June 8, 2006
Slept in. Felt good. We took off at about nine and hiked up the stairs behind the place where we're staying, and ended up at Coit Tower. Named for Lillie Coit, an orphan saved by firemen in an 1800s hotel fire. She became their mascot and had her own badge and uniform. Followed the fires. When she died at age 86, the city's fireman turned out en masse. She was cremated wearing the gold badge of Company No. 5 and she left $100,000 for the construction of the tower.
From there we walked down Stockton to Fisherman's Warf and checked out the panhandlers. Gave a buck to a black kid all painted silver, doing the frozen statue routine (quite popular in Spain as well). He broke his pose and ran after me and gave me a bunch of Tootsie Rolls. I really didn't want them, so as we walked down the sidewalk I started hawking them to the tourists: "Mime candy, right here. Get your Mime candy." One couple actually took one. Amazing.
Reverse Psychology is in full bloom on the warf, with panhandlers utilizing the somewhat new ruse of a sign that says, "Why lie, it's for beer." Another new angle, which I had never seen was a big, black kid with two overgrown pom pons, that were bushes, or miniature hedges. He would crouch down and hide behind them at the edge of the sidewalk and when people would come by he would jump out, or shake the bush at them. A large crowd gathered across the street to guffaw and marvel at each Candid Camera type scenario. We saw a woman in Nikes walking fast with a cell phone and when he jumped out she did a huge jump and the crowd across the street went crazy. Funny what people find entertaining, and the big question is, how does he get paid. I didn't see any basket for money, but he certainly had the corner on Out Of Town Zane.
Tried to go to Scoma's for lunch, but they weren't open yet, so we ended up sitting at the outdoor tables Tarantino's and had crab cakes and sourdough bread. Really fun. Then went out on the historic Hyde Street Pier and checked out the Balclutha, a square-rigged ship built in 1886 in Glascow, Scotland, and the Eureka, an 1890 side-wheel ferry, built in 1890.
Went out tonight and ate at Butterfly, at Pier 33. Almost too hip for my tastes, but we had fun, came back to the condo to read and write this up. More fun tomorrow. Going to the cartoon museum, Legion of Honor and the Cliff House.
"Man is born to live, not to prepare for life."
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