Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rain: The San Francisco Treat

Sure, the rain and fog makes the bridge look cool, but I paid good money for this trip so I expected better weather. I wasn't expecting San Diego weather, but I was hoping to walk around San Francisco. Instead, we spent a good part of the second day of the vacation in a Whole Foods and mall in Santa Rosa.

It takes more than organic produce to get me excited, and this Whole Foods has a tap room with 16 beers on draft; eight were dedicated to a Lagunitas tasting happening later that afternoon. They also had a nice variety of beer in the coolers with great prices on the local Russian River beers. And this particular Whole Foods must have known I was coming- they had signs all around the hot food and soup bar that stated, "Please do not take samples. Ask a Team Member for sample assistance." Message not heeded.

The adjoining Coddington Mall was a much better fit to my level of class. This place had buckets all over tho catch the rain leaking in through the crappy ceiling. It was sad an laughable at the same time. I made eye contact with the poor employee in the empty hot tub store, his look imploring either, "Kill me, please!" or, "Bring me some of them Whole Foods samples!" We decided that the mall was not the best place to spend a vacation, and headed back south to San Francisco.

The plan for that night was a visit to the famous Toronado bar on Haight St. Since we had such good luck with the Travelodge in Santa Rosa, I figured that booking a room at another would be a great idea, at least for the reason that it was the closest hotel to Toronado. And it wasn't a bad walk to the bar, even though it was raining on us the whole time. I was too excited at the prospect of the Toronado, jumping around in puddles like I was Gene Kelly. The bar was fairly crowded when we arrived in our soggy state, but we grabbed a table across from the taps. The draft lineup was a bit disappointing for a hop head like myself, though the Drake's Jolly Roger Imperial Red on tap was excellent. Many of the other taps were dedicated to Winter Warmers, though I did get the rare opportunity to drink a draft Avec les Bons Voeux, and at the happy hour price of only $8.50 a glass! And the taps may not have been all I could have hoped for, but I would have been happier sleeping on a couch there then what awaited us...

The picture really tells you all you need to know about this shithole excuse for a hotel, but I'll tell you more anyway. It's cathartic. The TV had twenty channels, four of which were PBS, one C-Span, one public access, and one City College Educational Access channel. But who can watch TV when the power in your room has gone off NINE times in two hours??? And who needs TV to entertain them when you've got a downstairs neighbor guest outside her room screaming because her crackhead boyfriend overdosed or drowned in the toilet or whatever else brought the ambulance in the middle of the night. Apparently, he was ok at that time. Not sure what happened to him around dawn, when his girlfriend woke me up with her banging an yelling at her door because he wouldn't/was too dead to let her back in the room. For 40 minutes, all I could hear was, "Mike! BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!" on her door. That went along well with the deluxe "Heat fan" in our room that really did wonders for my sore throat and cold. As in I wonders how I survived this night. We swore off cheap hotels forever, vowing to make entire meals out of Whole Foods samples if that is what it would take to stay in nicer places. But that was before day 3 of the trip...

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