EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 Holiday | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'holiday'

Today Is My Birthday

Today I reached a day that never popped into my mind. I turned 50 today. You think about turning 18, 21, 30, 40 then it kind of stops. I never thought about what my life would be like at 50, but I can honestly say I wake up in the mornings feeling pretty good.

Living my entire life in San Francisco aside from the few vacations I realize that I’ve reached an age where you start remembering the changes have have happened to this city over your lifetime. I remember Doggie Diner, Chicken Delight, Herb’s Deli. These were all fixtures of my youth. I remember not having to walk a quarter mile when parked on Sloat to get into the Zoo. I remember when a family membership at the California Academy of Sciences was only $25 [and that wasn’t too long ago]. Sure I miss those things, but change is going to happen and there are lots of new things that pop up.

For all the Irish people living in the Sunset when I was kid there wasn’t one place that would serve an Irish breakfast, now there are several. Yes, we did have a more ethnically diverse neighborhood when I was growing up and now according to a recent article on sfgate.com, $3500 will get you more in the Sunset District than most other parts of the city that hardly anyone used to live in.

I think for me the worst part about getting older is that when I talk about TV shows, movies or people from SF history there’s too many people younger than me that have never heard about them because they weren’t born and raised here. I brought up Barbara Eden [I dream of Jeannie] the other day and mentioned that she used to live around 46th and Taraval and went to Lincoln High School and got a response of, who?

San Francisco has been home to a number of celebrities and cultural events, so I guess at my ripe old age of 50 I’m glad I have this blog to remind people of that. I’ll keep on going for many years to come and I’ll promise you that.

Happy Independence Day!

Welcome to the 4th of July were the U.S.A. celebrates it’s independence from the tyranny of the United Kingdom with a Chinese tradition — fireworks. It’s also the one day of the year where you can have an open beer in your hand before noon and no one looks at you funny. Many of you will be going down to Crissy Field or Fisherman’s Wharf with the thousands of others to be crowded together to watch the fun. I will not.

I did the Crissy Field thing once and while it was fun there were too many people drinking too much to get in a portapotty to give back the beer and afterwards the drive out was so slow that I have to say I have never seen so many people jumping out of their cars and running off to the side of the road to pee. Nope, I’m not going to drive through a river of hot urine just watch some fireworks. There’s plenty of other places to see them minus the urine and drunkards.

The first thing is you need to get high. No I’m not talking about smoking pot, but get as high up in the air as you can. Twin Peaks is a good place as you can see Crissy Field as well as Oakland and Union City’s shows. This place does get a little crowded though so get there early. Oddly enough on a warmish day like today when you go up there at night the heat of the day rises so be prepared to have shorts and tank top handy as San Francisco radiates back all the heat of the day.

Grandview Park is another good place in the Inner Sunset and you only have to walk partly up the steps to see it. This was our usual place, but tonight I think I’m going to try the Northwest corner of the Sunset Reservoir. I’ve heard lots of people recommend it and it’s closer to my house. The parking in all these other places is much easier to get in and out of and they’re also nice if you have kids that are scared by the loud banging.

Fisherman’s Wharf I did one year which is a good place if you want to get closer without being boxed in at Crissy Field. You can even hop on the Metro and enjoy the fireworks from the Embarcadero and if you’re quick you can hop back on to before the rest of the crowd does.

If you want an alternative fireworks festival go down to Ocean Beach. The outer Sunset and Richmond district seem to have a number of pyrophiliacs and while not as big as the Crissy field show there are still some pretty big rockets going up in the air out here. I do remember one year there was an older Chinese man with his granddaughter set up at the school yard of A. P. Gianinni Junior High that was sending up some definitely not safe and sane stuff that was pretty impressive. He was there for over an hour. Local schoolyards seem to be a hit or miss attraction for people. The police generally leave you alone there unless you’re tossing M-80’s around because there isn’t too much to burn on the asphalt play areas. The good old days of driving to Daly City to buy your own fireworks are pretty much gone. I’m not sure if Pacifica is still selling the old Red Devil fireworks of my youth, but at least I’ve given you a few ways to see something tonight while you’re eating your burgers and slugging down too many beers.

Whitecaps: Barbabos

Yes, this isn’t about San Francisco, but remember it’s my wild weekend where I get to talk about anything and today I wanted to talk about Whitecaps in Barbados. I have a couple of close friends who have purchased a three bedroom house there that when they aren’t visiting they rent it out. They needed a website to best display the house so who do they come to…me of course.

I have never visited Barbados, but from the looks of the pictures, I definitely will one day and I will be staying at Whitecaps. I was given a tour via skype of the house [yes, the house has wi-fi] and it is pretty spectacular. I could hear the waves crashing on the beach because you’re literally about 50′ from the beach. Barbados is definitely geared for tourists which if you look at the photos in the gallery you can see that there are many shows that go on for free at the local plaza that’s within walking distance.

The food is very inexpensive there and fresh the fish and Barbados goats are all over the place so chances are good that it was alive a few hours before you purchase it. When you bring it back to the house you simply hand it over to Waple who is your personal chef that will cook all your meals. You also have a personal concierge who will help you arrange your site seeing trips around the island. In the evening you don’t have to work as there are two security guards that will make sure the house is secure. You also have your own maid service so you don’t even need to worry about making your bed every day.

