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Excerpts From a Travel Journal: San Francisco to Seattle, August 2007

08/29/2007

Flying
Flying

8/12/07

“This story begins in San Francisco. I’ve been here for the better part of three days, dining, drinking and exploring my way through the Bay City’s endlessly varied streets. I’ve climbed her mad hills, reveled in her thousand languages, walked pavement, beach and bridge until my legs cried for the mercy of a quick death…”

Hill.  No, really.
Hill. No, really: there’s a sign in case you didn’t notice.

City of Stairs
City of Stairs

Ant's Perspective
Ant’s Perspective

“…She makes it easy for me to love her. Wandering the streets of Chinatown, of North Beach, of the Haight and the Hills something simply feels right. I could settle here someday, if only for a little while.”

Just Chillin'
Just Chillin’

Booze Joint of the Beat Poets
Booze Joint of the Beat Poets: Conveniently Located Within Walking Distance

“…At night, I lay my head at the Pacific Tradewinds Hostel, to my everlasting joy. Hidden behing a door of blue bars and atop a wicked set of stairs, this current home of mine is as wonderful as it is unassuming. I am suited to hostel travel as I am suited to solitary travel… I am content here with new streets to walk each day and new friends to celebrate (read: drink) with each night.”

How to tell you're in North Beach: look at the poles.
How to tell you’re in North Beach.

Oh so tasty.
Oh so tasty.

“Yesterday I spent the morning galavanting about North Beach, the city’s Little Italy. The afternoon, I walked the shorline from the closed-for-renovations National Maritime Museum to the Golden Gate Bridge herself.”


“There’s something about the Golden Gate Bridge… The Golden Gate is not the tallest nor the longest, not the most costly nor the oldest. It has no particular distinction to its name (aside, perhaps, from most photographed), but doesn’t need such titles anyway- the Gate has a voodoo all of its own.”

Voodoo
Voodoo

Cables
Cables

Wind
Wind

“I cannot help feeling, when I gaze out over the Pacific, that I’ve found myself in the presence of an old lover, friend and confidant… It brings out the romantic in me… I am decidedly a realist as far as love, flowers and Prince Charming romance goes, but give me the open road and sea and I’m starcrossed like Hollywood tells us lovers should be.”

Looking Back
Looking Back

Foo Dog Does Not Approve
Foo Dog Does Not Approve

“The day before yesterday I wandered Chinatown for the morning… Chinatown leaves me giddy with its hectic, crowded chatter. Every spare surface there is jam-packed, be it with signs of ornate chinese, trinkets and gee-gaws and produce overflowing from tiny store fronts, or the mass of tourists and locals alike choking the sidewalks. Even the air is full, bristling with a dozen or more languages that flutter and screech like frantic birds.

I love it, of course.”

Chinatown
Chinatown

“The energy is freeing, as is the anonimity of being just another body in the ebb and flow of the masses.”

Ascention
Ascention

Houses of Awesome
Houses of Awesome

“The Haight, with Buena Vista and Golden Gate Parks tucked inside, made me dream of moving here, of picking out a life between the laid back bustle of small shops and bars and the brightly-painted, grandly styled, prohibitivly expensive Victorian houses that are so essentially San Francisco. The plethora of used and vintage clothing shops set me swearing never to buy new again… I picked up an utterly vintage hat in dark blue that I have thusforth dubbed my ‘traveling hat’. It requires much aplomb to carry off, but I think I’m up to the challenge.”

Washington Square
Washington Square

“I spent today re-walking some favorite streets and nearby squares and thinking with a melancholy sort of joy of my forthcoming departure… I sat in the sunset’s glow in Washington Square with a chocolate eclair in one hand and a book in the other. Such moments are my peace.”

BART: Picture Perfect Setting for the Zombie Apocalypse
BART: Picture Perfect Setting for the Zombie Apocalypse

Pigeon = Instant Physical Comedy
Pigeon = Instant Physical Comedy

“The evening finds me in Emeryville, awaiting the arrival of Amtrak’s 14 Coast Starlight. It is upon this winding silver behemouth, with traviling hat firmly on head, that I will travel the Pacific Coast and Cascades to Seattle…”

Conservatory of Flowers
Conservatory of Flowers

“My excitement for my continuing journey is tempered only by my bittersweet reluctance to leave behind… the eternal, intense, ever-shifting glory that is San Francisco. Alas, this is life, and indeed such partings are the stuff that makes living worthwhile.”

