We drove out of the mountains and back into the dry Valley of California. Wow, is it dry here! It isn't desert, just brown grass. It is really flat, like a sticking Kansas in between the mountains. Irrigation is everywhere to make the place the fruit and veggie basket of America.
A word about the California highway system. They take great pains to improve the scenery by planting flowering bushes along the roadway. It does look really nice - Lady Bird Johnson would be proud (Google her).
We drove over 200 miles to get to San Francisco. It costs $4 to enter the city over the Bay Bridge, not a bad deal compared to entering New York, or Maryland's Eastern Shore for that matter. Driving here is a bit like driving in New York. We found the hotel but apparently parked in the wrong garage, a $16 mistake. We are staying in Hotel Union Station. It describes itself as a boutique hotel, whatever that means. It has an interesting layout, very old fashioned. The room is large compared to our usual room, about 50% larger. They serve coffee and tea in the morning and have a wine reception between five and six p.m. Holiday Inn Express it ain't.
We walked to Chinatown to have a look at what is advertised as the largest Chinatown outside of Asia. We ate a good Chinese meal, not at all like the stuff we consumed in Colorado (I really liked Colorado but don't recommend it for Chinese food - I'm sure this comes a a great shock). We bought some sweatshirts because it's cold and windy here. I was reminded of Mark Twain's quote, "The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer I was in San Francisco." Oddly enough, the San Francisco sweatshirts we bought in Chinatown were made in Vietnam.
In one shop we looked in I saw some Mao hats with the little red star on them. This sort of thing amazes me. The guy kills twenty million or so of his own people and just over thirty years after his death people in America are buying hats like he wore with his likeness on the advertisement. It makes me think of the restaurant I saw a few years ago in Virginia, Pancho Villa's. In 1916 the Mexican bandit Pancho Villa raided some towns in the USA and killed a number of Americans. Now people in America name restaurants after him. Will somebody open a chain of Bin Ladin Burgers in fifty years? Crazy.
We then headed back to our boutique hotel, but not before stopping at a four story Borders Bookstore and buying lots of books. I bought a David Sedaris book, which I thought was an appropriate purchase in San Francisco. Beverly got A Shadow of the Wind, Blair and Molly got a book about graffiti, and Brooke got several Judy Blume Fudge books. Now we are sitting here reading quietly, anticipating a big day tomorrow.