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Award winning night shot of Chinatown.

I met Lars at his hostel and walked to the Italian neighborhood of North Beach to enjoy an Anchor Steam and some people watching. After showing off all my amazing Italian language skills (or butchering the few words I sort of know) we headed to China town for dinner. I insisted we find an authentic hole in the wall restaurant and not fall for some tourist trap. We had a hard time finding anything open, since it was Sunday evening, and we ended up settling for a place that was so so.

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Lars and Nate chillin on Van Ness. ( We couldn’t leave the 101)

The next afternoon I met up with Lars and Nate to hang out and say one last farewell. I had been saying goodbye to people for over a week now, but this one was officially the last since I was flying out of town the next day. We struck out again in the finding a good place to eat department. In a city with great restaurants everywhere you go, we’d now eaten meh Chinese food  and eh burgers. When you’re really hungry you’ll settle for whatever you can get at the time. I guess that’s how mediocre establishments remain open.

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A few days ago, when I was in SF for lunch, I got a message from an old co-worker of mine. He asked if I happened to be in San Fran or if I have an identical twin that also rides bicycles because he just saw him fly past. I let him know I was indeed in SF and we planned to meet for a beer. After a fun filled afternoon of walking, talking and joking, I wished Nate and Lars found farewell and walked over to California st. to head up the hill to meet my old co-worker. The first form of public transportation that came down the street was a cable car. Instead of waiting for the bus, I jumped on because I was running a little late and didn’t want to wait around. The cable car cost more than the bus and didn’t go all the way to where I was heading, but it was fun to play tourist and see all the excited people snapping pictures, laughing and having a good time. It made me remember my first time hanging onto the side of a cable-car back in the 90’s. I tried  to play it cool and act like it was no big deal even though I found the experience pretty thrilling. On the ride up the hill I sat inside the car to let the newbies get all the prime outside seats for their picture taking. People came and went. Some just riding for a few blocks. Hardly worth the $6 IMO. At one point this loud, obnoxious ( and probably a little drunk) guy got on with his wife. His big booming voice and a hearty laugh filled the car and annoyed me and a few other customers. A guy across the way asked him where he was from. I had a gut feeling and said, “I bet you’re from Texas”. He replied, “I’m from New York city!” then he laughed loudly and said “I’m just playin, I’m from Dallas”. ( I called that from a mile away!)  At the end of the line, I hopped off the car and walked up the hill towards my next meeting point. As I walked, I would look back to see if a bus was coming, but one never showed up. My cable-car gamble paid off!

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I made it to the Lion Bar ( or something like that) and met up with my buddy. We caught up, chatted about the “old days” and enjoyed a couple of beers. The bar we met at was a speak-easy disguised as a morgue during prohibition.

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Lonnie is a ballet dancer for the San Francisco Ballet. Click on the photo to read his bio.

After catching up, we headed out from the Lion and started walking home. We were both walking the same direction for a few blocks and during those few blocks we stumbled upon a corner joint that had its music thumping. Lonnie insisted that we go in and check it out. We went in and discovered a full blown dance party! We agreed to get one more beer and hangout with all the crazy late night Monday dancers. I did my best act cool white guy dance and Lonnie jumped up on the table and started stealing the show when Beyonce started singing “Single Ladies”  Lonnie will be forever remembered for his performance of “Single Ladies” in a Nutty Nutcracker show in Texas.

 

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San Francisco travel tip: Get a Clipper Card.  It’s the best way to get around the bay area. You load it up with $ and use it when riding the bus, ferry, BART and cable-cars. So much easier than dealing with cash and change.