Monday 9 August 2004

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© 2004 Giles Orr

Barbara went on her bus tour to Sonoma. Anchor Brewing (best known for their beer, but now making rye, whisky, and gin as well) has no openings on their tour today, and the person I talked to says they have a souvenir shop but really not much reason to visit without the tour.

I walked to Jackson between Stockton and Grant to "Delicious Dim Sum" where we were yesterday. I bought three shu mi (pork), three pot stickers, three shrimp/veg, and a steamed barbecue pork bun. $4. I walked back to the hotel and ate it looking out the window, although I couldn't eat all of it.

I packed the remainder of my dim sum in my backpack and walked a couple blocks south to Geary where I caught the MUNI 38 bus west. MUNI single fare is a mere $1.25. The run out to the far side of the peninsula took a little less time than the one we took to the far end of Golden Gate park and Land's End. Sadly the Palace of the Legion of Honor, although it's out at Land's End, is closed Monday. So I miss all their Rodins and that's a major disappointment.

I got off at the end of the line and walked down to the Sutro Baths ruins. The Baths were there in the tens or the twenties, several large swimming pools. Now just the bases of concrete walls and stagnant water with happy sea birds. I followed the Coastal Trail all through Land's End, admiring fabulous views all the way. I love the trees and plants too: twisted evergreens, succulents, flowers. Relatively sparse and the grass is dry yellow-brown, but beautiful.

I'm sitting on a bench on a hillside in Land's End, surrounded by fencing, dry grass, and scrub cypress(?). It's been cloudy all day but I have a fine view of the Golden Gate Bridge because the fog has risen just above it. This is an incredibly beautiful park, emdodying everything good I remember about the California coast. Inside a city too. The paths are heavily worn and run all over the place, but I haven't seen many people. It's great. I hear wind, surf, the occasional seabird, and intermittent fog horns(?). No cars, no music, no people. If I lived here I could come visit any time, couldn't I?

When I sat there to write I wanted to stay there all day. As I walked around the point the views of the Golden Gate Bridge got better and better until I finally hit the small and extremely upscale residential area between Land's End and the Presidio. It would have been nice to carry on into the Presidio, but it appears to be a much more domesticated park and I have so little time left in the city.

I walked south a couple blocks and caught a MUNI bus into downtown. I was almost immediately surrounded by a group of Chinese kids who stayed with me all the way across town. They got off in Chinatown. It was strange to hear a couple of the older ones (12 or 13 years old?) switching without thinking between English and Chinese. They spoke mostly in English.

I got on BART going to Berkeley at Embarcadero station on Market Street, the heart of downtown SF. The train promptly takes a long dive under the Bay and pops up in an exceedingly industrial dock area on the Oakland side. The train is in and out of tunnels, but outside enough for the ride to be interesting, and it's sometimes even on an elevated line.

Berkeley seems to have even more homeless people than San Francisco. Students are probably a slightly more friendly target, but they have very little money to give ...

As soon as I oriented myself outside the station I headed right into the UCB campus because the Campanile (more properly "Sather Tower," and modeled on the San Marco Campanile in Venice) closed at 1600 and it was already 1500. I was up there at 1515 (a building that tall is easy to locate on a campus) peripherally listening to three UCB students complain about architects and the architecture on campus. One of them, apparently a psych major, claimed that the basement of the Psych building was laid out as a rat maze and he still had trouble finding rooms. Evidently the Music building has ... scales.

When I left I asked for directions to "The Last Dryad" and the university bookstore. The guide book highly recommend the Dryad, claiming her crotch is touched by those hoping for good luck in sexual encounters. It turns out to be a rather nice sculpture, as promised. I probably would have touched but there was a couple picnicking ten feet away on the grass and I was embarrassed. I settled for several pictures.

Most of the clothing and souvenirs at the university store were very athletics-oriented, and none of it appealed to me. Partly my urge to buy a regional sweatshirt was spent on the jacket at Aquarium on the Bay. I bought a bag of chips and sat down in near the student center to write.

I walked out of UCB campus south along Telegraph, clearly a main student corridor. I went about four blocks, then went four blocks west to Shattuck and walked back to the BART station. But before I boarded the train I went to Gelateria Naia for a mix of chocolate and lemon cream. It was good. I met Barbara at the hotel. We visited a couple local bars, but none of them had Old Potrero Rye or Whisky (from Anchor Brewing). We had dinner at King of Thai again at my request. I had Green Curry with chicken, which was very good. Barbara ordered some kind of beef noodle soup at and didn't enjoy it. She didn't eat much there and ate some of the chicken teriyaki from Sanraku that was in the hotel mini-fridge.

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by giles