Yesterday I flew out to San Francisco for a work project that has been the focus of my attention for the past several weeks. [Note the absence of much of interest posted at this URL for about the same length of time. :)] I didn't think I'd have any free time while I was here, but today I had a couple hours free in the morning. Time enough to walk down to one of the piers and breathe in some salt air. It was so lovely.
I bought a latte at an outdoor stand of Blue Bottle Coffee. The line was about 20 people deep so I figured it had to be good coffee, and it was. I took a picture of their set up because it was so interesting and theoretically I could download it now from my camera and post it here to show you but that is too much work for this time of night. Just picture that there were a couple Coleman stoves lit, with a stainless steel hefty teapot on each burner to boil water. Next to the Coleman stoves there was a handmade-looking thing with four (I think it was four) holes in a wood board elevated about one foot off a table. Into each hole was placed a coffee filter. Under each hole was placed a coffee cup. The guy in charge of this part of the operation would boil the water, fill each filter with coffee, pour the water through the filter and distribute the filled cup to the waiting customer. Espresso drinks were made using standard espresso machine and so weren't as interesting to watch being prepared. My latte was very good, however, and I can understand why this place had the long lines. I bought half a pound of their organic coffee to bring home.
Since it is my first time to San Francisco I'm very glad to see more than the hotel. Speaking of my hotel, it is a rather strange hotel. It's very nice--actually a fairly new $$ chain, I think--but unexpected for a hotel that probably expects most of its guests to be business travelers. It's a cross between a late-70s disco and a late 60s/early 70s weird candle/incense/poster/"other" shop, the kind of shop my mother used to not let me go into. The lobby has only dim lights and candles. Even in the room there is no main light. Just atmosphere sort of lighting, although there is a great window seat. The hallways only have dim blue and green lights in them. Behind the check-in counter there are strings of silver beads hanging down with blue lights flashing eerily behind them. From a projector across the room, these words are projected across the silver beads:
“Wish. Command. Whenever/Whatever.”
That slogan sounds a bit more suited to Pinocchio's Pleasure Island than a business traveler-oriented hotel. The slogan also strikes me as just a bit ironic in light of the fact that the book I brought with me to read in some spare moments is Saint Augustine's, Confessions.
From this morning's reading:
"The house of my soul is too small to receive Thee: let it be enlarged by Thee. It is all in ruins: do Thou repair it. There are things in it that must offend Thy gaze, I confess and know."
Tomorrow the wishes I would like granted include: time enough in the morning to sit on the window seat and begin Book Two of Confessions, time enough in between meetings for another walk either to one of the other piers or to Grace Cathedral Church for a service, to look at their bells, or to walk the labryinth, and another cup of great coffee.