Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 161: Prime Real Estate

We woke Sunday morning to a beautiful day at Lake Tahoe. The sun was shining and there were only a few clouds in the bright blue sky. A perfect day for a lot of things, including driving back to San Francisco. I was bummed that we couldn't stay and ski again, convinced that with just one more day, I'd master not only the mountains, but the ski lift as well.

Several of us took a walk around Cynthia's parents' neighborhood, enjoying the sunshine and our last minutes in Tahoe. I spent some quiet moments feeling thankful for the weekend I'd just had, the new friends that I'd made, and most of all, for not killing myself on the slopes. I decided then that I wanted to make ski trips a yearly thing. I really want to be a skier.

Sometime mid-morning, we loaded into our cars and headed back to the Bay Area. I was surprised at how tired I was on our return, despite us going to bed early every night we were there. Skiing whipped me!

When we got back to Elizabeth and Kristof's, they both asked me what I wanted to do for the rest of the day. What I really wanted to do was whatever the two of them normally do on Sunday afternoons. I didn't want to disrupt their schedule just because I was in town.

Plus, Sundays, for most people, are sacred. My friend Momo and her husband, for example, have been known to outright refuse to make plans on Sundays, not wanting to jeopardize an opportunity to relax, or to spend the day doing whatever they want. They're not trying to be rude, they just want their Sundays to themselves.

It's not just Momo, though. Even the most social individuals that I know use Sundays to hide out, presumably to deal with the anxiety that their weekend transgressions might've caused. Others that I know concoct elaborate "Sunday Funday" plans, determined to soak up all 48 hours of the weekend. Regardless of how people choose to spend the day, Sundays, I know, are not to be messed with.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn't want to make Elizabeth and Kristof run me all over town doing touristy things the day before they had to be back at work, therefore ruining their Sunday.

But Elizabeth refused to let us sit around and watch DVR'ed episodes of "Toddlers and Tiaras" or "RuPaul's Drag Race," much to my dismay. She suggested we instead capitalize on the beautiful day and take a walk on Baker Beach.

Baker Beach is a bit of a ways from Russian Hill, so we walked to catch the bus. On our way to the bus stop, we passed an apartment building in Kristof and Elizabeth's neighborhood that has some units for sale, one of which had caught Kristof’s eye a long time ago, after he'd started looking for a place to potentially buy.

"Let's go check it out," I said as we climbed the hill.

They refused, at first, not wanting to spend one of my days in San Francisco apartment hunting. But truthfully, I couldn’t have been more excited. I love real estate (is that weird?), and though not actively looking to buy a home, I’ve been known to go "house-hunting" in Atlanta from time to time with my real estate agent friends. I like to see how houses are laid out and I like considering how I'd renovate or decorate them if they were my own. As evident by some of the homes I've viewed, I also like to see what kind of freaks I have living in my neighborhood. There are a lot.

Anyway, the opportunity to use this beautiful day to look at some big city real estate was as much for me and my curiosity as it was for Elizabeth and Kristof trying to find a place to live.

Day 161's thing I've never done before was to go apartment hunting in San Francisco and take an X-rated walk on Baker Beach.

A nice, relatively young guy met us at the door when we entered the apartment building and then he took us up on the elevator to the unit.

San Francisco real estate, like a lot of other big cities, is expensive. I'm not sure how it stacks up to places like New York, Boston, or Los Angeles, but I've visited enough friends in these places to understand that we were going to be dealing with big prices and small spaces.

The apartment we viewed was on the 7th or 8th floor, I think, and though I have no concept of how many square feet it was, it was a two bedroom, one bathroom place with a living area, dining room, kitchen and terrace. I think it cost near $800,000. That's a lot of money anywhere, but it's San Francisco, so I wasn't terribly surprised that a place so small cost so much. I was astounded, however, that they would ask that much for this place.

First of all, the apartment was dirty. Don't most people that are trying to sell their house spend a great deal of time keeping the house neat and tidy in case potential buyers decide to stop in unexpectedly for a viewing? Whoever lived in this space looks like they packed their things in the middle of the night and left town without telling anyone. I would have assumed that the things left behind, the creepy, antique-looking paintings, broken dishes and dusty mirrors, would have been removed by the company hired to sell the place.

Not to mention, the apartment was in need of some serious updates. The kitchen alone needed a makeover to bring it out of the 1970s time warp. The bathroom was the size of a half bathroom with a shower, suited only for individuals less than six feet tall.

The worst part of the apartment was that the view the real estate company had advertised was not existent. Not from this apartment anyway.

While we milled around the place, the nice gentleman who had greeted us downstairs left and was replaced a woman. An all-business, judgmental, not nice real estate agent who took one look at us and either assumed there was no way any of us could afford a place like this, or simply was a bitch and didn't want to help us.

To be fair, I couldn't afford this place, but she didn't know that, and how dare she assume.

Kristof became suspicious, after checking out the view, that the apartment we were in was not the one he was interested in viewing. After going back and forth with this rude lady, we came to the conclusion that the apartment he wanted to see was either not for sale anymore, or this lady just didn't want to show it to us.

She also didn't want us to show ourselves out, so she escorted us onto the elevator, with her client in tow and personally showed us the door.

Elizabeth doesn't tolerate rudeness of this magnitude, so even if she and Kirstof had loved that apartment, I could see her refusing to buy it on account of that woman sucking. Words of wisdom to real estate agents in San Francisco: Do not cross Elizabeth.

