Thursday, May 14, 2009

Saturday. San Francisco: Burnt chin

I stayed in San Francisco last week and, on Friday night, as I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge after a day road trip to Calistoga, realised I had forgotten to book anywhere to stay that night. (All this living out of the back of my car is addling my already sun atrophied brain.)

It was too late to call any of my friends to beg a bed, every motel, hostel and B&B was fully booked and I was starting to contemplate shaking my sleeping bag out on the back seat of the car when my last call hit pay dirt: the Green Tortoise Backpacker's Hostel in North Beach had one bed left in a mixed dorm.

Not exactly ideal: in my experience ALL men snore and late bookers always get a top bunk, which means having to wear leggings in bed to avoid knicker flashing the guys in the bottom bunks when climbing the ladder.

Added to which parking in SF is a bitch, and North Beach (where I lived fifteen years ago) parking is just about the worst of all at a weekend. But someone loves me, because I found a free space (as opposed to a $30 overnight garage one), and the Hostel had jigged things around and found me a female-only dorm.

Next morning, I was curling my hair at the dorm basin (just because I was staying in a backpackers hostel didn’t mean I had to look like I did when I backpacked aged 20) when a fellow guest started chatting about NYC. Soon I was enthusiastically recommending galleries & restaurants. When I talk I wave my hands. A lot. Obviously this is not ideal with a hot curling iron in hand.

Within seconds I had managed to brand my chin. And curse EXTREMELY loudly. And explain that F**K wasn’t the name of a hot new NY bar. Christ, it hurt. A huge blister formed which wept and peeled all day. Attractive. And now I have a lovely burn mark right on my chin which I’m worried will get infected.

I have history in this arena, as lil’sis reminded me just this morning. (Parents: you can stop reading now.) A couple of years ago I got terrible stubble rash on my chin, and then went swimming next day in Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond. For the uninitiated, this is basically a duck pond masquerading as an open air swimming pool.

My chin was still very painful a week later when I lost my voice just before a live radio broadcast and rushed to my GP surgery in a panic for some prescription throat stuff. Elna our wonderful nurse looked at me in her lovely gentle way and remarked that I was obviously there to get antibiotics for the (huge weeping) sore on my chin. I hadn’t realised that I could get an infection from swimming. I am an idiot.

San Simeon pier
Me and my sore chin on the (very windy) pier at San Simeon harbour, Central Coast, California on Sunday