I swore I would write in the moment, I failed. At least I’m still in San Francisco as I write those lines. It’s been less emotional to leave than I thought. Maybe because it’s not the first time, or because there were less people to say goodbye to. Anyway, I left you on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Dolores Park.
I woke up in Alice’s living room and was already heading to Lake Merrit for brunch. Steak & eggs and bottomless mimosas later, we walked around the lake itself. Afterwards, we stopped at a milk tea place for boba.
Oakland was really enjoyable, but it was time to head back to the city. We walked through Chinatown to get Ashley’s late lunch. Then it was time for me to check in at my next hotel, which was a creepy hostel in the sketchy part of SoMa. I stayed there one night only ( which was convenient since it was 2 blocks away from F8)
That same night, I went back to basics: taking control of the visuals for the weekly Stamina Sunday. A night of quality drum & bass with Hybrid Minds (UK, Spearhead Records ) headlining. Sliced mapping and Lagunitas IPA, seeing the whole F8 and Stamina crew again was pure bliss. I could even wear the Stamina t-shirt Jamal gave me back in August. I could hang out with the artists and the crew after the night and headed back to the hostel for a short night. I left as soon as I could.
My next step was Pacific Tradewinds. If you read my first article back in April, that’s was the hostel I stayed at. I don’t know why I haven’t booked it in the first place. The whole staff changed but the feeling was the same. We had a delicious pre-thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday and an all you can eat crepes breakfast on the day I left.
Anyway, I checked in and then headed off to Berkeley to have lunch with my Texan friend Nathalie. Fancy sandwich, shopping, coffee from Phillz and IPA in the hills and nightly campus tour. It was so cool to feel like a local, but disappointing at the same time not to be amazed by everything like the first time. Even more disappointing since I forgot my camera. Nothing to show you then.
I came back in the late afternoon to the city to have dinner with my Shui Hua. I shouldn’t have picked that generic empty Asian restaurant a second time. It was just ok, but not really tasty. At least it was convenient.
Tuesday was city exploration day. I wanted to recreate the path of my very first days in SF back in April. That was the last day I could stop by the Wcities office, the company that made my first California experience complete. It was unexpectedly raining, and I was listening to this Porter Robinson track:
I stopped by Walgreens to get a gift bag, then had breakfast at the very first place I went to in the United States, back to Monday April 20th.
502 2nd street, I went straight upstairs and was warmly welcomed by my former coworkers. I brought them chocolate. We talked for a bit, asked what’s new on both sides. My desk in the pit was empty. I couldn’t stay long since I already had lunch plans.
I met Alice in front of the huge skyscraper she works at. It was her birthday ( which we celebrated on Saturday ). We went to the Ramen House. The line was worth waiting, it was delicious. I totally recommend the Tokyo style ramen. The place only opens on business days, as it’s aimed to Financial district workers.
Then, I did more street and building photography in the North Beach area. Later on, at sunset, I climbed to a park on Vallejo street close to Chinatown and Russian Hill. The view took my breath away.
That same night, we had a pre thanksgiving dinner at Pacific Tradewinds. Courtney ( the boss ) prepared a lot of delicious dishes in a typical American way ( turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, gravy and pumpkin pie). It was my first ever Thanksgiving meal. We had to say what we were thankful for. I said it was for the following : 24 year old, healthy, successful, happy and able to see magical places.
Because of Thanksgiving, I had to meet most of my friends before they had to go back to their families. As she promised, Karen took me out for lunch that day. We ate Mexican in the Financial, but not a taqueria for once as you can see:
Before that, I went on a solo (re)exploration. I walked on the Embarcadero,SoMa, financial.I finally had a breakfast burrito at Mexico au Parc ( soma/ South Park ). It was my favorite and most convenient eatery during my internship. I also took a bus to the Hayes Valley and the Fillmore, just to see this classic scenery once again.
During the afternoon, we did some “Pre-Black Friday” window shopping at the mall before we went to the Russian Hill heights with Ashley (2nd time for me) for some beautiful night shots.