Thursday, August 20, 2009

Family Adventures in San Francisco

Two days before Marjorie and Kris’s wedding, still jet-lagged, we drove up to Mill Valley, north of San Francisco, for a family gathering at my cousins' -- Elliott and Denise Main's -- place. Louisa and her new partner Steve were there, as were Willy and Katie; Joseph, Ebru and their baby Ayla; and Elliott and Denise’s son Andrew and his partner. Seeing three of my 5 siblings at one time was going to be the best I was going to be able to do on this trip.

The next day, while Diane, her mom and sister were involved in wedding preparations, Brendan and Mayumi flew in from Seattle. I took BART from Pleasanton and met them on Market Street in San Francisco. It was a gorgeous, sunny day in San Francisco… totally inconsistent with the usual dreich San Francisco summer weather. Mayumi had expressed a strong preference that we not spend the day sitting around on our computers but instead do something interesting, so San Francisco it was.

Joseph and Ebru were in San Francisco on an errand, so they arranged to pick us up and take us out for lunch at A la Turka (Ebru is from Turkey). Then they drove us back across the Golden Gate Bridge to their place, perched part-way up a hill in Sausalito, where we hung out for a bit and played with Ayla, their 1-year old daughter, and admired the view. Joseph, Ebru and Ayla were leaving for Turkey the next day, so we didn’t stay long, but instead wandered down into Sausalito, which was mobbed with tourists (like us) on foot or on riding bicycles. There I found something I could not resist: A Carl Jung action figure, which I bought for my mom, who loves Jung, and because of the sheer paradox of it all. (And it comes with a wee pipe that fits into his hands…)

Soon, we were able to board the ferry back to San Francisco: It is hard to imagine a more perfect day to cross San Francisco Bay in this way, and along our path we passed by Angel Island and the notorious former prison island of Alcatraz, the fresh breeze off the bay whipping against our faces when we went on deck.

Arriving at the Ferry Building, at the beginning of Market street, we got on one of the newly refurbished trolleys that San Francisco has scrounged up from all over the world. We took the trolley to the Civic Center, where a group of men where setting up a red carpet on the front steps of City Hall, in preparation for some sort of social event. The guard waved us through the metal detector, which went off loudly each time, and we spent half an hour exploring this ornate building.

We had planned to meet Kenneth after his plane from Washington had landed, but he was delayed, so Brendan, Mayumi and I went back to Pleasanton to eat dinner at the Gay Nineties Pizza Parlour while waiting for him. Just as we were finishing, he phoned to say that he’d be there in 10 minutes, and we went to meet him at the BART station in Pleasanton. Kenneth was fresh from the America Go Association congress outside Washington DC and full of stories of exciting Go games. The last of us had arrived in California.

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