<img src="http://pics.livejournal.com/corvustristis/pic/00126wy0/s320x240" alt="
<3

“Look out, Seattle. Here I come.”

You're Welcome!
You’re Welcome!

Sailing
Sailing

8/13/2007

Seat 13
Seat 13

“My current home is seat thirteen on the top floor of an Amtrak coach car. Seat fourteen is empty, and thus I’ve extended my borders to include it. Mine is a humble domain, but with the Cascades flashing by outside my window I couldn’t be happier. Home is where I lay my head.”

A short break.
A short break.

The Observation Car
The Observation Car

“It’s funny- in thinking back over all my life’s various adventures I cannot pinpoint a single place where I haven’t felt at home. Situations and people have made me uncomfortable, yes, but never places. I’m not sure if that means that I am actually at home anywhere, or that (perhaps due to how frequently my family relocated) I simply do not know what “home” feels like.”

8/14/2007

Birthday Cake
Birthday Cake

“Why I love hostel travel: last night I arrived at Seattle’s Green Tortoise at 11:45 PM. I promptly showered and returned to the common room shortly after midnight. Instantly I was offered a seat and a beer and upon announching that today, August fourteenth, is my twenty-second birthday they all burst into a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”, pausing only to inquire as to my name. This was followed by a song dubbing me too beautiful to have been born and then many more beers. Life is grand.”

Home #3
Home #3

“Home number three on this trip (after Pacific Tradewinds and the Coast Starlight’s seat thirteen) is the top bunk closest to the window in room 201 of the Green Tortoise Hostel…”

“That’s the wonder of travel… you lose all the usual comforts and trappings, routines and monotonies of your daily life and in that sacrifice you find yourself.”

Note the Bird
Note the Bird

“Seattle is a very compact sort of city. The vast majority of everything sits within a handful of streets just off the water. After San Francisco, Seattle looks positively simple to walk.”

“Final thought of the day: happy birthday to me. Here’s to hoping twenty-two will mark an era of glories (and a lot more travel).”

Seattle: Where even the graffiti is ecologically conscious.
Seattle: Where even the graffiti is ecologically conscious.

8/15/07

Rigging
Rigging

“Yesterday I had the remarkable pleasure of walking the decks of the tallships Lady Washington (our Lady Love, a gorgeous brig of around one hundred and twelve feet, if memory serves) and her sister, the Hawaiian Chieftan (a slightly shorter square-rigged ketch). Both are currently docked in Lake Union at the Center for Wooden Boats. There’s something in the creaking wood and rigging, in the yars of canvas of a tallship that seems closer to the vastness of the ocean than modern steel and diesel.

Told you I’m sentimental when it comes to road and sea.”

Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftan
Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftan

8/16/07

“Why I love hostel travel, installment two: sitting up at one am on open mic night, singing along with a rather impressively bearded man who is belting out his accordian cover of Nine Inch Nail’s ‘Closer’. Trent Reznor redone via accordian is quite a thing to hear.”

“This morning a bunch of hostel budies and I went on my only tourist-type tour of the trip: the Underground tour. Soul-rendingly bad jokes and puns abounded, and I learned a) the Seattle underground is the perfect spot for the impending zombie apocalypse to begin and b) no one who made this city what it is had any idea whatsoever what they were doing. This seems to be pretty typical of the human condition, particularly as far as cities go. It’s a wonder we’ve gotten this far.

The human race in a nutshell: success not through forethought and planning but through sheer pig-headedness.”

Pioneer Square
Pioneer Square

All I can say is 'Huh.'
All I can say is ‘Huh.’

Ferry
Ferry

“I’m sitting now on the ferry Wenatchee bound (or soon to be bound- we’ve yet to begin moving) for Bainbridge Island, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply like boats. Even the ferry gives me a kind of child-like joy.”

I make an effort to leave a wake wherever I go.
I make an effort to leave a wake wherever I go.

8/17/07

Cloudcover
Cloudcover

“So here it is: a toast, to one adventure down and more (many more) to come.”

Martini Swords = Instant Awesome
Martini Swords = Instant Awesome

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