Back from another SF trip

This time the flight out was better than the return. I had an empty seat next to me, we left on time, AND got in a whole hour early. Unheard of! The pilot said something about the winds being in our favor.

After I got to the apartment, we did what seems to now be our tradition: go to Grub Stake for a late dinner, then pick up pastries for breakfast from Bob’s Donuts. Yelp reviewers had raved about the apple fritters so we got a couple of those. Delicious! Like a cross between a donut and a danish with pieces of baked apple here and there.

Saturday we walked out to Haight-Ashbury, which was as expected: grubby and touristy. There was some cool graffiti but I wasn’t in the mood to take pics. I’ll have plenty of time do so when I’m all moved in. We walked around Golden Gate Park as well, where there was the BEST PLAYGROUND EVER. There was this ropy climbing thing that looked kinda dangerous (the best kind), little bouncy tea cups for toddlers, and a slide along the lines of Action Park. The kids all rode down on flattened cardboard boxes, and we wondered if the park had them lying around, or if the kids knew to bring them. I totally wanted to ride the slide and climb the ropy thing.

I might have mentioned this before, but what I’ve noticed about SF is that there are a lot of homeless people. A lot more than, at least, New York. I think it’s a combination of the mild weather and that there’s less walking traffic. People who aren’t homeless are more likely to be in cars, while in New York almost everyone walks.

There were tons of homeless in Golden Gate Park, a combination of older guys who look like they’ve been homeless for a long time, and scrubby kids with their dogs. I’m sorry but I have zero sympathy for the scrubby kids. If you can afford a purebred dog, tattoos, combat boots, and a leather jacket, no matter how dirty they are, you can afford a sandwich. You’re white, young, and articulate – work at the fucking Gap. Or go home to Mom and Dad in San Jose. In New York you see the kids only in the summer – they “summer” in New York, I guess you could say – but now I’ll get to enjoy them year round.

Saturday afternoon we just lazed around the apartment, then got dinner at Shalimar, this Indian/Pakistani place near our apartment. Like Bob’s Donuts, the place doesn’t have much of a décor, but the food was really good. We got chicken jalfrezi, chicken tandoori, daal, and nan, all for just $22. Everything was yummy.

That night we saw The Informant. Matt Damon was terrific. With some actors, you can’t get past who they are (eg, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston), but I kept forgetting it was Matt Damon and just thought it was this schlubby, dopey guy.

Again, no one talked during the movie! I could hardly believe it. We were probably the noisiest.

Flew back yesterday. The flight left on time, but I was very tired. I thought I had a whole row to myself, but at the last minute this couple with a 10-month old showed up. At first I thought, Great, but the baby was well-behaved. He got a little fussy but didn’t really cry and slept most of the time. When he was awake, he was pretty cute. After we landed and were waiting to deboard, I heard a farting noise, but thought it was someone shifting their luggage. Then the couple cracked up. “That smells so bad!” they kept saying. It was the baby. Luckily I didn’t smell anything.

I missed the AirTrain by seconds cuz this idiot went to the doors, then decided, No, I’m not going in, and got out of the way VERY SLOWLY. “Excuse me!” I said, and he turned around and was like, After you, as the doors were closing. Yeah, thanks asshole. I didn’t have to wait too long for the next one, but the J took a year to get there, and also to get home. But hey, five bucks beats $50.

~ ~ ~

Oh my God, I forgot to write about the nightmare I had with FedEx last week. I shipped MB four boxes over the course of four days. He was supposed to get the first one on Wednesday, but he hadn’t. There wasn’t even a door tag. I checked the tracking number, and it had been sent back to the FedEx station because “the resident wasn’t home.” Well, yeah, that was why I said “No Signature Required.”

I called and the guy said there was a note in the system that the courier didn’t feel it was safe to leave the box, ie, it would be gone by the time MB came home. I said, “Okay, what do you think I should do?” The guy suggested letting a neighbor or the super know about the box, but I said I didn’t know anyone in the building, and who knows who would be home in the middle of the day? Then the guy said just leave the door tag with a signature, and I explained that wouldn’t work since the door tag had been taken. Finally, the dude assured me that the courier would probably just ring buzzers till a neighbor came down and would sign for the box.

Well, that didn’t work, because later I saw that the box had been returned AGAIN. I called FedEx and was basically freaking out. I felt so frustrated because I didn’t know why the guy wouldn’t leave the box, aside from “the resident wasn’t home.” Plus there were three other boxes in the same situation. The poor FedEx woman made all the same suggestions again, and I almost lost it.


I asked about redirecting the boxes, and when she took the address, she kept spelling the street name back wrong. True, English was her second language, but maybe it shouldn’t have been. In the end I decided not to redirect since it would cost extra. She was in touch with the FedEx station a couple of times, and finally someone there suggested that perhaps the courier needed the code to get in the building. I was reluctant to give it out, but I didn’t know what else to do. The rep gave the code to the station, then at the end of the call I said, “What code did you give them? I just want to make sure you got it right.” Then she proceeded to read back the zip code to me.

My head almost exploded.

After asking my question twice more, she finally got it, found the message, and read back the right code.

I felt like I still had no guarantee that the boxes would be delivered, though I did feel better when I called back regarding the other three to give the code. The reps I talked to sounded much more like they knew what they were doing. They asked for my name and a contact number, in case anything came up, while that first woman didn’t ask for any information from me.

I was very relieved on Friday night to see that the boxes had arrived. Sheesh.

There’s one more that should be arriving today (fingers crossed) and one last shipment that I am sending to MB’s work place instead. Taking no chances.

Oh, and because I had such a bad experience with FedEx (and that’s a first, usually they’re great), I ended up lugging a suitcase full of books to the airport, instead of shipping them like I was planning. It wasn’t so bad, or at least it was bad for a very short time, like when I dropped my duffel bag and both suitcases in front of a JetBlue guy, who just stood there, not moving a muscle to help me. But soon enough the suitcases were checked, and when I got to SFO, I found a cart just hanging out, and so was able to use to without paying the $5.


  1. I noticed the same thing about homeless in NY vs SF. I chalk it up to Guiliani, whatever people say about him, he did that part right.
    You have to also try Pakwan (the chicken makanwala is excellent) or Naan n Curry (less good) but they are both cheapish and yummy. I miss that most about SF, the yummy Indian-pakistani food.

  2. i agree about giuliani. i went to college in pre-giuliani days and there were TONS of homeless in nyc. later when i came back in the late ’90s, they were all gone.

    thanks for the suggestions! we will check those out.