My little sister is in town visiting me this week, and when I asked her what she most wanted to see while she was here in San Francisco, she responded, “the beach”. I hemmed and hawed on the first few days that she was here, taking her all around the neighborhoods closest to me, but she finally pinned me down yesterday and demanded that I take her to the ocean. Not that I have anything against the ocean; I just don’t usually make it out that far.
Yesterday, we took San Francisco's N-Judah bus out past the Civic Center, past Duboce Park, past glimpses of the Castro and people from the Haight, past even the edges of Golden Gate Park, to the end of the line. We stepped off of the train and I immediately had to don a jacket, as the cold breeze hit my bare arms. My sister laughed, saying, “relish it! Do you know what it’s like in Tucson right now?” I had to admit that being able to wear a jacket in August is a nice treat when you come from a place which is currently boasting one hundred and ten degree heat.
Still, I’m something of a baby when it comes to discomfort, and I wanted something warm to drink before we stepped on to the sand, so we stopped in at the little coffee shop there, Java Beach. It has a pleasant atmosphere, with people working on their laptops and families laughing excitedly after coming in from the ocean. It also has eight different types of coffee to choose from which won my heart, although I almost got the hot apple cider because my sister’s cup of it was so delicious.
Warm drinks in hand, we crossed the street and stepped on to the sand dunes. The Pacific Ocean splayed itself out before us. The waves rolled in, topped by a couple of straggling surfers. A man ran past us with his dog. An elderly couple stopped and asked us if we wanted them to take our picture together. After playing for a few minutes in the freezing cold water and taking some more pictures to send to our parents, my sister and I found a concrete bench where we could sit and talk as we watched the ocean.
The word that comes to mind about Ocean Beach is pleasant. It is not a bustling, active beach such as Baker Beach. There are people there, but there is very little noise. It is a place to go for reflection, or quiet conversation, or silent walks on the shore. It’s nice to know that such a place exists such a short ride away from the activity of the city.