“The streets of San Francisco”

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The streets of San Francisco evoke an old TV series with a young Michael Douglas and half a block long cars chasing each other down the steep slopes of the city.

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To me, all streets in San Francisco seem to end in Powell and Market. Maybe because the hotel was on Powell? See the first photo above on Powell and Union Square. Let’s make this post different, a new exercise, in which we walk you through the streets of San Francisco.

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An ode to baseball on Powell.

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Take Grant to Chinatown. Why are there three Chinese characters for Grant? Has anyone checked the translation?

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Chinatown in the San Francisco fog. Freezing…

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Washington warrants four Chinese characters. But “Washington” only has three syllables. Help anyone? 🙂

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For those not born in the past century, Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) was the prince of detective novels. The inspiration of Film noir. If the name still does not ring a bell, think Sam Spade, The Maltese falcon, Humphrey Bogart. I couldn’t believe I was walking down HIS street.

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Have a drink at Vesuvio on Kerouac St. (For all those under 46, Kerouac was the prophet of the Beat generation, along with Ginsberg et al. His masterpiece is “On the road”. Typed on a single scroll of paper: “the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything…” 1958.

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“When the shadow of the grasshopper…?” 🙂

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Have a fine dinner at Embarcadero.

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Or have a Twilight Zone breakfast at Lori’s Diner on Powell:

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“Two eggs, over easy, Honey?”

And don’t miss 16th Avenue hidden steps:

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16th Avenue is a weird project developed by the neighbourhood, with mosaic covering the 163 steps between 16th Avenue and Moraga. A steep climb, well worth it.

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Follow your dreams! Always.

Thank you for walking with Equinoxio, the only airline that makes you climb 163 steps on foot.

And a very special thanks to my dear friend Jenny at


for her fantastic tips on Frisco.

134 thoughts on ““The streets of San Francisco”

  1. Loved this walk down memory lane; was there in 2010. A fantastic place, very much like my home town, Sydney. Can’t help with the Chinese characters, though, I’ll be interested to see if someone can… The ‘steps’ are amazingly painted; your lens captured it very well… 🙂

    • Hi Carolyn. Glad to stir up nice memories. Frisco is very nice. First went there 50 years ago… (OMG) I will do a post contrasting then and now. The steps were quite a challenge. I confess I only use my Iphone. Won’t carry a camera. Whatever limitations the iphone has I edit afterwards. My main problem was the light. First 2-3 days were very cold and foggy. A shame for the colours. So Sidney is “hilly” too?

      • I was there in Autumn/Fall, yet it was cold and foggy to begin most mornings. Not complaining though, I love a little ‘cool’ weather! Parts of the CBD of Sydney are hilly, though, not quite like Frisco; had myself a good walking workout most days. 😉 The buildings and the ‘feel’ of Sydney are reminiscent of Frisco; there’s a lazy, no bother feel that makes for a pleasant day. I’d return if ever the opportunity arose..

      • Yes one does get a good walk everyday. Especially when the hotel is “up on the hill”. Looks like it is often foggy. Though I had been there before and hadn’t felt that. have a great week-end Carolyn.

    • Hi Robin. Glad you liked the “walk”. There will be more. Didn’t see the painted ladies, though we walked quite a bit on Haight St. I was not aware of them. Though in many American “towns” I have seen rows and rows of exactly the same house, painted differently. I’ll keep the ladies for another trip to SF. Have a great week-end.

  2. Glad you had a great trip. I remember walking up alongside the trolley tracks, up and over a hill, and going into a church along the way for a quiet respite. Great walk to end up at the ocean. The night before, we’d had pre-dinner appetizers and desert at Top of the Mark as fog rolled around the windows (couldn’t see a thing) and then took the trolley down to Tadich’s for a fabulous cioppino.

    • 🙂 The 16th avenue steps were a suggestion form Jenny at Bulldog travels. A bit remote from the Golden Gate park, but well worth the climb. How have you been? Did you go anywhere this summer, Coeur de Feu?

      • So beautiful! I visited The Virgin Islands this summer, St. Kitts, St. Thomas, the Bahamas as well. It was nice! Thank you Brian Have a great day!

      • What a lovely vacation. Never been there but I’m sure it must be precious. I spent a good bit of my (African) childhood) by the sea, sailing to the islands. Love the sea. Did you sail from one island to the other?

