June 2007


Headline in this morning’s Chronicle: “Hot Days Ahead – Temperature to Hit 75 in SF.” (That’s 24 degrees Celsius for the rest of the world). The text of the article included warnings to citizens to keep themselves well hydrated, to avoid over exertion and unnecessary exposure to the sun, and to seek shelter in the shade on the north sides of buildings.

But of course, who listens to suits anymore? I just went out on the Segway for some shopping. It must be 70 already, and the streets are swarming with folks wearing tee shirts, shorts, and smiles.

Went down to the Civic Center market and picked up some delicious cherries for $1.50/lb. as well as some very pricey okra, but it was too fresh and gorgeous to pass up. Also picked up some ‘Dolly’ plums to make some chutney, only after I bought them realizing that 1) I had sworn I was gonna take a break from cooking so I could get some writing done in the Amsterdam tales and 2) a scorching, merciless heat wave is not the best time to go heating the kitchen up and spending the afternoon stirring steaming cauldrons.

Oh, and I was holding out on you. The real reason I went to the market was that I had gone down to the gym to see if I could do a tiny little workout, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my muscle weakness I’d been whining about seems to be mostly in my legs. And as I was changing back into my street clothes, I realized that a perfect celebratory brunch would be a falafel in pita with crunchy veggies and sauce at this little stand at the market called The Art of the Falafel that has very good ones, right up there with De Bazar in Amsterdam.

On the way home I stopped to tell Sami (he’s my Palestinian friend who has a corner grocery at 19th and Noe who shares my passion for tennis and whose wife makes the best baba ghanoush I ever ate as well as very good hummus.). Am I a serious culi-freak or what? Telling Palestinians where to get falafel.

Here’s a doorway I like:

69 door

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I’m back from Amsterdam (see Amsterdam for Free) and am clear that there’s nothing like being away from town for a month to make me a thoroughgoing San Francisco chauvinist. Friday afternoon I went down to China Basin to get a CT scan, and it was quite an enjoyable excursion not only because of the weather – blue sky, warm sun, crisp summer breeze – but also because of all these taunt new buildings I’d never seen before. There’s some fine architecture in this city, a lot of it new and South of Market.

There is also great joy. As in handsome young med techs being genuinely kind to sick old men. In the holding pen, the old farts, dazed by such unaccustomed kindness from young folks, were inspired by nervous bravado into a frenzy of camaraderie and fine gallows humor…talking about making our friends and relatives nervous by asking ’em questions like, “you’re not using both of those kidneys, are you?”

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