6:50pm, local time
I am not feeling up to going clubbing -- especially since that would likely involve heading down to the Castro or out to Berkeley -- and I'm not sure what else one does on one's own in SF at 7pm on a Friday night after one has had dinner and wandered around to the limits of one's confidence in one's ability to make one's way home without poring over a map. (I had
a map, or several, I just wanted to work on developing a feel for the area.) I feel like I'm squandering my limited time here, but it's not like I'll never be back. (It's funny, I am all about doing stuff on my own, but more than scared by all the unmonied people-of-color, I was bored just walking around.)
I walked down Ellis into the Tenderloin, and on my right was the giant Hilton (conference headquarters), and on my left was "Adults * Books * Videos" and "Liquor Mini-Mart." I saw a lot of Money Marts with signs saying "Payday Loans * Checks Cashed * Western Union." Eventually it started getting kinda boring and I turned down Leavenworth to head back to Market Street. On the last cross street before United Nations Park, I saw a place where I could get a burrito, which was pretty much what I was in the mood for.
Tequila Castillo -- which is apparently a chain? 'cause I saw another one when I was returning on Market Street. I ordered a Vegetarian Burrito (as did almost everyone who came in after me; I was pleased) and got exactly what I wanted (much like the burritos I get at Qdoba) and they don't have guacamole but scoop avocado right into your burrito; yum. I ordered orange juice, and this woman actually put umpteen freshly-halved oranges into a juicer. Literally freshly-squeezed orange juice = OMG good.
These three women walked in at one point while I was sitting down eating, and I instantly coded them as queer. (Two had short spikey hair, the other had medium-short hair in a ponytail, looked like she probably played sports.) Sports!girl: "I can't hit people outside of bars! What if I got arrested? Then I couldn't be a lawyer." The bigger spikey-haired girl (with a North Face vest) told a story of a guy trying to start a fight with her -- they bumped into each other at a bar or a club or something and she was like, "Oh, sorry," and kept moving, but he like threw her against a wall and was all, "Hit me!" and she was thinking, "No way; I'll get my ass kicked." I was listening to their conversation (my table was like one over from where they were standing waiting in line to order) and she was facing me and she goes, "Yeah, you like that story, don't you?" and I kinda laughed and said, "Yeah, as soon as I saw you walk in I was like, 'Queer folk' I miss college...'" She didn't follow up on that any (like, "Where did you go to college?" or "So, you don't live around here do you?"), so after I finished my burrito (at which point they had all placed and gotten their orders and sat down at a table further back) I just headed out.
I checked out the park, and there were people with signs saying "Stop the U.S.-Israeli Genocide," and I sort of walked back the way they came, and there appeared to have been a vigil/rally/protest/something that had just ended across from City Hall (it was just about 6pm). There was an evergreen tree in front of City Hall with blue colored lights on it -- i.e., a Christmas tree. I was sort of uncomfortable. There were also lots of knobby interesting trees I can't identify, and some of the ones closest to City Hall also had lights on them. Huh, Googling just now allows me to offer you a picture
. (I took a picture myself, but I didn't think to bring the cable for my digital camera to upload stuff to the laptop.)
I walked up Van Ness a little and then I took a cross street and then I think Octavia back down and found myself on Market Street and decided that this was a good time to head back to the hotel. On my way, I passed a Gentleman's Club, umpteen Donut Worlds, and a vegetarian restaurant I'd seen listed in the City Guide I picked up free at the airport and had been considering eating at this weekend (Ananda Fuara).