Where You Think You Are

We each gave Lance, the cable car guy our business cards, because he said he'd send the pictures we took of each other, using his camera, to us. Actually, he said his wife would do it, which made me feel possibly more reassured, although the pictures are so boring that I can't fathom what he would do with them. He was bemused of our stories of Canada, and tried to insist that Canada's economic stimulus package should give him a swimming pool. I am sucking on the candy he handed to me, and smiling that he got a camera to take pictures of the tourists, because they always take pictures of him.

The Cable Car guys in SFO are well, colourful. They are loud and sarcastic, and not grumpy, but what my mother would call mouthy. They'll throw you off the car with out a by your leave, because it's full, and they'll stop the car on a street corner, to argue about the sports pool with a colleague.

We took the cable car to the wharf this morning, although we got on the wrong one, and missed our first sailing. And if a vacation is anything, it is a chance to remind yourself to relax, to go with the flow, and to seek out opportunities to be more zen like. As a bonus, we did not have Jane with us, boring and frustrating, insisting on "re-calculating" every 3 minutes.

Today was a zen like day. We did not do much of anything we planned on, or if we did it, we did it out of order and slightly off kilter. Alcatraz was amazing, if only because while everyone started at cell blocks and bars, we started at the gardens, lovingly restored to what they used to be. I struggled to name plants, not because I did not know them, but because my brain would fight. What is an annual, small and paltry in Alberta, is a bush, a shrub, a tree, a vine to cover the side of your house. I know fushia, I do not know it as a shrub, trained up the wall.

We wound up at a place called butterfly, which was a wonderful meal, but not what we planned. My blisters had blisters, and we took decided to take the cable car home for a brief nap. I entertained myself during the wait for the car, by petting the jazz musicians' rabbit. She was sweet and small and cuddly, and oh, I miss the boys and girls at home.

We were going to take the cable car and bus to the Mission district, but through a comedy of errors, we wound up 16 blocks into the Haight-Ashbury district.

Haight-Ashbury is the stuff of my personal legend. I have loved its music, its ethos since I was a teenager. While others talked about Woodstock, I thought of the Summer of Love. It was poverty and poetry, drugs and direct action. I love the music, the rebellion, the very idea of creating, of being something new.

Every neighbourhood in SFO has a smell. The real wharf smells of fish, the start of the tourist wharf has sourdough, Alcatraz is steeped in fog and salt and honeysuckle. Downtown smells, well of money, as I look at the big stores. Mission smelled of tamales, taco's, and hait, well, Haight still smelled, just a bit of jasmine incense.

The area was commercialized, with the idea of gentrification taking root. There did not seem to be much to indicate what had happened there. I thought of the video I had seen about the Indian occupation on Alcatraz, hours earlier, and I thought what I have been thinking about since arriving yesterday:

How things change.

One last request - this the day before my birthday. Aunt Becky has written my birthday blog, but I would like if you would comment, in the next few days, to tell me who you are, why you read, and when you started. Consider it a simple way to make my Birthday special.