I am always depresssed by how fast the time goes once a holiday starts - tonight David and I were trying to remember all we had done each day, and already felt like we hadn't done all the things we had planned on. Part of this is because we are taking public transport everywhere, and this does eat into your time. It's outrageously cheap ($2 buys you unlimited distance on one bus or trolley car as well as a transfer to your next connection within an hour), and regular (no more than 20 minutes apart on most routes), but you do often have to take some circuitous routes to get to your destination.
On Monday I hit the Labor Day sales: I've always enjoyed the SF Thanksgiving Sales in past years, they're usually doorbusters which start at 6am in the morning. This holiday was much more low key, with the usual 10.30 opening for all stores. After spending a couple hours buying clothes and shoes we dumped our stuff off at the hotel (the biggest advantage of being located so centrally) and headed off to the Mission district to the cluster of bookshops around Church, Mission and 6th street. My main aim has been to stock up on copies of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I've completely sold out of copies of this modern masterpiece following the release of the movie Julie and Julia (of which more later). The movie comes out in Australia on October 8th and I anicipate a similar demand for copies in Australia. Sadly I had no luck: Adobe Books which last year had a pile of them was sold out too. The proprietor of SF's first cookbook shop (which opened last year) apparenty bought him out of all MTAFC as well as any Julia Child's last month - bummer. I did have a great time wondering through Adobe and Aardvark.
I bought some nice books, we had a dubious lunch at a dive on Mission and then stumbled home for a pasta meal from Uncle Vito's on the corner. Here every night an elderly female set of twins in matching outfits, including cowboyhats, sits in a window seat and has their evening meals. Just a couple of the many, many characters encountered around SF. The panhandlers here, while depressing and sometimes overwhwelming in their number, are almost uniformly polite and seldom 'in your face'. The grips and conductors on the famous cable cars keep up a patter as they work and turn a blind eye to non-paying locals who can't face one more trip up the city's infamous hills (I can relate!) . Being Australian helps break the ice. A concierge told me that Australians are the always the friendliest visitors, and there's always someone who wants to visit, has visited or knows someone there. I guess maybe they say that to all the girls (!!) but it seems pretty genuine.