      • A smile. That happens to me all the time, I am always getting squares from people…I thought they were trying to tell me something 🙂

      • My friends, apologies for barging in. I believe you need to install/update at least one font on your systems that has the latest Unicode emoji symbols built in. For example, on an older Windows such as 2000/XP/Vista/7 you need Segoe UI Symbol version 6.09 (or later if accepted by the system).
        Unfortunately I’m not familiar with Mac so can’t say what or how should be done but the idea is the same: WordPress are converting all emoticons into emoji codes and then they replace those Unicode codes with images but only on web pages (through javascript retrieved from fonts.googleapis.com). When the computer doesn’t have a proper font installed, the Unicode symbols in the mail (usually based on the Internet Explorer engine on Windows and whatever is default for Mac) will show up as empty squares.
        Same would happen in the browser if one would disable javascript or block the aforementioned Google fonts domain.
        After you install/update the fonts you may (or may not) need to change certain font-related settings in your e-mail application.

        For reference here’s an article that explains where to get the Segoe UI Symbol font and how to install it: link
        The article mentions Windows 8 and 8.1 but it works all the same in XP, I’ve done it not too long ago.

        Good luck! 🙂

      • Also make sure images are not blocked by default in the e-mail application – that could produce a similar effect.
        A screenshot could have cleared things out a bit. No hurry, get well first and we’ll see then. 😉

      • I’m using regular emoticon combinations, not Unicode emoji codes (usually sent from phones/tablets), that’s why you can see them. Therefore I tend to believe the problem is with the fonts not being updated/complete, not with blocked images.

        WP are going down with each change they make (same as Microsoft). 😦

      • Got some screenshots for you: link. 🙂

        The pink ones show the emoji section of four different fonts; it’s visible that some of the code points are not implemented and therefore show up as empty squares (or bearing questionmarks).

        The other screenshot is from the mail application (POP Peeper on Windows XP), where the upper section has images blocked while the lower section has images allowed.

        You may compare the appearance of the missing emoticons on your systems to these screenshots to find out whether the problem is blocked images in e-mail application or obsolete/incomplete system font(s) and then proceed accordingly.

        If any of you doesn’t feel up to the task please ask a knowledgeable friend or a specialist to assist you. 😉

      • Oui enfin j’ai 45 ans, donc même si j’étais très jeune à l’époque, j’aurais pu connaître, voir des diffusions later etc. . .
        Ce n’est donc pas gagné, pour ce cher Armistead. Je pensais avoir lu toute la série, mais je découvre l’existence d’un tome 8 à l’instant.

      • A l’époque je bougeais bcp, Lyon, l’Afrique, l’armée. Je ne crois pas avoir vu bcp d’épisodes. Bonne chance avec le tome 8. Y a-t-il un W.H.Smith ou équivalent à Nantes?

      • I don’t think so. Qques restos et salons de thé librairie ou avec une bibliothèque “à consommer sur place” mais pas de littérature spécialisée.

      • Ah ah, c’est vivement conseillé yep ! Une série télévisée a été adaptée, sur la base de la première trilogie. J’avais bien aimé, à l’époque. Ce qui n’était pas gagné, vu les adaptations trop souvent foireuses, en général, côté films et séries, tout confondu. Ce fut donc a nice surprise.

      • Ce fut donc une nice surprise? Franglais à fond? Chez moi on parle trois langues mélangées tout le temps. 🙂 Tu sembles bien te débrouiller en anglais ce qui est plutôt rare chez nos très chers ;)compatriotes?

      • J’ai hélas bcp perdu en anglais, et pire en espagnol. Mais certains mots, certaines expressions me viennent naturellement en anglais, tout comme à l’écrit : qques restes d’un job de plusieurs mois, quand, jeune adulte, je fus l’assistante d’un prof d’anglais. Tu sais tout. . . ou presque, hé hé !

      • L’essentiel c’est de continuer à pratiquer les langues. A l’inverse, je vis depuis si longtemps à l’étranger que je commence à avoir des problèmes avec le français écrit. Les doubles consonnes sont un cauchemar! 🙂

      • ouch, it sucks, comme presque à chacune de mes réponses, je dois recommencer car the first one disparaît avec un sale message d’erreur ! Well, j’ai bcp perdu en anglais, et tout oublié en espagnol mais qques mots et expressions me viennent naturellement en anglais : des restes d’un job, quand, jeune adulte, je fus l’assistante d’un prof d’anglais. Tu sais tout, ou presque !

      • Vérifie ton ordinateur, je reçois bien les deux messages, avec des variations. Ça m’arrive parfois avec le Mac quand ma main gauche passe sur le… comment appelle-t-on ça? le carré de la souris.

  3. Feels cold, and sad or maybe just lonely. Or lazy, as Carolyn said above. Dunno. Maybe old and tired? Nope, that’s just me.

