Still worn down from the train ride and late night, I hung around the hostel until four, when I forced myself to leave. Hiked up Russian Hill, the highest hill in the city. The famous cable cars were built pretty much for this purpose - the hill was home to rich oil barons and suchlike who wanted to build their mansions on a nice imposing hillside but did not want the inconvenience of actually walking up the damn thing. Strolled through North Beach, the Italian district and home of the west coast beat generation. Visited the City Lights Bookstore, a bookstore/publishing house that was named a historical landmark for its role in counterculture poetry and literature. the visit lasted longer than I planned when I started leafing through Kerouac's Dharma Bums... when I looked up it was two hours later (I lost track of time in a bookstore, who would have guessed).
Walked through Chinatown, ate a lotus bun and watched the tail end of a dragon parade. The SF Chinatown may be touristy and over the top, but it's still pretty neat. The buildings are beautiful and strings of paper lanterns are hung everywhere. I need to go back down there at night.