24 August 2005

Rice-a-roni ...

Yazza and Beam and the kids came into the city yesterday and we spent the day doing touristy things, starting with getting everyone an extra fleece or sweatshirt to wear 'cuz it's bloody cold down by the water and they'd decided the wharf was the place to take me.

We had lunch at theBoudin Bakery bistro, then went through their bread museum and watched them making enormous amounts of bread at a time. San Francisco sourdough really does taste different. I figured I would have fish once, since I'm in San Francisco ... it was very good (and the tartar sauce was fantastic! It's all about the condiments).

We got in a rather long line-up to ride the cable cars, listened to some ... interesting ... music by a few amplified buskers all playing at once along the line-up, watched the cable car guys turn the cars around as they came in, and finally got onto one of them. The fellow collecting the fares took our money and gave us tickets, then gave the younger boy a few dollars change (which we didn't have coming), making his day. The cable car ride was very cool ... up and down streets with dickensian streetfronts looming over us in the fog, with the sound of the brakes and cable-grabber levers and steel wheels on rails, and the smell of the scorched wooden brakes in the air ... quite magical, and the older boy was tickled that he got to ride at the very front of the cable car.

At the other end, we got Beam and the boys some socks 'cuz it was even colder out once it got dark. The older of the boys had a pocket full of change and had been thinking all day about what he was going to buy with it. While we were standing in the line-up again to take the cable car the other way, he decided what he'd really like to do was give his change to a fellow in a wheelchair who'd been hanging about talking to people 'cuz he thought that fellow could make better use of it. Very cool. A guy came along and told us about the streets and the cable cars and the neighbourhood at that end of the tracks ... turns out he doesn't work for the cable cars, but is a rather creative homeless guy. He was sweet and told good stories, we tipped him well. The younger boy got to ride at the very front of the cable car on the way back, and the older one got to stand on the step and hold on. Both were beside themselves, having so much fun.

We had dinner in a sports bar in hotel near the wharf and had a waiter who was not having a very good day at all, poor guy. From his bearing and speech, I think he's highly educated and not too impressed with working there ... on the other hand, he coulda been just plain crabby. Ours was the last car left in the parking lot by the time we were done. We had a great time getting thoroughly lost on the way back to Vinces.

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