San Francisco is gay mecca. If you stand on the corner of 18th and Castro you will eventually see every gay man in the free world pass by. And now Burqa Boy can say he's been there, too.
We arrived in San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge. The weather was perfect with the city lit with afternoon light and wrapped with a thin fog around the edges of the mountains. Alcatraz floated in the bay; Sutro Tower loomed above; and the Lombard Street welcomed us with it's winding embrace.
It's hard not to be seduced by San Francisco. It's a sparkling castle perched on the sea and filled with the legends of thousands of magical artists who passed through and left a bit of themselves behind.
Burqa Boy fell under the spell of the city. We looked down on the city from Twin Peaks, spent an evening watching all three hours of Dr. Zhivago at the Castro Theater, rode the cable cars to Fisherman's wharf where we listened to the barking of sea lions. We ate real Chinese food with the Fites-Chan Clan and tangoed in the Tonga Room with Sister Dana. San Francisco really is one of only three acceptable places* to live in the United States and contends with Manhattan to be the top of this list.
(Burqa Boy's magic worked wonders in San Francisco - we managed a rare sighting of Vivian and Marion Brown which turned into a conversation about their lives and careers.)
After four days in San Francisco, we turned the Smart Car south toward Los Angeles and a different kind of magical kingdom.
The Magic Kingdom
I'm not a fan of children. They're loud. They use more resources than a Ford Excursion. They touch things and leave colonies of infectious germs. They are generally accompanied by both large strollers and parents with poor social skills. Because it's illegal to throw children and their strollers into nearby ponds or lakes, I try to avoid situations where I'll be tempted to do so. This is why I prefer to visit Disneyland when school is in session and a well timed stock market crash makes it too expensive for anyone with a mortgage.
We managed to pick the perfect day for visiting the Magic Kingdom. The child/adult ratio was low enough to require just a single Xanax and the lines were so short we could visit any attraction with minimal wait. Burqa Boy fell in love with Pirates of the Caribbean (despite the recent addition of Johnny Depp) and insisted we ride it sixteen times. I preferred the new Toy Story ride which allows you to shoot a laser in the eyes of other riders including small children.
The following day Burqa Boy put his feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time in his life while a body builder flexed his buttocks and Falun Gong practitioners posed on the beach nearby.
We finished our week with a visit to Bill and Andy, owners and creators of the Big Muscle online empire. While we were sworn to secrecy as to the actual location of the Big Muscle lair, we can say it is somewhere in Palm Springs, California. (We did get exclusive video - click here for more...) It takes Da Vinci Code reasoning to find the place, but the clerk at the local video store can probably give you the first clue you'll need.
(If you haven't yet seen our Special Report, click here to see what happened as we left Palm Springs...)
Where are we headed next? Come back next week and find out....
Click here to send Sister Betty or Burqa Boy a note! Tell us what you think of Road Trip 2008!
Get even more Sister Betty! Add Sister Betty to your Twitter account for special, Twitter-only updates from the road! Betty's user name is SisterBetty.
With Twitter you can even have updates sent to your mobile phone!