As I mentioned earlier, I decided to stay at a different hotel this time, mostly due to the internet access issues at the usual place. As so often happens, I was wrong about everything.
My knowledge of San Francisco’s neighborhoods has clearly deteriorated since becoming a bumpkin. I thought Hotel B was in North Beach, which it might technically be, but it was much closer to the Wharf than what I think of as North Beach, where City Lights books, Vesuvio’s, and Molinari’s deli are, not to mention the Condor Club, the city’s oldest strip club. When I first moved to San Francisco, the Condor featured a neon sign of its famous topless dancer and early implants enthusiast Carol Doda, with her nipples flashing through the fog. I still miss that sign.
On my last day in the city, I headed out in search of bath salts so I could enjoy the bathtub in the hotel room. This proved more difficult than you’d think. I first went to Walgreen’s, which is in the old Tower Records building, but no luck. Then I headed toward Pier 39, where my brother and sister lived for so long. I discovered that Cost Plus World Market is still there, and the cash registers seem to be manned by the same ancient Asian guys who were there 20 years ago.
I scored heart-shaped, verbena-scented bath fizzes and a pomegranate face mask. I headed for Safeway on autopilot, passing what used to be a book store but is now a discount clothing place. Before I realized it, I was there, and picked up a few things including a bottle of wine to go with the bath fizzes and face mask. Back at the hotel, I cracked open the wine and had a relaxing bath with fizzes and mask.
The internet, however, was anything but relaxing. I called tech support every day, and every day there were problems. Even though they provided wired ethernet access, the internet still stopped working several times a day and most of the night. The fact that the tech support number is included on the same slip of paper with the user name and password should have given me a clue. It was pretty frustrating, and Hotel B actually cost more than Hotel A, so I think I’ll go back to the old place the next time I’m in town.