Our journey from Boston to San Francisco for the third leg of the Great Cross-Country Barcrawl was the most eventful travel day of the trip. I won’t go into it here because I don’t have the time. I’ll simply say it involved broken landing gear and a near fist-fight in a jetway between little old me and a body builder who had at least a hundred pounds of muscle on me and the steroid-driven anger of the Hulk. What possessed me to get into it with such a monster, you ask? I just couldn’t stand by while he repeatedly f-bombed a sixteen year old girl who was just trying to help. In any event, we got to San Francisco, uncrashed and unpunched.
It won’t shock you to know there were lots of non-cocktail-related things to do in the Bay Area. We enjoyed a trip up to Sonoma to visit my brother and his family, where we mixed in a sparkling wine tasting at Domaine Carneros.
It was instructive to compare in one trip the pinnacle of distillery public faces (Maker’s Mark, as well as Four Roses) with those routinely presented by the wineries, big and small, you see across Sonoma and Napa Counties. A lot of the money you pay for your bottle of wine goes into lush, inviting landscaping and huge, magnificent buildings with tangential relation to production. A lot of the money you pay for your bottle of Maker’s Mark goes into huge, ugly buildings scattered around a cornfield, filled with barrels and growing black fungus on the neighbors, whilst they turn base liquor into gold.
We also finally got to the activities on the Barcrawl that the PeguWife was plotting from the start, the textile arts. We a great afternoon touring the Balenciaga exhibit at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. It was gorgeous. We also visited her favorite fabric store on Earth, Britex Fabrics just off Union Square.
Finally, we had the most touristy day possible in San Francisco. We ate at Fisherman’s Wharf at one of the grand dames of waterfront restaurants: Alioto’s. When we sat down, I told our waiter, “If you have fresh lime juice, I’ll have a Gin Rickey. Otherwise I’ll just go with a Budweiser.”
“Budweiser it is,” he replied briskly.
The food was pretty good and the view wonderful.
After that, we took a cruise on the Red and White Fleet, going under both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, and circling Alcatraz. It was a lovely, brisk day, with the Oracle America’s Cup racing boats whipping by us in all directions at amazing speed. None of them capsized for our entertainment, that happened the day before. This is a gorgeous cruise and I can highly recommend it.
And even if your heart is made of stone and you can’t enjoy the magnificent natural and architectural wonders you see, the audio narration of the cruise is worth it. The information presented is interesting, of course, but that is not the comedy gold contained therein.
This being San Francisco, the narration is simply the most over-the-top, politically correct piece of work ever composed by man. No vista of natural beauty can be examined without musing on how much more attractive it would be if humanity, er, wasn’t around to appreciate it. No work of man can be observed without some digression on the darker nature of the society that birthed it.
And nothing of any sort can be mentioned without a reminder that the American Indians who lived hereabouts, or anywhere else for that matter, led far more magnificent, moral lives than we do, dedicated solely and actively to the preservation of their environment. There is no element of the tour that is presented free of a jarring contextualization from the PC library. And this omnipresence is what makes it so entertaining. By the time we reached Alcatraz, I’d stopped listening for the occasional outright inaccuracy and instead was enjoying immensely the sheer ingenuity of how they managed to find the evil of Western Civ in everything you see.
I don’t care what your political inclinations are, if any, you’ll enjoy this cruise for the view, the nice ride, and especially for the audio tour.
- Smuggler’s Cove (Forthcoming)
- Hobson’s Choice Bar (Forthcoming)
- The Alembic (Forthcoming)
- Heaven’s Dog (Forthcoming)
- Harry’s Starlight Room and the Hotel Bars of San Francisco (Forthcoming)
- Burritt Room (Forthcoming)