First of all, you always know when you come to San Francisco that you'll see things that might elude you elsewhere, but this one is spectacular even for the capital of Blue State America. This little guy is wearing a shirt that says "Don't pat me, I'm working." He's apparently an assistance animal but we were damned if we could figure out what he was assisting in doing... besides wheeling through Chinatown making friends.
This is the site of Dave Eggars' tutorial project 826 Valencia, now expanding to other cities. Author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, founder of McSweeney's publishing and The Believer magazine, he's built a place to effectively teach writing and communication to underserved kids. It's embarrassing to wander in, thinking oneself fairly cool for knowing to come here -- and to discover -- a gift shop! Clearly Eggars and his crew have built something very attractive -- and become a tourist attraction.
One block from 826 Valencia and across the street, this blast from the past -- windows jammed with anti-war and other political messages. This is not, of course, limited to San Francisco, especially these days, but it just seems so at home here.
Yesterday my husband announced that he had a surprise for me - and dragged me out of the hotel for breakfast. Next thing I knew, we were aboard a cable car for the first time since somewhere around 1971, right after we got married and came to Stanford for him to finish school. It was a great ride on a rainy morning.
And ended up here - at the famous Buena Vista Cafe. Famous as the place that invented Irish Coffee, across the street from the end of the cable car line and just above Fishermen's Wharf, it's a true landmark a place we used to love. It was so great to return and sit by the window watching this city's every-changing tourist scene. On this corner, it could still have been 1971 when we first came here. There's something lovely about a return like this especially when it's a gift. My sweet husband triumphant once again... 36 years after our first visit!
More pix soon. Goodnight for now.