Tattered wisps of fog stream overhead as you stand at the nexus of Powell and Market. An incredible bustle of humanity swirls through here as tourists wait for the Powell Street cable car, office workers dressed in chic clothes and comfy walking shoes hurry past, the homeless and terminally underemployed panhandle everyone, commuters rush into the BART station, and shoppers head into the many stores and restaurants.
Looking westwards up Market Street and beyond the Castro district, the blinking lights of Sutro Tower on top of Twin Peaks catches your eye. Glancing the other way, you admire the venerable clock tower at the old Ferry Building, and the curve of the great Bay Bridge behind it. Some streets still look the way they did in Dashiell Hammett's day. Others are totally high tech and modern. It's a complex, beautiful city that repays exploration.
The tops of the buildings are lit with the fading glow of the sunset. A warm, soft wind flutters the newspapers and jackets of the crowd waiting for a cable car.