Bay Area Visit: Concluded

Quite belatedly, the tail end of my Bay Area visit! With more bullets! And soluble fiber! (actually, it's true... U-Boat and Christy introduced me to psyllium husk during my visit... )

  • Brunch at Isla de la Tortuga: What can I say? Brunch, Teps, lots of fresh produce, southern-style grits with shrimp, tomato pie, and U-Boat seeing what he could feed into the juicer. Good times, awesome hosts, wonderful guests. We ended up kicking out the last of the people around 7 PM.

  • Dinner at Lucky and Karthiga's: at brunch, they invited me, Christy, and U-Boat over for dinner. It was very nice to catch up with them and Jayshan; dinner was delicious Sri Lankan food, and Karthiga, coming from Australia, made pavlova (a meringue-based dessert).

  • Wandering Golden Gate National Recreation Area (the beaches on the west side of the peninsula) with Dan: we rode the N Judah MUNI all the way out to Ocean Beach. It amazed me that there was that big of a stretch of park still within San Francisco proper. I guess it is the ocean side, so it's the part that would not have been made into a harbor, and stayed a beach.

    Photo above is Cliff House (the modern addition). It is actually the third one built on that site; the first two burned down. Speaking of burning down, there are some wonderful ruins down by the water of Sutro Baths, a public bath house that burned down during demolition in 1966. This site has a load of historical pictures, including before and after it [was] burned down. A great quote from that website:

    Beyond the striking location and colorful history, it's especially remarkable for such a place to exist in a country where few structures past their best days survive.

    It's allowed to be harrowing and wild in a time and place where shampoos carry warnings and most interesting things are cordoned off for your protection. Here's the playground for those who love crumbling stone clubhouses, jutting pipe monkeybars, stairways that lead you off cliffs and shifting sandboxes that get swallowed by surf.

    I guess it's not in the league of Roman ruins and remains of European castles, but it was still pretty cool to wander around in.

  • Ferry Building: I spent that afternoon with Perlick and Christy, and we wandered over to the Ferry Building--it had a major renovation completed in 2003, and is now a bunch of (relatively yuppie-ish) food and retail shops. I believe that Jamie S.'s wife's cheeses are sold in the shop there.

    We started walking along the Embarcadero to CalTrain, so I could get down to South Bay for the evening. With about 10 minutes left, I asked Perlick, "So, we're almost there, right?" Actually, we were only about halfway. Jogging to make the train with my pack really sucked... a good reminder that my cardiovascular health needs serious improvement. Made the train with moments to spare, though.

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium: the next day, Jen, Max, Delaney and I drove down to the aquarium. It's a great aquarium--got to see penguin feedings, the scuba diver in the kelp tank, the shark and jellyfish displays, the cannery display (the area was originally Cannery Row.. as in John Steinbeck) and the tide pools. I really have to say that MAx and Delaney are amazingly smart and well-behaved kids, after observing the others around me. Max seems like his brain is in total information-sponge mode.. it was pretty neat to watch.

    It is work for me to get my head into kid-interaction-mode... I guess I spend so much of my time being an inhibited stuffy grown-up that it doesn't come naturally. But I heard that Max really enjoyed the company of his uncle Bats, so that made me happy.

  • I gave my conference paper in Monterey... but that's another post (see the f'locked LJ post). But the upshot was that I ended up getting back up to SF by lunchtime, so I got to spend an entire extra afternoon/evening hanging out with folks!--[Bay Area Visit: Extra Bonus Round!].

    Incidentally, I found it oddly comforting to get around the Bay Area on the various transit systems (CalTrain, BART), given the familiarity I've developed. I actually get a goofy smile on my face when I hear the robovoice announce "PITTSBURGH/BAY POINT TRAIN APPROACHING 9 CAR TRAIN."

  • Paramecium Woman was free for a late lunch, so we met at the Mission & 16th BART stop. It has, um, urban charm, I guess... including public urination! As I got to street level, I heard this dripping water sound, and rounded the corner to see a guy not-all-that surreptitiously letting go next to the trash bin.

    Anyway, Xris and I ate at Burger Joint on Valencia, which is one of the "Top 10 Burgers in San Francisco"--their hot dogs and burgers are Niman Ranch meat. Definitely tasty... and just the thing after consuming breakfast while driving.

  • Squid Labs was holding a going-away party for one of their interns, so I got to glom on to the boat ride they were throwing for him. We motored out (in a very small, seemingly overloaded sailboat) from the Emeryville piers, and dropped anchor in the Bay to hang out, eat, drink, and enjoy the view of the Bay Bridge, Berkeley, and San Francisco. Wow... what a way to end the trip.

It was quite flattering and fun that many of the Bay Area folks actively tried to recruit me during my visit. Yeah, you know who you are. And coming home to KW was a pretty convincing argument in itself, looking at the supermarket produce, experiencing the humidity, and smelling the pig farms in the west. But I think I need to keep the Bay Area as the special place that I go to--avoiding the whole 'familiarity breeds contempt' aspect, so that it retains its place in my mind. At least that's what I'll keep telling myself as I deal with the snow this winter. Heh.


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