Monday, May 14, 2007

Walkin with Loki

It’s tough to start writing a blog. I write all the time, but when I think of committing it to print, as it were ... or were not ... I figure it is either too cranky or too arcane or not what I want to be the first post on my blog. So something nice and not arcane and fundamental to what it is I do with myself these days when I have moment to relax.

The dog and I take a two plus hour walk every Sunday morning, somewhere in San Francisco ... we have many routes, but Fisherman’s Wharf/Embarcadero/North Beach is one of our favorites. The dog, Loki, is a 90 pound short-haired yeller mutt, rather more concerned than most dogs, but a great walker which is his main job in my life. We started at Fort Mason, amble though Fisherman’s Wharf, march along the Embarcadero, then over Telegraph Hill via Vallejo or Filbert, past the Trieste Café, along Columbus and back to Fort Mason via Bay Street. Various detours here and there.

Stopped for a crab sandwich at Fisherman’s Wharf ... I’ve lived in San Francisco for over 25 years, and this was my first crab sandwich at the wharf. It was cold! Normally I get a lox bagel at Katz’s Bagels on 16th and take it to wherever we walk ... or get one at Puccini’s on Columbus if we’re in North Beach and sit at the sidewalk tables and watch the turisti squeeze by. Think I’ll go back to the old route. The sandwich was okay but so what ... and the dog, strangely, wouldn’t eat the crab. He won’t eat shrimp either, so no surprise. Sat on a wharf and scarfed it down watching some fishermen put out for a day’s labors. Maybe next time I’ll get clam chowder.

Last couple of times I walked the Embarcadero there was some vast cruise ship docking, with crowds of the obscenely overfed gabbing on cell phones and pushing luggage, milling about. None this week ... just the usual rivulet of runners, coursing through scattered clustered families craning and straining.

Cut through Levi Plaza which has two very different but fabulous fountains. The big one on the main plaza can be traversed on stepping stones ... concrete blocks, really. The dog fell in one week ... my fault as I was more concerned with lining up a photo than preserving a few square feet of rock for his foothold. He looked at me with that combo look of surprise and disdain that dogs in their comfort of middle age can get. Shook it off and moved on.

Sometimes we climb the Filbert steps to Coit Tower, but I was lazy this time so we went up Vallejo which is not quite such a climb and has the advantage this time of year of all its many roses in bloom. Homeless older black guy, rather beatnik looking, taking the sun, didn’t return my hello. On the way down the other side I stopped at a sidewalk sale next to the Cafe Trieste run by an old North Beach looking lady who was harassing an old alkie who didn’t know what the L-train was. Funny. I asked her how much the little Eiffel Tower was; she said fifty centavos. “How about a buck”, and she took it. I told her I had been too embarrassed to buy one in Paris, and that got a good round laugh.

We did stop at Puccini’s for a macchiato and biscotto. I was battin my eyes at some long lean drink of water, but battin yer eyes at 54 does not have quite the electricity it had a few decades ago. I gather he didn’t notice. Still a nice sit and spin. Poor dog is never quite content with a pause.

And then we ambled back down Columbus to Bay. Found some kooky hidden gardens on Francisco Street. And took some fotos of the Hercule Poirot wavy building at 1111 Bay which they are, sadly, painting a faint hospital green.

And that’s a walk.

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