The staff at Bohème is super. Charles, working the front desk Monday a.m., steered us to a North Beach tradition, Curley’s at 1624 Powell, for breakfast and suggested a route to walk to pick up our rental car. (Later he graciously hauled my suitcase down the stairs.)
While it’s true that we didn’t go to Alcatraz, eat a hot fudge sundae at Ghiradelli Square or even ride a cable car, those were our personal choices for our 48 hours in SF, but to miss Chinatown, the second-largest Chinese community in the western hemisphere, especially when it was adjacent to where we were staying, would have been a shame. Grant Ave. is the main tourist street with its colorful facades and red lanterns and jammed with shops carrying all kinds of Chinese merchandise, and I was absolutely captivated by the window display at Old Shanghai. Inside I was drawn to the purses made of silk and chose a black evening bag and a bronzed green messenger bag. Hip elegance! Then I ventured up the stairs to see the women’s clothing and was shown an exquisitely made silk jacket, more expensive than anything I’d ever bought to wear but also something I expect that I’ll love wearing the rest of my life.
At Union Square we stepped into Williams-Sonoma, an ultra-grand three-storied version of ours back in Ohio. Giada from the Food Network was to appear that day at noon to sign her new book, and 450 tickets had been distributed, so that one could stand in line (and there were already hundreds in an impressive line running down the staircases and out the door before 10:30!) for that privilege. Quite a shopping culture here and a strong and innovative entrepreneurial spirit with a diverse array of small specialty shops in addition to the mercantile behemoths. I bought a sunblocking hat on sale at a little shop of Australian goods while Allen occupied himself on the sidewalk trying to acquire a signal for the GPS unit we’d brought from home to use in our rental car.
We were to pick up a Sebring convertible at Alamo on Bush St. at noon and found a sizeable line of folks there for that purpose, too. Surprisingly a staff member took us out the end of line after asking if we had a reservation and if we had an out-of-state driver’s license and directed us into the garage. Before long we were on our way, top down, in a white Sebring, back to Bohème for our bags.