Thursday, 18 June 2015

Take California

Listening to the Propellerheads to get in the mood to write this.

Just back from my California trip. It was many things. Most of them fun, some a bit disappointing. But I met lots of old friends, talked endlessly about beer and other shit.

And met some dead cool new people, visited a new country, observed beards and tattoos, missed out on eating in Japantown and Chinatown in San Francisco, eat oysters in Baja California, bought my son Mezcal in Aladin's cave, rode a commuter train, filled my camera's memory card in Toronado, drank a Heineken recipe brewed by Stone, had my first beer in a bar named Amsterdam, dodged breakfast (mostly), grazed on a barbecue doggy bag for days, photographed more buildings than people, snapped more kettles the faces, spent more on taxis than food, scribbled thoughts at the bar, paid more for orange juice than the accompanying breakfast, stayed in Victorian hotels, drank lots of cask, photographed pints in sexy poses, saw more trams, drank Californian Mild, watched fragments of random baseball games, an England team win a game, took enough photos to recall what the fuck I did, almost failed to find my own event.

Sat back and took a breath.

Was reminded of the Berlin wall, rode in circles around Tijuana, drank in brewery made of containers overlooking the Pacific, tasted the mint in its garden, navigated by a roundabout Moctezuma, had my best meal in years, noted continued barrel fever, was bemused by pricing, remembered to pronounce it Plyny (and why it deserves the hype), learned to dodge San Francisco's slopes, drank Californian Mild in multiple  pubs, walked a beach whose name I can't remember after midnight, grabbed surreptitious snaps in pubs, overheard someone describe taking his dad to a gay bar, learned of reverse commuting, spotted PCC cars in service, discussed the physical act of writing, gave most of my change to a sad looking man, forgot tram photos no longer excite the kids, saw street signs in Japanese, streets without street signs, pagodas, a drug free zone, cracked roads, brightly painted houses, stained glass banker's chique, the homeless piled desolately on pavements, ate tacos from a food cart. Appreciated Americana.

And drank some rather nice beer.

That's the highlights. Now I think about it, that's pretty much covered my trip. Magic. It'll save both me and you lots of pain.


Phil said...

"Plyny"? YM "PLY-nee"? That's deeply wrong. Although not as wrong as "ply-ny".

How was the mild?

Ron Pattinson said...


the Mild wasn't bad at all.

Gary Gillman said...

Nice. I know Woerner's well. When it was owned by the original family, it used to have a line of bourbon and other spirits named for it. It was well-selected and better than the name brands you get in every liquor store in America. Ownership changed, and no doubt liquor retailing practices, and the house bourbon is no longer to be found there (not last I looked). The sign though recalls its heyday, plus much else about Americana. (Tommy's Joint is only a hop and skip from there, sounds like you missed it).

The thing about America to understand is, in its essence, it is an extension of Britannia. That is its cultural and historical background and why every Brit I've ever known loves the place when (should need be) he/she is really pressed about it.

The British, Canadians and Americans have a bond that ne'er shall be broken. At bottom each community knows this.

Gary Gillman

Willie said...

Glad you enjoyed it. I drank in the Toronado when it first opened, looking forward to the pics.