One hardly needs an excuse for silly suits and grown up juice. Rising to where BART meets Trolley, the noise kicks in. A soft-spoken man clutching a peeled white cup offers directions to wherever we may want to go while another, balancing on a small plastic crate preaches to a largely distracted crowd. SF looks like a Where's Waldo holiday painting on a stone grey background. As we climb an ever-growing hill, a tree comes into view that was almost so big it seemed fake. A degree of grandiose perfection that can only be summed artificial until you pluck a piece of the soft green for yourself. Of course, the barricades won't let you get that close. An officer, curiously cool with people sipping their booze out of Crystal Geyser bottles, assured us he wasn't guarding the tree from us, the evident Santa Apocalypse, he was protecting it from rowdy protesters. (Which...begs a conversation about tree protection vs. human protection in the United Sates)
Slipping past 2 hip-hop boom boxes and a champagne-colored balloon toss dotted across the large slanted square we're swallowed into a tunnel that feeds into Chinatown. A truly eye-opening 8 block walk baring the depth of American culture. Eerily timed, a member of our group hands out small, seemingly sand-filled pellets, wrapped in thin white tissue. Snaps. Everyone's first firework. She sprinkles me four and spikes hers to the ground. Now a group of 12, walking to the chime of small staggering explosions. Someone threw some into traffic. Nothing transpired.
We exit Chinatown and enter Little Italy, a festive stretch of close-knit buildings holding delicious wines and foods. We scrunch into line for Pizza which had the consistency of soft garlic bread carefully seasoned with flavorful toppings that don't yell over one another. The whole pizza felt like a conversation. Each ingredient having it's turn. We sat on the corner next to a liquor store, Jay-Z coming from one bar and 80s cover songs coming from another. If we had looked up we probably would've noticed that it was perfect. An early setting winter sun brought soft twinkling lights hovered above concrete. No one's in a rush. There was a balance of sound that kind of made a quiet. A sustained constant, like noise in a stadium that after while doesn't really seem like noise, but more the instrumental to whatever you have to say. Walking through the Chicago-like skyscrapers of San Francisco's financial district a constant nipping wind rushes us back to our Oakland cove.