No wonder Tony Bennett left his heart here, it truly is one of the world’s loveliest cities. We’ve only been here 24 hours and had such a fabulous time already. Great flight on Air New Zealand – watched the real Frost/Nixon interviews and felt like weeping we don’t have interviewers of that calibre any more. Frost was actually considered a bit of a lightweight, not a great intellectual, but he knew when to shut up, when not to interrupt, and to let Nixon just talk, and boy did Nixon talk. As soon as I get back I’m going to order these from Amazon and just sit down and watch them again for the sheer pleasure.
We’re at the Four Seasons Hotel on Market Street and it’s great. Here’s the view from outside our window and as you can see, I’ve mastered wireless – just hooked up to the Four Seasons’ system and charged it to my Visa card.
Yesterday when we arrived we had a brief rest, then went next door to the Press Club for a beaut wine tasting – Hanna Winery Sauvignon Blanc which was nicer than most NZ Savvys (I don’t like NZ Savvy hush my mouth – too grassy these days), Chateau Montelena Riesling (the winery from that bad movie “Bottle Shock”), Hanna Russian River Pinot Noir (too hot, alcohol too high but good nose), Miner Family Oracle (perfect Bordeaux nose but I thought the palate was too hot but Colin was more positive about it), but best of all was a lovely Miner family Viognier – absolutely lovely wine, picked at brix 25.5, same as ours this year, and if our Viognier turns out like that we shall be very happy.
Then we went on to dinner at a private house at Pacific Heights with a stunning view out to Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge. Well, it would have been a stunning view if it wasn’t for the famous SF fog. We could just see Alcatraz. But the house was incredible – breathtaking objets d’art everywhere one turned, three levels high, one of those darling wooden colonial style houses which New Zealand copied at the turn of the last century. We met some wonderful people, including a great couple from Santa Barbara. He represented the late Art Buchwald and many other journalists who have been pushed around by spineless publishers, so he and I got along famously. Wished my former editor from North & South magazine, Robyn Langwell, was there. She would have loved him.
Today we set out on a legal walk around SF – the tour itinerary was given to Colin by a NZ judge who’d done it some years ago and it was really great because not only were the destinations really interesting, we went up and down streets I’d never otherwise thought of heading through. We started out at Union Square and the St Francis Hotel, where in Suite 1219-21 in 1921 the female friend of one Fatty Arbuckle died from the effects of a ruptured bladder. Many years ago I read the book about his famous trials – three – for rape and murder, “The Day the Laughter Stopped”. Sad. Here’s a photo of the beautiful clock lobby:
This is a scupture atop the San Francisco Moma:
We stopped to rest (and CCQC to send emails on his Blackberry) outside the SF’s tallest building, the Transamerica Pyramid with its grove of 80 redwood trees, so I lay down to take this photo looking up:
and beside us was this bronze in the little lunch-eaters’ park, titled “puddle jumpers”: