The city is, as always, lush and vibrant, with flowers blooming on every curb, and the grass is soft and verdant, perfect for sitting down with a bowl of curry from the farmer's market. The trees are enormous, almost doubling the height of some hills, such that you can somehow look *through* these distant green mounds dwarfing the houses below, and see the skylight shining through them. The coffee is excellent, and it is impossible to feel self-conscious here for any reason - not even if you're wearing a pair of Norwegian Curling Pants through Oakland's Chinatown.
Yes, I know. I do tend to prattle on when Norwegian Curling Pants are involved. But bear with me for a moment.
I was strolling through the city's magnificent crosswalks, and decided to cut through a shopping plaza. A young woman was at the fountain, instructing one of her toddlers on the difference between boats and ducks, while her other, slightly older daughter was engaged in the universal sport of pigeon-harassing. In her admirable efforts to make the bird fly more than a metre, I kept to one side, so as not to add an extra level of challenge to the event.
As I passed by, the mother called out to me... "Are those Loudmouth Golf pants?"
I stopped, amazed. "Why, yes. Yes, they are."
"I thought so," she said. "That's my boyfriend's company."
Let me repeat that for you, since I know I didn't believe it the first time I heard it, either:
"That's my boyfriend's company."
Naturally, I braved pigeon, toddler, and fountain alike to run back, and shake her hand vigorously, after which we had a lovely conversation on the world of curling fashion, before parting ways as friends.
I do so love visiting the Bay Area.