As I walk the streets, in whatever city I inhabit for that day, I am the most comfortable being me – simply watching the world go by, while my mind is free to wander. That said, while most people I know who travel to the bay area head straight for downtown San Francisco, with its plethora of ethnic restaurants and vintage cable cars, I prefer to meander through the lovely Burlingame neighborhoods filled with quiet, tree-lined streets, and pocket gardens overflowing with Bougainvillea.
The “downtown” of Burlingame is loaded with boutique shops, big name clothing stores dressed as boutique shops, coffee houses and cafes galore. One in particular, The Crepevine, has come to be my standby; a cafe-style restaurant with an open patio adorned with a fireplace, potted plants, and a menu which allows me to create my own scrumptious savory crepes filled with anything I desire, never lets me down. After sipping my fresh squeezed orange juice, and filling my belly while relaxing on the warm patio for a while, I head straight for the Farmer’s Market across the street, which is always bustling with locals. Fruits, vegetables, flowers, breads, deserts and fresh honey greet every sense I have and literally scream at me to touch, taste and smell them all. It is what every Farmer’s Market should be; locally grown, locally owned and locally loved.
With my bag filled with fruits and vegies to take home, I walk the half block to the small, but very full, Books, Inc, where I’ll easily spend the next hour or so perusing the aisles of books and daydreaming even more. Bookshops always smell good to me. Even used bookshops smell good. It’s a different good, but a good nonetheless. Likewise, I find the most peculiar interactions always happen in, or around, a bookshop. In fact, during my last visit to Books, Inc, while I was thumbing through the Best Sellers shelf, an elderly woman standing beside me picked up a small stuffed unicorn off of the shelf next to the books and began studying it. At that point, another woman (older, but not quite as old) who wore all black and had long curly grey hair walked up to her and said, “My niece has a real unicorn, and it’s quite lovely,” then turned and walked away. That was it. No conversation about unicorns – nothing – just threw the statement out there and left. The elderly women simply looked at me, gently placed the unicorn back on the shelf and walked away herself. I glanced at the unicorn, raised my eyebrow, then decided to go check out the mysticism section…..