Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Last Day in San Francisco

We’re still in the hotel room, but will pack and leave soon– Golden Gate park in the plans today, checked out, plane tonight. Yesterday Andy and I walked up up up to the Cable Car Museum and then up up some really steep hills to Coit Tower, which I liked for the Depression era works administration socialist realism murals– quite good ones, really, and the woman who gave the money for the tower had been a little girl in 1906 and cheered the fire fighters and was named their mascot.

From there, with the usual wash of brilliant light and lovely if slightly smoggy views, we took a bus down to Fisherman’s Wharf, which was super touristy with people selling tours and boats coming in and out and long lines for the ladies’ room. But we got Boudin sourdought bread bowls of good chowder, clam for Andy, crab and corn fo me, and then went to the submarine you can visit. I was only going along for Andy, but it was actually a very worthwhile even moving half hour– the audio tour had voices of guys who had been on this ship or others, old world war II American guy voices, those slightly thin Midwestern to movie tough guy from the west or Brooklyn voices, touching, especially the story of how they rescued a lot of British and Australian prisoners of war floating in the ocean after they had blown up the Japanese ship the prisoners were being transported on. As for the gray paint and compressed quarters– a claustrophobe’s nightmare. I kept imagining I smelled the eighty plus men with rare showers and too much heat with too little air.

From there, we made our way very slowly by cable car and muni subway over to Joel’s office on Mission and First Street, saw the office, which I had pictured, seven or eight guys with big computers, but also a “machine room” full of enormous computing power and air conditioners, and then a whole other office suite where they play “fish pong,” their own team sport based on ping pong, competitiveness, and group esprit..

Back to the hotel for a swim (me) and a shower, Joel joined us, we joined Sarah on the BART for a ride to La Taqueria in the Mission District, followed by a lot more walking in that rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, tons of restaurants and bars, more attractive bookstores, one with wonderful pages taped to the window of Memorials of people in the arts and politics by an artist that I really liked (see her page at http://www.veronicadejesus.com) . Many murals, which I liked a lot, especially on the Women Building that Sarah took us to. The next time I come out, I’m going to get a mural tour of the city, or maybe just the one a nonprofit called Pacita Eyes (?) gives of local Mission District stuff. Then back to the hotel, exhausted and sad again over Joel growing up and leaving. He’s a great host, but he doesn’t live with us anymore.

And now we've got a lot day ahead with a visit to Golden Gate park, museum, airplane.

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