I have been trying to write. Gather and sort my thoughts. Pan for a bit of gold. But for the last four days I have been consumed with finding a place to stay. The clock was ticking on my current apartment, the time I’d booked there at an end. I didn’t want to fly back though, to the cold and grey UK dasy. I wanted to stay, to linger a little more. San Francisco pulls me in every time. Everytime I visit here, I always want more.
The current plot to my life is seemingly to be, running around hither and thither, to come to a halt at the end of the day, exhausted with nothing much achieved. Scraps. I am gathering scraps. Not as in leftovers but as in small pieces. A conversation, an idea, a new flavour, an international postage stamp to carry news to a friend, and more than a scrap of sun. The yearning to stay is so strong. I’ve not gathered enough scraps yet, so I HAVE to stay. Honestly, all there is to it is that I want to live here. For an extended period of time. Have weeks or months stretching out in front of me, their end so far away I cannot see them. Even now as I write this the clock is ticking. The cafe is filled with the sounds of cleaning barista stations and hands agitating dish soap water, tidying for close up time. It is not long enough. I need more time.
The cafe is called Haus. It’s in the 24th St. in the belly of the Mission District. It is a long street. At one end..a mile and a steep gradient away is Noe Valley. Clean sidewalks. Middle class families and trendy restaurants. This end. The end I find so fascinating, has a Latino grocery on every block. Vivid murals cover sides of buildings and alley ways, depict farming people. Religious icons. Semi naked girls with big thighs and Latino heroes I do not know. The sidewalks have graffiti on them, metal bars lattice store windows. Spanish is spoken as much as it is written on shop signs. Quesedillas, empanadas and taco cafes are plentiful, they line each side of the street like paper chains. I love wandering around the stores, looking at food products I’ve never heard of. Exotic vegetables and edible cacti. There are drink powders made out of purple corn and ground pumpkin seeds. Shrivelled chilies massed in scoup bins, with wonderful titles that roll the tongue and fire your mouth! The Latino music, with its catchy beat and guitars strummed at a such a pace, makes me move involuntarily. My hips rock. I shimmy discreetly around the aisles and linger for longer than is necessary. The Latinos fascinate me. I feel a barrier between me and them. It frustrates me. I wish I knew how to converse in Spanish. The smile so brightly and laugh so loud. That in itself is not isolated in San Francisco. The City itself bears witness to neighbours who look out for each other. Cafes that fill with gathering groups of friends and a restaurant for every day of the year, nearly always full with friends. I’m curious about them all.
Each visit is different. This time I bought a bike.
I did ride through the Golden Gate Park, spotted a herd of hairy bison. Momentarily, pontificated at the man-made waterfall and took the road to the ocean. .