most of the pieces that I liked in the shop was in the thousands of dollars so I decided to give it a miss!
While having a drink at the Fish Market we saw a man with a hat that had fake fur on the top - I thought that he was trying to keep his bald head warm. Anyway we found a hat shop and it had those hats there. You could buy joke hats, fez, fascinators, berets, hats for the races, golf, rain, sun etc. It was my sort of shop. I found a pair of sun glasses that were golf balls (the centre was the sun glass) and the arms were golf clubs. I tried them on with a glittery US hat so Irene took a photo. My camera won't read her camera card and she did not bring the cable to download onto a computer so you can't get to see that one - sorry. Not!
To celebrate our being in town there were fireworks. I am not sure who did it but thank them all the same. It is nice to be appreciated!!
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Comments

Irene Iliadis on

But Kate.....YOU FORGOT the most impressive hat of all.....the condom hat!!!!!

Mother on

Love reading and seeing all the pictures, shame about the hats, I would have liked to see those.

Lorraine Flanegan on

Sounds like good fun all round, so pleased you are having a good time,
see you soon xox

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