Friday, October 9, 2009

A Night at Sam's Across the Bay

The air was crisp and exhilarating as the boat took off from the Ferry Building. It was Alexa’s and my first November away from home, and there was no escaping that fact. The holidays seemed ages away instead of just around the corner. For us, it still felt like summer; we’d been swimming in the Pacific and sun bathing on the city’s sizzling beaches just the weekend before. Thanksgiving was next Thursday and the leaves hadn’t yet turned a beautiful shade of red, yellow or orange; they were boring old green, and they clung to the trees like fat kids to donuts. I didn’t smell chimney smoke in the air like I always did at home, because San Franciscans have no holiday spirit or the desire to toast marshmallows by the fire in their flannel pajamas and wool socks – or perhaps just no wood-burning fireplaces. There wasn’t a need to retrieve my wool sweaters or winter coats from the attic – firstly, because I didn’t have an attic, and secondly, because the temperature outside was always an infuriating 65 degrees. Every. Single. Day. I hadn’t even seen it rain until a few weeks before (I wondered for an entire month whether it ever rained in San Francisco), while in Oregon it had been pelting down since the day after Labor Day, as usual.

Anyway, Alexa and I hadn’t fully adjusted to our new life in the Foggy City. And speaking of fog, it was beginning to roll in, so we climbed down from the top deck of the large passenger boat, where we’d been chatting and raising our plastic cups in haughty toasts to ourselves and our “vacation.” We raised our glasses to being cute enough for the ticket taker not to charge us for the one-way trip. We walked right by him and straight to the bar with no tickets, and all he did was flash a bright smile our way. Cheers! We smiled back from across the bar after we'd tasted our first sips of slaty margaritas. It must’ve been my new haircut paired with my brilliant blue cowl-neck sweater, I thought. Props to me – and my hairdresser. Little did we know, the ticket man charges for tickets after the ferry starts moving. Why? No one knows. But he came and found us on the top deck within the first ten minutes of travel.

Having to pay the 20 bucks just like everyone else didn’t put a damper on our evening. Nothing could stop us from having the time of our lives. Alexa’s company was even letting us stay in its Tiburon lodge for free, and to top it off the lobby had warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies. (The concierge put them away after we came down from our room for the second time that night – after nearly two bottles of wine and free-for-all at the mini-bar – asking for the “magical” cook to bring us more cookies. Where does the cookie man make them? In his magical kitchen? And can we see it? We don’t want to disturb you, so we can make the cookies ourselves.)

We’d been to dinner at Sam’s, the restaurant in Tiburon. (I say “the” restaurant instead of “a” restaurant because the town is about four blocks long, and I’ve never seen two of anything there. Just one hotel, one restaurant, one bar, one bank...) For our girls’ night out, we splurged on a decent bottle of cabernet, chicken, lobster, the whole bit. Afterward, “the” bar was packed with what I’m guessing was everyone in town and his mom. Good thing people-watching is one of our favorite things to do, because we people-watched for an hour while sipping on another margarita.

Although I read the schedule wrong, causing Alexa and I to miss the first couple of boats back to San Francisco the next day, we left relaxed and refreshed – and ready to face the big city again.

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  1. This post made me tear a bit... I can't believe it was almost a year ago. Your memory and crisp writing took me back to this night perfectly. And, I like how you left out who we people watched/stalked all night. Haha, Sam's!! Lets go back.