We hit the roads, sidewalks, crosswalks, hills our first day snaking our way through the camera-clad throngs in Chinatown, store windows a colorful silky feast for the eyes, noses wrinkling at a whiff of fish. Turning our backs on the jumbled mix of antiques and sad tourist trinkets a whorl of garlic warms our faces. North Beach. The ghost sighs of Cassady, Burroughs, Kerouac, oh Kerouac!, wrap around our feet with every step. Ginsberg rants ring raw from the naked past. City Lights Bookstore. I stand quivering at the bottom of the worn wooden steps leading to the poetry room as words tumble, stumble, rumble down from above. Vacation, Day 1.
Strong coffee and croissants jolt us out of our cushy hotel bed daze and we strike out for Haight-Ashbury where there are only a few hippies left, says our front desk man in the uniform. S’okay, we say, we’ve got plenty of our own in Seattle. We’re there to see the colors, hear the eclectic, electric guitar, sitar vibes of the generation after the beats.Buy guitar picks at the music store, and a serene golden buddah face votive holder for mementos. Touch down in Golden Gate Park just to feel our bare feet on some grass. We drop into Cafe Trieste on our way back to wait for a street car, have a gelato, cold and sweet, and find out it’s the oldest coffee house in San Francisco, hard black and white evidence framed on the walls. Ferlinghetti, Burroughs, and the rest of the espresso, wine, absinthe soaked poets. Absinthe. Such a lispy mouthful name for a wicked licorice drink. We change into some grown-up clothes and traipse over to a Tom Stoppard play at the ACT, Rock ‘n Roll, a passionate wordy play about the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, with a set to blow your mind, but which left us craving for more of the promised and highly anticipated rock ‘n roll. Fewer words, more music; don’t they know what we want? Rock ‘n roll rock ‘n roll rock n’ roll!!! Vacation, Day 2.