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A Date in the Spirit of Adelsvard

Spent the day on a chaperoned date with scanner_darkly, touring various Adelsvardian sites around San Francisco. We had a delightful lunch at Straits, a restaurant I'd been wanting to try since I first arrived in the city (and discovered Yelp). The coffee beef ribs are a thing of wonderment -- they melt in your mouth and fill it with the flavours of coffee, seared beef fat and five spice powder. The satay is better than anything I've had on the streets of Malaysia, made by elderly gentlemen fanning sticks of meat over a charcoal grill. The only real disappointment was the char kway teow, but that's one of those noodle dishes that's nearly always hit and miss. They used Hong Kong-style kway teow, which isn't nearly as slick or springy as the stuff we get in Malaysia, and sweet chilli sauce, which adds a tang that doesn't feel right to my mind. There also weren't many things in the noodles -- large prawns, lots of fish cake, bean sprouts and sausage. But no eggs, or green veggies, not even spring onions.

We wandered downstairs and got distracted by the CocoaBella Chocolates store. The little eclairs with their shiny, metallic candy shells were indeed very, very shiny. Unfortunately, my mother was able to spot the flies literally resting on a couple of these eclairs, and that killed any appetite we could have had for them.

The husband drove us all to City Hall, so I could show my family where we got married. Both parents were suitably impressed. I love City Hall. It's a very soothing building to wander through. There's always a sort of reverent silence inside, and the large space feels airy, and very much alone. The first stop in our Adelsvardian tour developed this patina when my mother noticed, and explained, the surprisingly good Feng Shui elements lurking in City Hall's plaster ceiling. There are no depictions of fighting, or sharp weapons, on the ceilings of City Hall. There are shields, but no swords. The SF monogram prominently bordering everything resembles stylized, auspicious dollar signs. The swastikas are symbols of peace. Fountains and fruits are details of abundance.

We visited the Palace of Fine Arts, where Seth told me enchanting stories about Vampire LARPs and him in eyeliner, while my parents stopped every two inches and photographed everything. I loved the Palace of Fine Arts, which I'd never been to before. It's absolutely beautiful down by the pond, and the bird life is charming to spot. Lots of broody kingfishers hanging about in the trees, and suitably mysterious cranes hiding out in the deeper places. The ladies peering into the tubs up top were charming. We met a violently territorial duck. Mom told us the Chinese name for this duck is 'mud duck'. We're not sure what the English name for it might be, but it was the largest, meanest, and ugliest of the ducks. Mom also found more of those symbols that fascinated her in City Hall -- more swastikas used in the borders of carvings, and Oriental lotuses. We took advantage of my parents incessant picture-taking to visit the birds and be a chastely un-Victorian couple, which was very nice.

The final stop in this Adelsvardian fantasy was the Coit Tower, which involved going down that odd zig-zagging bit of road that probably stops cars from sliding straight downhill. At the Coit Tower, we got good giggles out of the sneaky book titles hidden in the murals. There was socialist name-dropping in the library one, and the naughty laws to be had in the mural about finance and banking. I suppose some of those laws weren't so much naughty as they were a bit blatantly truthful, but they were interesting to note. The murals in general, depicting the hard work and fruits of San Francisco's workers, were interesting, to use that word. They weren't inspiring, or for that matter, awe-inspiring, but they were a curious, if pointed, snapshot of their time. It fit into the day of Adelsvard-ly fun, at least to my mind, only because the hidden book titles, set in their motivational frescoes of grim working class determination, were whimsically, darkly amusing.

It has been a very long week and a half. I will perhaps need to write more, in smaller bites. Today was no less tiring, but I got a chance to appreciate more of my adopted city, and the dear spouse. There has also been a lot of corporal hugging for the cat, who is squeakier, twitchier and rounder than ever.


Aug. 20th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
You drove right by our apartment! :)

That curvy street is Lombard St and then you head straight up past 3 or 4 blocks of houses and on to Coit Tower. Our apartment is a block or so before it becomes more of a windy road. I love living on Telegraph Hill and walking up to the tower sometimes. We don't do it enough though. Though we used to walk up and down all the steps to Embarcadero twice for a work out. I love the parrots (conures) of Telegraph Hill. Most people don't notice them or know what to look for, but they're really noisy. I usually hear them before I see them. I hear them fly by pretty much every day and it makes me happy.

Anyway, sounds like you had a great time!
Aug. 21st, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
We did drive right past your apartment! Pointed it out and everything! :)

Didn't get to spot the parrots, but their calls are currently playing (along with other sounds of the city) under the dome of City Hall as part of a sound sculpture installed there. In all honesty, I've yet to spot any of the city's parrots in my entire time here thus far, and I quite want to. You do live in a pretty neighbourhood though, and the sounds of the parrots are definitely a thing of cheer! :)

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