Day 1: Chinatown, North Beach

(Updated: 04.02.2007)

The air smells something sweet in the way only San Francisco air can, and there’s a gentle breeze rolling off the bay – never a better way to start off a trip.

My girlfriend Janice and I started out the day with bagels and coffee at Momi Toby’s Cafe, a perfectly bohemian spot serving a mean onion bagel and chilling the atmosphere with some Indian-influenced lounge music.

After a liesurely breakfast, we strolled around Hayes Valley – the neighorhood we’re staying in – which oozes original character: from trendy sake shops to hole-in-the-wall organic grocery stores. The buildings are all like vintage clothes: broken in, homey, unique and decidedly hip – a welcome change in a time when many urban areas are going the way of sterile modern design.

We headed up Market St. and then up to Chinatown, slipping into trinket shops and bakeries and milk-tea joints. I absolutely love the Chinatown vibes – it’s like a slice of Beijing…only a bit friendlier because it’s in San Francisco.

Lunchtime we noshed on sandwiches and beer at the San Francisco Brewery with our friend Danielle – who’s generous enough to put us up this week – and chatted about the direction of our lives. She thinks we need to move to the city…we agree.

The rest of the afternoon was spent bookworming at City Lights bookstore (famed as the quintessential beat literary haven) and moseying around North Beach – we walked in the sun, just drinking the city in until our legs hurt.

And so now we’re waiting to go to dinner – sorry for the lack of links and pictures, but we’re still on the run. Expect more details soon!

Happy Travels!

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