Toothbrush, Pyjamas, Six-pack

Date: 5/27/99

I am making a list of things to pack for my upcoming trip to San Francisco, or "Frisco" as its citizens like to hear it called, if only for the reason that it gives them an excuse to punch you in the face.  The six-pack is for the flight over as I baulk at paying $4 for those little miniature bottles of J&B.  I know you are not supposed to bring your own liquor on board, but I usually drop off a six as I pass the cockpit or, if it's a long flight, a bottle of Chivas Regal, and with a wink, the pilot lets me proceed.

I am not one to scoff at the quality of airline food, as I consider they do a bang-up job in such a small kitchen and can't pop out to the shops if they have forgotten something.  The only thing I have learned to pass on is the steamed hamburger which will sear the roof of your mouth, cause blisters on your tongue, and leave you speechless until landing.

My only problem with the food is that there isn't enough of it, as for some reason sitting idle in a chair for 3 hours makes me really hungry.  Once on the ground in "Frisco" I will find my Hertz rental and, as it is California in June, that can only mean a convertible Mustang, and then it is off into the night in the direction of the Castro district where shelter has been promised for my stay.

The purpose of this trip is to hear/see/savor the SF Opera's Ring Cycle and was actually, believe it or not, an event I was going to pass up.  But a dear friend insisted I attend...and it is Wagner, and it is San Francisco, and so I am ironing my pyjamas in readiness.

It was Wagner who last drew me to San Francisco, back in late 1996, for my first Lohengrin in the Bill Graham Auditorium. That was my second visit to the city. I had fallen in love with it during my first visit in May 1987 when Opera was not a consideration.

Now, thanks to Wagner the nights are taken care of, entertainment-wise , which just leaves the days to fill in with trips to the coast.  I am always drawn to the Pacific Coast Highway, heading south-- destination Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, and Point Lobos, wherein lies the magnificent Highlands Inn, one of the most romantically appointed hotels it has been my pleasure to visit.  I recall on my last visit, after a sumptuous meal from room service, falling asleep listening to the sound of the surf and the honking of the sea lions, while the flames from the enormous log fire flickered on the ceiling above.  It was indeed heavenly.

I believe there is also some land to the north of the city and a guide book is recommending Point Reyes National Seashore as a good spot for a binocular and camcorder-totin' nature-lover such as I.

Once she heard I would be in the vicinity, an invite to dine on her terrace came, via one of her footmen, from Mistress Terri, who keeps a fine kitchen and a well stocked cellar.  This I cannot pass up, unless she is serving those steamed burgers I mentioned.

I have also received an invitation to dinner following the Siegfried matinee, June 13th, at an Italian restaurant downtown, and there will meet the redoubtable Ms. Jean from the frozen tundra of Toronto, which is near Canada, I think.  I have been wanting to meet Jean since I started typing this "thing" which was..... (counting)....yes...three bottles of beer time flies...time for another.  Sorry.... I digress.

Jean has tickets for all of the Ring performances in San Francisco, and is thus much smarter than I and has my admiration for her devotion to Wagner's divine music.  She is also a huge fan of Sir Ben Heppner, who would be my favorite living tenor.

But there is much yet to do before I fly to San Francisco for this sublime treat.

The cats have to be put to sleep of course...but first I have to catch them!
There goes one under the sofa!

Gotta run!      ô¿ô

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