Sea Air and Strangers

Was really proud of myself getting here last night. Every time I travel alone, really.

It’s all me. No one else got me to San Francisco except me. I know that I don’t need anyone to hold my hand to get me here, and sleep peacefully in a hostel.

Last night I passed out early, despite plans to work really hard and stay up all night. I was a little bit loopy.

Met the two Korean girls in the eight person room who were there. They were really sweet– studying abroad in Ohio. And then went to bed around 11:30.

Woke up around 2 am to three girls having a little bit of a row.

“I just know that they are really particular about which bed you sleep in. That one is mine. You’re sleeping in my bed.” This cool ass girl with an afro and great style is negotiating the beds like an assertive diplomat.

And the other girl in her bed didn’t speak English. Was panicking, and half asleep.

And the panicking girl’s non-English speaking friend got up, tried to help out.

And by then I was waking up. Took me like five minutes of arguing to wake up out of my nice nest atop the bunkbed in the corner.

“What’s happening?” I say, as other girls get up and ask the same thing.

“This is just an unofficial roommate party…” someone says.

The girl with the stolen bed settles on another when the other girl begins to offer her bed up when she realizes what is going on finally.

And we’re all up, all eight of us twenty somethings who were previously passed the fuck out.

But then, just as soon as it’s happened, we’re all back asleep immediately.

I really think I can sleep anywhere now.

I’m proud of myself for becoming comfortable in hostels. It’s really not bad at all. So much less creepy than sleeping in a hotel, I’m sure. Especially for me. I love to be alone, but I don’t like to sleep alone. All of those nights running into my parents bedrooms to sleep on their floor. I’m destined to sleep in a room with ten people. That is my sweet spot.

It’s funny. Back at the campsite, all of our tents are piled close together now after the stolen tent by a stranger scare. And now we can all hear each other breathing and coughing and snoring as we fall asleep. Like we’re in the same space even though we have our own tents. I love that also.

But getting here last night— was comfortable because I’d done it before. Even confident. It was so sweet– standing at the bus stop in my leather jacket and mohawk, looked like a fashionista even though the true was I just hadn’t showered in three days. That’s the key to my style. The less clean, the cooler I am.

But this woman with a turban ran up to me as the bus pulled up, and handed me her bus ticket.

“Excuse me!”

Hands me her ticket, all serious. Her friend hands hers to the older African American woman behind me.

“You don’t want it?”

“I’m going home.”

“Thank you!”

Nice entrance to the city. I really love this city. It is pretty touristy, but that is what’s cool about it as well. There is someone from every corner of the Earth here in this city. Visiting or living. So much diversity in culture– even though the tech/hipster culture is pretty overarching through the different diverse groups.

I really should take a shower. But I’m getting used to not doing it. The only reason I really want to is because, and I know this is too much information. we have to use porta potties at work most days. And when you wipe your ass and you’r wiping blue shit off that’s splashed up out of the depths, you probably need to practice as good of hygiene as possible.

I know that’s too much information! But these are the things I want to remember after this. Because I know I’m going to idealize all of this. But you and I need to know that non of this has been particularly glamorous. And one of our sponsors, Fred, shares way more information than I just did daily.

Just Thursday, “ Oh, guys. The portalette is ready for you all. I’ve got it stocked with new paper and all.”

*I walk in and close the door, he’s still talking to me.

“Someone like me, gotta have this ready especially. Take a medication that makes me go every hour, on the hour.”

Fred.

We’re interviewing him on his Peace Corps and experience living in the tropics next Thursday.

But anyway. I’m trying to finish writing about my travels here.

Got off the megabus, got to the MUNI 30 bus stop, and the woman scored me a ticket, saved me a few bucks with a serious, altruistic face. Then rode down through Chinatown, Little Italy, and then to the Marina district. The bus was so much more alive than when I took it in the day. People walking on with bottles of liquor. Local kids yelling out the windows at friends. A few Eastern European guys standing up in the bus holding onto the railing talking to an American. “You will teach us how to talk to girls, no?”

And it’s a crazy ride, and these loud boys with the liquor get off at the stop with me, trailing behind me and laughing way too loud at non existent jokes. They look like they’re in high school. And then I’m following behind this petite, properly dressed ginger effeminate man. And I could be worried about being out after dark– but it’s only 9 and it’s not isolated out here. It’s not super crowded, but people are out walking dogs, going to the grocery store, etc.

I walk down to the Safeway on a whim, and buy food. Then I take the well lit road back to my hostel, and check in.

Make my food, make my bed, and then talk with the girls in the room briefly, and head out to the lounge.

There is a great big fire in the middle of the room, and it’s packed and super loud. The hostel worker at the front desk has to come by and scold everyone and tell them to quiet themselves.

And there’s this guy sitting parallel to me that wants to talk to me. I saw him at the front when I check in, and he was checking out a guitar from the front desk. We both walked away at the same time, in opposite directions, and both did the creepy wait three seconds and then look back at the other person routine. Full on eye contact.  And I want to tell him I’m headed to Alaska, because he’s a wanderlust and is talking to anyone who will listen about where he’s been. Make full on, awkwardly obvious eye contact one, two, three times more before I decide I’m too tired for human interaction and head to bed.

Another night I’ll meet friends, not tonight.

Last night I had to sleep.

And now I have to run.

And let everything, every worry on my mind go.

Come back from the sea air and get breakfast, then head to Chinatown for some stories, and little Italy for a speakeasy for the day.

And then I’m headed back to Sacramento.

Definitely worth it to get out of the city, if just for a day. My time for running away from my team is running out. We literally will not be able to get away from each other in a mere three weeks.

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