We caught the bus to take us as far as we could go, and then we walked the rest of the way to Baker Beach. I recognized the view immediately. This is the spot that countless pictures of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge with the white capped waves crashing against the rocks beneath have been taken. The view was spectacular, and I was surprised I hadn't made an effort to enjoy it on my other trips to San Francisco.

We walked towards the bridge, fighting the wind that was blowing wildly and the weird foam that was blowing in off the waves. As we approached the bridge, Kristof turned to me, slyly smiling, and said, "Now this is the naturalist part of Baker Beach."

I smiled and nodded, unsure exactly of what he meant by "naturalist" in this context. Luckily, I didn't have to wonder very long. When I looked up towards the bridge I saw a tall man, likely in his 60's, standing as naked as the day he as born.

Elizabeth turned to me, "This is the naked part of the beach."


Sure enough, the beach's website even says, "The northernmost part of Baker Beach is frequented by clothing-optional sunbathers."

Though I don't particularly enjoy being naked myself, I understand the freedom people feel without clothes on, and I loved that these men were embracing the nudist lifestyle. What confused me though, was that I didn't find the weather to be suitable for nakedness. The wind was brisk and though the sun was shining brightly, I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be in a bikini out there, much less in my birthday suit.

Is nudity weather-proof? Like, if you like to be naked in public, does it not matter that it's cold outside? Clearly this man, and his friend, who was also naked but sitting down, were not bothered by the cool wind.

After we left our naked friends we walked through some other parts of the Presidio, a National Park of which Baker Beach is a part. For 200 years the area served as a military post for three different armies. Now it boasts some of the city's most beautiful views and wooded areas. We walked through the greenspace, passing the Presidio golf course, talking about the 1990 San Francisco earthquake.

There was some discussion when we left the Presidio as to where we should go for dinner. Should we pick up dinner and take it back to the house to watch the Oscars, or should we just eat at the restaurant and then return to the house to watch them? I love it when these are the biggest decisions that I have to make.

The discussion lasted for a while, long enough for us to walk through some of the nicest, most exclusive neighborhoods in San Francisco near the Presidio. We tested our limits to see how long we could linger by someone's yard, checking our their view or staring into their windows.

We talked about what we were going to do and how we were going to get there to do it so long that we ended up just walking all the way to Pizzeria Delfina. We arrived starving and had already decided during our afternoon-long walk, that we deserved to eat whatever, and as much as we wanted.

So, we did, starting with more more baratta (my favorite cheese ever in life), meatballs, and fried cauliflower. The idea was to order a lot of food so that we could take whatever we didn't eat back to Elizabeth and Kristof's, but that didn't happened. We polished off all of the appetizers and two entrees (a pork dish and a pizza) right there.

Since I hadn't eaten since breakfast,I could've eaten anything at that point, but I'm so glad we were eating here. The restaurant was bustling with activity and the food was wonderful.

Besides the baratta, my other favorite thing about the restaurant was the wait staff's t-shirts. The owner of Delfina, concerned about the negative (and sometimes untrue) reviews his restaurant was getting on decided to confront his critics head-on and have the one-star review comments printed on his staff's t-shirts.

Some of the t-shirts said:

"This place sucks."

"The pizza was sooo greasy, I'm assuming this was in part due to the pig fat."

"The service was bitchy."

Damn, this is a good idea. I wish people were also forced to wear their worst reviews on their clothing. My t-shirt might say:

"Shares a little bit too much. Could stand to be a little more aloof."

"Can be flaky at times. Spreads herself too thinly."

"Tends to be sensitive. She shouldn't dish it out if she can't take it."

What would yours say?

After dinner we took a cab back to Elizabeth and Kristof's to settle in to watch the Oscars that Elizabeth had taped. We started with the red carpet walks, judging everyone's outfits before getting to the real show.

A couple of hours into our viewing party, Elizabeth attempted, as she had all evening, to fast forward through some of the commercials. Only in an accidental, but hilarious turn of events, the DVR fast forward button got away from her, and she skipped ahead to the end, revealing to all of us that Hurt Locker had seemingly won the award for Best Picture. Frantic get back to where we were, she reversed. This time, the rewind stopped for us to, again, accidentally, see Sandra Bullock accepting her award for Best Actress.

"Agh, make it stop!" Elizabeth yelled, throwing the remote at Kristof. Elizabeth likes the DVR remote about as much as I like ski lifts, apparently, previously and by accident, erasing the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

I was hysterically laughing, considering we'd been suffering through the music tributes, the awards for animated short films and light direction, just to make sure we didn't cheat ourselves of the full Oscar experience. When, thanks to a tricky remote, we were able to, within 30 seconds, get all the answers that we really wanted anyway.

Elizabeth felt bad for destroying the build-up and ruining the ending, but I wasn't mad at all. In fact, I was grateful. DVR is a beautiful thing.

We jumped around to learn who won the other "big" awards and quickly put our Tahoe weekend, the Oscars, and ourselves, to bed.


  1. another great blog! my t-shirt might say 'so sensitive, i hurt my own feelings', or 'selfish and lazy', maybe 'moody, back off!'

  2. Nice post! I liked the way you get to the point - which is always useful. Most blogs are a bit too verbose for me, this one fits nicely.thsnks for sharing and for more flats for sale in manikonda

  3. nice

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