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I got my craziness sorted out in the morning, right on schedule, and was feeling content and satisfied that I did so, when I get a frantic instant message from Monistat telling me that the remix of her drag number I made for her last night is missing half of the song.  I was checking the flight status for United because I had a guest who was coming to stay with me for his 24 hour layover on his way from Tokyo back to the East Coast.  I did just what I understood Monistat asked me to do, cut out the first 89 seconds of the song, but upon listening to it, and her explaining that she only wanted the first 17 seconds of the intro and no overture, I was able to mix it down to something presentable and e’mail it to her just by the time that Aikane called to tell me that he had just been processed through customs.  I tried adjusting it to make the remix sweeter, but Garage Band  v 2.02 was fucking me up, cutting the song up as I tried to import it from iTunes.

I met my visitor,Aikane, in Hawaii when I was there visiting my family around 6 or 7 years ago.  Whenever Madonna’s Drowned World Tour was, because then I had grown my afro out and was wearing it corn-rowed.  We met at a Karaoke bar in Waikiki called the In-Between, and I fell in love with his voice.  He was a hula dancer on a dinner cruise and he invited me to come on the tour and I did, with my mom and my niece who was about 3 at the time.  We hung out, Aikane and I circled the island, talked, shared and started a great friendship.  I met his family, he met mine, he took me to that heiau on the North Shore and although he carried his ‘ukulele around, he didn’t play it for me that day.  

We lost touch when I returned to the Mainland.  I was missing Hawaii and he fondly emerged in the landscape of my recollection.  Wondering if I could find him on facebook, I did.  He accepted my friend request, but he didn’t recall exactly  who I was.  I reminded him that my mom’s car got towed out in front of his place and that was sufficient enough for him to place me.  I found out that he lives on the East Coast and teaches Hula in Tokyo.  I invited him to stop in San Francisco when he lays over and he was excited at the notion and he did.

Picked him up at 9 and decided to drive him back to the City the long way on 280.  In the car I discovered he hadn’t been to San Francisco in 13 years, so I drove him through Dolores Street.  Both of us needing coffee, I took him to the Starbucks on 18th Street, better known as Starbears.  He bought me a coffee and we sat outside.  I confessed to him that I was absolutely broke and had no money because I was getting paid on Saturday.  He assured me to not worry about it and I was in luck because he just got paid.  That was a relief.  I was really worried about being broke and having a friend visit and not being able to do anything.  Even my cards are maxed ($9 balance on AMEX, notwithstanding).  

So we went back to my flat and he offered to make breakfast when we were driving there.  That would have been cool, but was afraid of the cockroaches coming from under the oven when I turned it on would make breakfast a horror story.  We secured his baggage at my flat and headed off to the Coast for breakfast. 

Louis’ is without a doubt one of my favorite destinations for breakfast or brunch in this whole city.  Perched on a cliff above the Sutro Baths with a view of Seal Rock and the towering Cypresses that crown Lands End there is a no more scenic restaurant in all the world to enjoy basic, traditional and exceptional tasting American style diner food.  Aikane ordered a burger on a sourdough French Roll and I, ignoring my sugar eradication program, ordered a bacon cheeseburger.  After brunch, we went for a hike down in the Sutro Baths.  Aikane was impressed by the ruins.  I told him how old Chinese ladies would forage for Bok Choy that they planted down the rivulets that seep from the dunes above to drain in the baths.  I realized that I must have meant Watercress.  Foraging myself, however, I found the most fragrant, rich, purple Thai Basil that I ever smelled in my life.

I tried to make the Sea Cave sound all scary, just to tease Aikane.  It really is nothing.  Told him stories how we would go down to the Baths after a Rave back in the good old days when we were Club Kids and San Francisco was in the throes of a heat wave.  We began to hike up the trail back to the parking lot and I noticed that Aikane was walking with a noticeable limp and I was just about to ask him if he was ok and what was wrong with his leg when I recalled that he told me, years back in Hawaii, that he was involved in a tragic traffic accident when he was about three years old.  I commented that this hike uphill was tough and was definitely going to go in my trail running journal as an activity as Hiking.

I think I rambled obsessively (cos that describes me) about running the trails in the area we were in, what being out in nature means to me and my interactions with the environment and the creatures that inhabit it.  From Sutro Park, I drove him up to the Palace of the Legion of Honor and made him take a picture of the City from there.  Then down to Baker Beach where we could look for dolphins, touch the water and see one of the most famous perspectives of the Golden Gate Bridge.  A drive through the historic Presidio to the Palace of Fine Arts, site of the 1914 Pan Pacific Exposition, which introduced Hawaiian Culture to the world at large and from where the vaudevillian ‘ukulele and Hula craze exploded from in the early 20th Century.  I also told him that the Palace of Fine Arts had just been recently restored, it does look fabulous, and how there, and Baker Beach and the Cable Car Turnaround is a place where it is mandatory for San Franciscans to take their engagement or wedding day photos at (I’m not sure about the Cable Car, but its good to make story).

We continued our tour down the Marina noticing that a grand piano, a horse sculpture or a telescope are de rigueur window dressings for the fabulously rich homes facing the waterfront.  By then my fuel indicator had flashed on empty and I was prepared to use the last of my AMEX balance on gas to continue our tour.  We passed by my old middle school Marina, and I pulled into a gas station on Lombard.  Aikane got out of the car and slid his credit card through the pump before I could even get out of the car.  I filled up the Contour with $19.99 worth of gas and Aikane brought me a diet 7up.

Since we were on Lombard I thought we’d continue down it to the section commonly titled the “Crookedest Street in the World.”  I also told Aikane ofthe dubious nature of this title and where the most crooked street really is in Potrero Hill.  Seeing Coit Tower in the distance thought to continue all the way up there, we did, then came back down through North Beach, Chinatown, Downtown Union Square and finally up Howard Street to my house so I could go get some quarters for the parking meters in the Castro and have another coffee at Starbears.

Not wanting to be a total chump, I was able to buy my guest an ice coffee  and myself a sugar free vanilla cappuccino with my remaining balance.  We sat and enjoyed the passersby, Aikane impressed with how gay everything is in the Castro.  I told him I should do a guerilla art campaign in the Castro with the Mickey Mouse head Icon in Rainbow stripes with the text “Welcome to Disneyland tm ” against a dark background.  Probably won’t do, but its an idea for Pride.  After that we went up to Twin Peaks, cos a San Franciscan car tour wouldn’t be complete without that vista.

Back at the flat, feeling reconnected, Aikane played me a song on my ‘ukulele and I played him the song I wrote about him, “Island Boy,” and also the one I wrote about Hi’iaka I ka Poli O Pele, “Lehua Trees.”  He settled down on the couch and I played him a record and left him to crash out while I went to my office in the back to manage my twits.

When he woke up, he was ready for dinner.  I asked him what he wanted for dinner and he wanted some good seafood.  Perfect, another excuse to go back to the Castro where after almost an hour wait we were seated at the Anchor Oyster Bar, a Castro staple since 1977.  The food was well worth the wait, and my leftovers tasted good for my lunch today.  Timing it just right, we were able to make the drag show at Charlie Horse so Aikane could meet some of my friends and see Monistat’s drag number that just almost made me late to pick him up from the airport that morning because I had to re-remix the remix for my bgff’s number.

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One Comment

  1. It’s nice to re-connect with people…


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