|Clang ….Clang… was the sound first heard as the city cable cars glided by, the old bells that have that distinct sound rings out to warn the pedestrians that a cable car is close, I caught my self humming the “San Francisco treat” jingle, remembering the old rice-aroni commercial from TV. Yes, people do hang off the running boards in anticipation of jumping from the car just at the right moment, or maybe they saw the TV commercial as well!! We arrived to the parking lot at about 10 am, plenty of places to park, just have to pay to park which was ok, security and safety is always a concern. Some folks who read these postings would rather not hear any ‘bad’ things, or ‘negative’ statements, I believe as we live with the negative and positive, we need to find the balance between the two, find our nitch, our place and live it the best way we can, maybe share just a little of both to acquire the best understanding of any story being told.
All that said, you need to hear that as we make our way through the crowds, ‘tourists’ naturally are targets, ‘locals’ stopping people looking for a bit of change. One lady stopped us, pant leg rolled up, bent over pointing to a scar that apparently has been healed for a long time, another man giving out old copies of newspapers for a dollar donation, stop lights are critical in the timing game as so many gadgets and trinkets available for sale to the tourists. Store owners quickly assessing your camera needs and articles of clothing, in those short few seconds between the changing of the crossing lights, you are asked to purchase a camera lens, a new camera, new coat, food…“did he say food?”…anyway, we have been down that road before so it was easy to walk away, get busy with the days sightseeing and photo opportunities.
Pier 41, 40 and 39 was our first target, that’s seems to be where all the people were headed, as the word indicates, it’s on the water, boats anchored throughout, stores everywhere, so many restaurants and clothing stores, gadgets, jewelry to be had. Carrousel and rides, candy stores, T-shirt shops, aquariums and of course the flowers boxes surrounded by benches. Tours being offered, half price, free drinks, large tour boats available, small individual boats also available, looking at the ‘independent owners’ of the small water craft, we had our doubts that we would have made it back again. Thinking about it all, they offered the same tour as the regular “ships” at half the price, didn’t take long to think about that one. Donna leaned over and stated, “those small tour boats remind me of the Gilligan Island TV show”… we didn’t take the “three hour tour”.
Donna took all the photo’s in this journal entry, I played with my video camera, hoping on putting together another video for the years down the road when we stop the traveling and are forced to listen to ourselves on audio, of course by then, I’ll have to tell Donna to “turn it UP, I can’t hear it, probably won’t be able to see the video either! Anyway, we stopped at a nice place for lunch, enjoyed Lobster Bisque, the first time for me….was quite impressed with the flavor, the fish was nice as well, as some of you know already, can’t ever copy British… “Fish ‘n Chips”.
Walking east, we came to the end of the wharf, stopped and had a good listen to a ‘blues man’…he played and sang well, had CD’s for sale, a can available for tips, was glad to donate to his musical talents, turned around and started walking west, ran into more folks that are feeling the economy and it’s bite. So many restaurants and the aromas of fish, crab and lobster cooking, tables filled with hungry tourist enjoying the 80 degree temperatures, the sunshine and the waterfront atmosphere.
As in many coastal towns, there are old Navy vessels to tour, here, one was the “Liberty ship” Jeremiah O’Brien, built by “Rosie the Riveters” in 1943 and the USS Pampanito (SS 383), a WWII submarine. I spoke to the ticket booth Navy Vet, the Jeremiah O’Brien was his ship, talking with him, I could tell that he had so many stories to tell beyond the few words he spoke of today, I also noticed his eyes diverted away, as I also took a look in the same direction, I caught Donna running down the wharf, she saw a large clipper ship sailing around the harbor, she had to get the picture for this entry, it was beautiful watching it as it’s bow slapped the waves, the sails catching the wind, pushing the ship past Alcatraz for the cruise around the bay towards Sausalito.
I find it difficult to express Donna’s gift of keen senses. As we walked along the wharf, she mentioned she had “heard” the bark of sea lions and then smelled a awful odor. I for one had no indicators of such sounds and certainly no such smells, this is when I secretly convince myself that age has come upon HER and has afflicted those senses! Wrong again, there were Sea Lions, plenty of them, some being chased off by the harbor patrol using water hoses, in the water they would slip, swim under the docks and come up on the other side where they were chased away from already. Constructed away from the docked boats were floating piers designed for the Sea Lions to ‘rest on’, apparently, not enough of the docks were created, the Sea Lions were fighting for space, knocking each other off, climbing on one another, lazy cusses is what I said, eat, sleep, throw fits with one another…hey, what a life, except for the smell!
The drive back took us through the city, up very steep roads, apartments and condo’s built on sloops, people bent over at the waist making the climb up, thinking about the trip home, I guess it would be a good time to attach skates to the shoes, for the trip DOWN HILL later in the day. It is still noticeable, cracks remain in some of the exteriors of the buildings from the 89 earthquake. We think, those who decide to remain here in this city have so many positive reasons to do so, we don’t believe they really think about any earthquakes, even though checking the web today, there has been 120 tremors and quakes in the last week or so, some even while we were visiting San Francisco yesterday. The weather, the coolness that comes from the fog, let’s not forget the even temps for most of the year and the friendly people for the most part are a asset to this part of the world. We say, sure San Francisco is a worth while trip, more then once? You bet, so many things that remain to see in this city.
The drive is a short 25 miles from our concrete jungle, close enough to get Donna to take that 3 hour tour, well really it’s only a hour and thirty minutes around the Bay, past Alcatraz, under the Golden Gate Bridge, past Angel Island and back again to dry land, she can’t swim and I’m out of shape…that’s not good for either one of us!