    I have to admire the mosaic on the hidden steps though, but most of all I appreciate the message from Lala to Eva. Idealistically naive, but I love utopias so… 🙂

    Thank you for yet another smooth flight, mon ami. And don’t let the dogs near that fire hydrant, it’s already in a bad shape. 😉

    • Sf was nice, though very cold, windy and foggy the first 2-3 days. Then warmed up. One thing that is terrible is the homeless. 6,500 homeless. Concentrated on some spots, like Market street. Sad really. As for the fire hydrant there was a yellow ribbon: police line do not cross… 😉

      • Right. And dogs can read that. 😛

        The homeless are a generic category but within it there may be many different types of people that got in that situation for different reasons. Sometimes steppin’ on some boss’ shoes is enough to leave you unemployed for life and henceforth homeless.
        I vaguely remember a movie but not its title, maybe it was Joe Pesci there or maybe not, where such homeless was actually a former Harvard (?) graduate and helped a young guy with something and then died (?).
        The System pushes aside those who do not approve of it and lets them fight with each-other for survival, which also gives it a reason to enforce the law & order forces. Oh, it’s very complicated…

      • It’s extremely easy for one to lose their home nowadays even here. A couple unpaid bills and you’re out of that service; one unpaid tax on the house and you’re out in the streets. They recently started installing smart meters that somehow register a much higher consumption than before so we have to pay more and more while the paycheck – for those employed – stays the same. 😦

        Regarding the guy with the Mac, he might’ve been freshly thrown out and still holding on to his possessions or he just picked it up from the curb. How much does a battery last? How many public places allow homeless people, if he were to go charge the battery and maybe surf the Internet – looking for a job or whatever – using their (free) wi-fi network? (I know there may be free wi-fi spots in the open but nonetheless battery needs recharged constantly) Who knows…

      • Yeah, I don’t know how he managed. Still a shame. I also know, personally a guy who has a job, works for the city, minimum wage and sleeps in his car, because he can find a place to rent… 😦

      • Well, depending on the city and city area the rent here could be anywhere between 30% and 100% of the minimum wage (which currently is at 1250 RON or ~280 EUR or ~$313) and I’m not counting the utilities (gas, electricity, water) which may go up to 60-70% of the minimum wage in the winter for a house on the ground. And if we add to that the TV+Internet+phone subscriptions it gets clear that an individual could not survive in such conditions.

        The guy at least has a car – hopefully his property, not leased.

      • I understand it’s his car. But the fact is real estate anywhere has gone crazy. A 20 sq.ms studio in Paris can easily reach a 700 euro rent, while minimum wage is about 1000 euros. 😦
        (An apology for answering so late. Been down with a nasty flu. Cough! Cough!) Be good my friend.

    • Saaaaaalut! Ça me fait tellement plaisr d’avoir de tes nouvelles. 🙂 Je pensais à toi de temps en temps, me demandant comment ça allait. J’ai vu ton blog, j’ai la réponse. Et je te félicite. C’est parfois dur, mais je suis sûr que tout ira mieux. Quels sont tes plans pour cette année? Bz.

      • Pour l’instant j’essaye de me concentrer sur mes études tant bien que mal. Je suis aussi en train de remettre en questions certains choix que j’ai fait pour de mauvaises raisons. Mais on va dire que du coup j’ai plus trop de temps ni d’idées pour enrichir le blog. C’est la sècheresse 😅

      • Pour le blog, y’a pas le feu. 🙂 L’important c’est que tu sois contente de tes nouveaux choix. Se concentre sur tes études est aussi important, la concurrence est chaque jour plus forte, donc les études… ça sert à qq chose. (Ça peut aussi changer les idées) Quels sont les sujets que tu préfère en ce moment?

  4. Wow! I was lost on the streets of San Francisco with you and I was wondering (also with you) why in Chinese there are fewer characters for a word than in our alphabet.
    Anyway, I loved that virtual trip. I wonder when it will be for real to me? :))

  5. Some familiar sights indeed Brian. It’s funny how you can see some things and instantly know to which city they belong. Some places are just so recognisable – Hollywood helps I guess. Love the street art, wish I’d taken a few more photos of that. Hope all’s well? Paul

  6. I love your homage to the streets of San Francisco. One of my favorite cities in the world although sadly I have not been there since the 90s. The street art wasn’t very prevalent there at the time so I especially enjoyed that part of your post.

  7. Just finally seeing this now. I am so glad you enjoyed your trip. Sorry it was cool but it often is. You only have to head towards me to find the hot weather.

    I just can’t get enough of those stairs. Aren’t they the best?

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