June 13, 2010

In Search of the Elusive Streetcar

This early 1960’s hotel sign lives right in the heart of the ever expanding Chinatown.

Himself: G’s pinkish shirt is worn out but went well with his new tie. The funeral ran from noon to after four. The Aid Society folks fixed a wonderful lunch that we ate as dinner. Today work the SD County Fair at the AA booth….leave at nine.

Herself: There was an old fashioned chicken salad made with cabbage that was really great stuff. Very tired. Got all the photos processed and into Snapfish for Ellie. Bed early.

Gratitude: That we could be there for the family. That all the grandkids on both sides sat with us. Voluntarily.

Neither of us knew that the motel was right in the heart of Chinatown. Perhaps in revolt of a China Town expansion, an Italian American organization has painted the colors of Italy on every pole of this North Beach area. The incongruity of it strikes me as the sidewalks are crowded with Chinese all walking with their omnipresent plastic bags…most in pink.

I delighted in the mom and pop grocery stores. I smiled into most of the windows only being slightly revolted by the meats in the dim sum shop windows. Every morning, at a very early hour, proprietors would put out their vegetables on display lining the front of their shops. Every night they were packed up again and taken indoors. Roll down doors would cover the store for the night, and sometime in the dark taggers would appear.

“Oh!” He exclaimed, “Look, lychee nuts.” He loves lychee nuts as a side benefit of growing up in Pakistan.

One of our goals while we were here, if we could manage it, was to ride as many MUNI vehicles as possible….including the seeing Streetcar Museum which had been closed when we were here last.

These four streetcars are PCC’s…a committee called the “Presidents’ Conference Committee” designed these cars to lure riders back on the streetcars before WWII interrupted production. They were smoother and faster than the previous cars, and they are the same kind I rode as a kid here in our downtown area with my grandma.

Here’s an Italian car under restoration in the Museum’s repair yard….which was so nicely just one block away from the AIDS thrift store where I lost my earring and muffler.


  1. Robin's conference is in San Francisco in September, and I have taken a pass on the trip. You're making me sorry.

  2. I have been to SF several times, but missed this! I also love lychee.

  3. We had three nights in San Francisco but not long enough to recognise here. We did the usual tourist stuff so possibly missed the rel flavour. I do remember the seals sun bathing and their perfume:)

  4. In Philly we call the 'trolleys'. I used to ride them to school every day.

    I can't imagine packing all that stuff up every night!


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