Wednesday, July 31, 2013

San Francisco Diary: Day One

"We are in lovely San Francisco. I loved the drive in here. The hills are all a golden yellow with these groves of trees that looked like they were planted specifically in arrangements okayed by Georgia O'Keefe - especially the solitary ones." 
~ Mark in an email to his family this morning

We arrived in San Francisco mid-afternoon yesterday and checked into our hotel, The Majestic. I had done a lot of research on hotels here; we wanted to be fairly close to Japan Town, and we also wanted a place with some character. And if the Majestic has anything, it has character. The Edwardian building was constructed in 1902 and managed to escape damage after the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 and subsequent devastating fire. As such, it holds the distinction of being the longest continually operating hotel in San Francisco.

Adding to the hotel's character is the rumor that the fourth floor is haunted by the spirit of a daughter of the man who constructed the hotel. Fortunately, we are on the second floor, so I doubt we will have any ghostly experiences while we are here. You can read a bit about the ghost here. Her portrait is in the hotel's lobby. I have to say that when I stood in front of it to take a picture, there was something about her eyes ...

"The room is so comfortable and this morning we are sitting in the bay window 
listening to the city wake up while we drink coffee and write in our journals. 
We are going to let the day unfold as it will."

So wrote Mark this morning. We love our room. One of the things we enjoy doing on trips is what we do most mornings, and that is sitting in a comfortable place, preferably outside, writing in our journals. And this room has a perfect place for that. In front of the bay window with cool breezes blowing in through the open windows, the busy street below us.

The bed is not only beautiful, it is extremely comfortable.

Taking our picture in front of the mirror. Mark is saying,
"Why don't we just take a picture of ourselves? What's with the mirror?"

Last night, we walked down to Japan Town for a traditional Japanese public bathing experience, followed by an amazing massage using both the Swedish and Shiatsu methods. Again quoting from Mark's family email of this morning: "We took to alternating between the hot tub, steam room, dry sauna, and cold bath (ice cold) for about an hour before getting an hour massage. I'm surprised I don't see bruises all over me this morning." I wish I had time to write about the traditional Japanese bath. I'm sure I will have that opportunity in the near future, but for now, if anyone reading this is interested, there is a Wikipedia article here. The massage was out of this world, hands down the best massage I have ever had (sorry Mark P.). If anyone is considering going to San Francisco in the near future, try out Kabuki Springs and Spa, and ask for Giovanni for your massage.

Mark continued in his email:
"On the walk back we stopped at a Mediterranean place for dinner. A small corner restaurant where it seems the popular thing to do was to sit and smoke out of a hookah and drink tea. We went in the back and ate a not so great meal but enjoyed the feeling of being far from Salt Lake. Not that I don't love Salt Lake, but here it feels far less sterile, gritty and more - as Joseph wrote about in his blog [yesterday] - on the edge." 

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