Just to give you the full blown what you get for your money, allow me to cut and paste from their website:

  • Three bedrooms for a total of six guests
  • Three private bathrooms: two with tubs, one with a walk-in shower
  • Wet bar
  • Flat-screen TV with Bose sound system
  • WiFi internet access
  • Your own personal chef
  • Your own maid service
  • Located on Mullins Beach
  • Lovely shaded garden area for entertaining

Whitecaps is right on the beach halfway between Mullins Bay and Gibbs Bay — a mere stone’s throw from the highly regarded Mullins Restaurant and Cocktail Bar on Mullins Beach.

There is a 24-hour convenience store within a five minute walk to the north and a fabulous little gift shop, the Shell Gallery, a fifteen-minute walk to the south.

Further north lies Speightstown, a picturesque old town with a historical museum, an art gallery, a small supermarket, shops, a four-star restaurant (Mango by the Sea), banks with ATMs and a fish market, as well as farm stands offering the freshest tropical fruits and vegetables. It is about five minutes away by bus or taxi. To the south is Holetown, a larger community with high-end boutique shopping, a large supermarket, cafes and gift shops, banks with ATMs and a number of four-star restaurants. It’s ten minutes by bus or taxi.

While there are regular buses to and from Bridgetown, and taxis can be reserved for dinner dates, most guests will rent a car to have full run of the island, including the night life of St. Lawrence Gap and the many historic and scenic points elsewhere.

Note that for what us Americans consider a time to take a vacation is considered the off season and is $345/night. If you get another couple or two to make trip with you it becomes downright affordable. It’s pretty much always in the 80’s dropping to the upper 70’s at night so you won’t have to bring a heavy coat. I suggest lots of tank tops and shorts and maybe an eye patch if you want the total Pirates of the Caribbean vibe.

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Merry Christmas To All!

xmas

Picture 1 of 20

Every year I get into the holiday spirit early, but this year it took me awhile. Twas the night before Christmas Eve and I had to take a trip to 34th and Quintara to get in the mood. There’s a guy who owns the corner house that for every holiday puts up a display for everyone to see. Whether it’s Valentine’s day or St. Patrick’s day he does up the house, but Christmas is his biggest time of the year.

I have no idea what his name is, but tomorrow I’m going to knock on his door and introduce myself to him. Cars that drive by his house slow down and people bring their kids to have their pictures taken in front of the house. His house is so magically Christmasy that even during the day it looks beautiful. Why he hasn’t been written up in the paper yet is beyond me, but I’m hoping someone from the Chronicle or Examiner or even SF Weekly will stop by and interview him.

He works hard to do what he does and i feel he should be acknowledged for it. We take our daughter down every Christmas and Halloween [the two biggest times for this houses decorations] just to see that WOW look on her face. He is the Santa for all the kids that need something more than the mall Santa’s. He doesn’t get paid to do this, but he does it anyway. That’s a rare thing in this day and age and I feel he needs to be recognized for it.

If you get a chance, definitely go by and see his house. It is a wonderful Christmas tradition that is non-sectarian like the Christmas’ I knew as a kid. In honor of his work, I did a little work tonight and put together a video tribute to his house and it’s decorations. I hope you enjoy it and drive by and see his place. He and his wife are doing a great community service for what they are doing and they deserve an award. My video is the best I have to offer so far. I’ve included a slideshow at the top from pics I took last year and this year. While I can’t give a gift to all of my readers I hope you’ll all accept this. Enjoy!

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Christmas Eve: The Way It Used To Be

I woke up this morning and was gifted with a few minutes to lay in bed and let my mind wander. I went back in time to when I was a kid and remembered how Christmas Eve used to go. It usually started around 4:30 in the afternoon. There would be a knock at the door and it would be one of our neighbors with a bottle of booze who dropped by to spread some Christmas cheer.

My Mom would usually start early on December 23th putting together appetizers because she was always known as the one in the neighborhood who could cook. The neighbors would come in and have a few drinks eat a few appetizers and then stagger off to the next house. This would continue until around 8 o’clock when my Dad would have to be propped up at the table to eat and my Mom who was smart enough to switch from gin and tonics to just tonic after the first 3 or 4 could put the meal together.

Back in those times if the cops pulled you over and asked if you’d been drinking you could say “yes, but I’ve only had a couple of drinks” which really meant 8-10 and they’d wave you on or tell you to go straight home. We knew all our neighbors back then so we had lots of knocks at the door and I think our liquor cabinet was stocked for the rest of the year. I was probably one of the few 10 year olds who could bartend and every one thought it was cute. I liked it because one year someone grabbed a brandy snifter and put a $5 bill in it which was my first tip jar.

The next morning was a little rougher for all except myself. My Grandmother was built of steel so she could pound back 4 Manhattans and wake up and wash all the dishes from the night before. Ah, the good ole days. My family never had to go a wandering so to speak on Christmas as it always came to us.

Well, times have changed and I doubt we’ll have any knocking on our door as the only people we know in the same neighborhood now are our new neighbors next door that we might have a drink with or at least say Merry Christmas to and our other neighbors who are Orthodox Jews and Hanukah’s over so they don’t really care. The only tradition left is that I like to crack a bottle of good scotch or small batch bourbon like Knob Creek, but I won’t be swilling them back until I can’t remember what I did tonight. I’ll leave those days to my parents who are gone now, but I’ll definitely raise a glass to their memory.

So to all my friends, be nice to your liver over the holidays and be healthy so we can do it again next year!