24 August 2006

Things I loved about our trip to San Francisco, Part 1: Getting there

It had been three years since our last visit, too long. So it was a pleasure to touch down on the narrow landing strip on the San Francisco Bay. It was clear and hot the day we arrived. My daughter and I came out early and went to Marin on BART/Ferry, which meant our day was getting up before six, my sweetie driving us to the airport, airport train, plane to L.A., lunch with one of the grandpas, and back to the aiport and another plane to San Francisco, the airport train, the BART train to the Ferry, and the Ferry to Larkspur, where our friends were there to meet us with their car. Phew! I must have thanked myself ten times for ditching some of my stuff and repacking into a small wheeled suitcase on which I could carry my daughter's booster seat. She was quite enthusiastic about the many modes of transportation and wheeled her suitcase everywhere. I had also found a Dora the Explorer's kid's-sized carry-on at a thrift store a few months back and had put it on the present shelf. This seemed like the perfect time to give it to the little one, and indeed it was nice to be able to check her suitcase and leave her with a hands' free case she liked and could easily manage. She likes to bring Maya the pink poodle these days; she is getting glimpses of many airports from her soft toy pet carrier.

The best part of the trip was certainly the ferry ride. It was hot and clear, amazingly so for summer in the Bay Area. We sat out on the back and got sprayed and splashed with the salty Bay water, having been amply warned by someone talking with his friend so that we could hear him and saying how it cracks him up to see the tourists getting wet. We didn't mind the water, though -- in fact, my daughter was quite surprised and fascinated by the saltiness. I thought at some point we'd get cold air streaming in from outside the Bay but a chill only lasted about three minutes before it was hot again.

The guy talking with his friend reminded me of someone I knew in college from working on the newspaper. He was funny and interesting, and I had the sensation that he was flirting with me without even talking to me. But he was just the kind of person I would have gravitated toward at a party, so I just basked in the sun and moist air while my daughter delighted in the wind and waves. I listened as he and his friend had beers from the ferry bar and bantered and groused about working with Google folks who paid stunningly little for their stock in the IPO (one tenth of one cent per share) and are ridiculously rich now. At one point he speculated that he'd understand about having kids soon enough (this made me look for a ring, which he did not wear). Then guy's phone rang at one point. "That sounds like a real phone," said his friend, surprised at the old-school ring tone. "It is," funny guy said. "I finally got rid of the toy one a few months ago."

At the end of our half-hour cruise, funny guy offered me a hand with our luggage, which I just couldn't bring myself to accept, given that I still had a hand free. But I had this funny feeling that I'd sort of met a sweet, gallant fellow and I wish him well in the world.

More highlights to come....

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