This trip has been all about new experiences and ones that push my comfort zone. Weekend number 3 definitely was all of those things. This past weekend, I went to “the city.” “The city” is how people in the Bay Area refer to San Francisco. Any Midwesterner that has ever said “San Fran” would be chastised out here for using such a term for “the city.” In case you can’t tell, I am speaking from personal experience.
Saturday morning, I got up and enjoyed breakfast on California Avenue in Palo Alto. It is known as “the other downtown” for being a little more artsy and drawing a different crowd than the University Avenue downtown, which tends to draw more Stanford students, as I understand it. I ate outside at a lovely little café and gallery enjoying the sun and my morning coffee. I then proceeded to a neighboring nail salon, which my friend Abby happens to love, and got my nails done for the upcoming weekend. Because THIS particular weekend was PRIDE WEEKEND in “the city.”
Once my morning errands were run, I headed to meet my new friend Jorge who works at Puente. He and Molly, another Puente staff member and new friend, were my unofficial city tour guides for PRIDE. And it was really something. I had no idea what to expect, but it was more like Mardi Gras in New Orleans than I thought it would be. All sorts of things that are normally illegal, like walking around naked, were totally acceptable in “the city” for PRIDE weekend. It was absolutely unreal. My favorite part about the whole experience was seeing people who supported love without limits (based on gender or sex). Really the entire weekend was amazing. There were parades, costumes, vendor booths, fair food, and colors and rainbows everywhere. I had no clue what PRIDE would be like, but I’m so glad I went.
And the crowds. Wow. Throngs and hordes of people everywhere! There were places where I literally had to hold onto Molly’s and Jorge’s hands to push through walls of people because they were packed in so tightly. It was insane! Other places were not as crowded, but particular spots were literally “nuts to butts” as my friend Tim taught me in reference to crowded areas. It was in one of these places where we were pressing through a massive crowd to get to the next street where my cell phone was stolen from the purse that was hanging over my shoulder and against my hip. It was so crowded and so many people were pushing me and brushing past me on all sides that I didn’t even feel the person reach into my purse and take my phone. Fortunately, I realized the moment we were out of the mob and was able to call my parents (the only two phone numbers I have memorized any more) to stop my service. This is when I realized how dependent on technology I have been on this trip. From navigating everywhere to reading reviews of the best places to eat and visit to communicating with my parents back home to communicating with the staff of Puente to checking in to airlines and obtaining rental car confirmation numbers, my phone has been an integral part of this trip. It was very difficult to be without a phone for the next 24 hours. Fortunately, Jorge had an old iPhone 4 at his house that he was able to give me so that I have a working device for the remainder of the trip (and hopefully until September when the new iPhone 6 comes out and I can replace my iPhone 5s for a little less than I could before the iPhone 6 comes out).
Upon arrival back in Half Moon Bay, I got checked into my final lodging place for the week: Old Thyme Inn. It is a quaint, Victorian style bed and breakfast. My room has a claw foot bathtub in it. It’s pretty much the greatest! I spent Sunday afternoon reading, setting up connectivity with the outside world again on Jorge’s old phone, and resting from a long night in “the city.” I am so excited to be staying at Old Thyme Inn this week because it is such a peaceful place. I want to soak up all of the peace and rejuvenation that I can before I head back to the Midwest. How I will maintain that peace back home is beyond me. I really do not want to leave.