Tag: Sea Cliff

Take a Tour of Outer Richmond and Sea Cliff

27th and Geary.  I lived in this building a few floors up on the north side with my friend James who attended FIDM with me.  When I first moved in here I was still going to clubs and pretty  much acting like a carefree young fashion student but at some point I started to change.  My room mate did not.  I loved this location because of the cold and fog, the Holy Virgin Church next door, and a diner I really liked down the street whose name I can no longer remember.

Notable things that happened while living in this apartment:

This is where I lived when the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 struck.

I made a cornish game hen for an Italian with a big nose I had a huge crush on who did not have a crush on me.

Learned to make rosemary polenta.

Discovered what raw steak smells like when it’s been left in a hiding place in the kitchen by my room mate for well over a week.

This is the Russian Orthodox Church “Holy Virgin Church” that is next door to my old apartment building.  I always wanted to go inside but was too shy.  When I was there the other weekend I decided I was definitely going to go inside but I completely missed the visiting hours.  Next time…

It’s a truly gorgeous church.  And you should see the costumes the priests wear.

I love the datura and the row of pretty little houses.

Entering Seacliff.  You know it’s a fancy neighborhood because of the concrete pillars and the sign that say so.

Immediately you see less concrete and more lawn.  Lots and lots of lawn.  Very trim and precisely manicured.  The houses get bigger and prettier too.

The closer to the sea you get the more palatial the houses get.  I love the houses in this neighborhood but I have to say something about it – it’s eerily quiet and empty feeling.  You rarely see people walking around.  You could eat off the sidewalks they’re so clean but where’s the life of the neighborhood?  You get the feeling that the people here are too good to hang out in their own yards.  Too good for the outside world.

I did see one little boy throwing a ball around at no one in his front yard and it kind of creeped me out.  His parents were apparently close by inside the house but if I had been a pedophile I would have thought this child’s parents were offering him to me as a gift.  I realize that Sea Cliff is probably one of the safest neighborhoods in San Francisco – but I would not let my 4 year old play outside without me being outside with him.

I’d live in this house.  It has figs growing against the wall.  It has a pretty tiled roof and pretty windows.  This is the house I’d live in if I was a rich San Franciscan.

It’s a walled property.  I’d like to walk in that door every time I come home.

Clearly I’m in love with this house since I took more pictures of it than any other.  If only I could move this whole property to Santa Rosa – that would suit me perfectly.  I had enough of empty quiet neighborhoods in McMinnville – I like living in a neighborhood where people are constantly walking around outside with their dogs and their families.  I like living where there is noise and life.

Still, I’ll always love Sea Cliff just for the architecture and the clean sidewalks.

China Beach, San Francisco

China Beach is a modest place, a collection of good rocks, a short strip of beach and, apparently, rip currents that kill.  In spite of this saw a man walk down to the sand yesterday,  strip down to his bright red speedo and dive into the vicious (and bracingly cold) water while I meekly (but with great joy) waded in the most shallow two inches of sea and foam.  We hailed each other cheerfully.

I love that this warning sign is in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian.

This beach was an important transition point for me at nineteen when I was leaving a life of clubs and parties and fashion trade school to a more quiet life, a healthier one.  Coming to this beach helped me find a new center of gravity.  Plus I just loved climbing the rocks and giving my feet sand and salt spa treatments (description of treatment below).

I dressed up in long skirts and floaty layers and stiff hot pink organza shirts with long cuffs that tied and other things the wind could grab.  I would take my shoes off and wade into the sea every single time.  It’s frigid and the sand scrubs your skin like steel wool until all the edges come off and your feet emerge like new.  I wouldn’t put my shoes back on until I left the Sea Cliff neighborhood – the sidewalks giving my feet a final polish.

The Coast Guard building still seems to be empty.  The bathrooms are open now though and I don’t think they used to be.  If I had all the money in the world and wasn’t tsunami-phobic I would buy this building for my San Francisco pied-a-terre.

The retaining walls are taller than I remembered.  I wrote an important scene in Jane Doe in which she and Isaac are sitting on the wall talking into the dusk but I see now that it has to be re-written.

Which is not a problem since I already realized the entire scene has to be ditched and rewritten from scratch.  Now when I rewrite I’ll have these pictures to help me write it with accurate detail.  It’s still an important place in the book.

Unless I decide that I was completely wrong about that too.  Maybe the reason I can’t dive back into the story is because I have to let go of China Beach in the book?

Look who’s showing off its drag-queen-pink gorgeousness.

These anemones made me think of hippie tye dyes.  The kind I hate on people but enjoy in nature.

I like rocks a lot.  I like to climb them.  I like to put small ones in my pocket.  China Beach has lots of rocks.  It also sometimes collects drinkers at night.  You are warned.

My feet loved the spa treatment.  I could have waded in the waves all day long.  But I had to go meet my friend Emma in the inner Richmond.  It just means I have to come back again soon.

The birds.  (Not seagulls)  What are pigeons doing at the beach?  I took a two minute video of some charming sandpipers wave-chasing but I can’t seem to upload it anywhere – total upload fail and I’m really bummed about that because that little video belongs right here as part of my China Beach image collection.

That’s Marin County across the way.

I’m a fan of graffiti.  (When people make an effort with it.)  This bit is new to me and I don’t mind.

We end this tour of China Beach with an artist’s rendition of a blow job.  I can’t help but think this is a blow job gone wrong – but maybe those pursed lips and sperm spray are all just part of the fun?  Maybe that’s a “fun face”?

Observe the artist’s dedication to detail and anatomical correctness.  This is impressive considering the impermanent nature of the medium.  I feel lucky to have been at the right place at the right time to get to see this.  It’s like if Andy Goldsworthy became a gay sand painter.  By today this treasure will have washed away.

It was a great trip to a favorite spot.