Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Fourth of July

Independence Day inspires the Flaneur to board subterranean trains to ride out to the San Francisco Zoo then to hike ocean beach back to the N-Judah line and ride downtown by nightfall to see the pyrotechnics from a pier

I have never entered the Zoo again after a couple of visits thirty years ago. I love animals too much to enjoy seeing them in captivity. I do however walk by the entrance area for random sightings from the Serengeti.

The entrance to the seashore where animals do range freely. Unfortunately many of them are dogs.

Not as cold as it looks but a certain heartiness does one well.

A wind-sheltered spot where I reclined a while and had my lunch.

A traveler's repast consists of raw cauliflower, carrot, olives, wild california sardines, whole wheat bagel with neufchatel, hard-boiled organic egg, ryvita crax, dried fruit and chocolate.

An impromtu throne where I bided quite a while as the sun at last burned through the clouds.

A ritual pit alongside.

Into the mystic.

Sunlight on turbulent waters.

The marbleized waves.

As nights falls...

Twilight on the Bay

Moon over San Francisco

People light up in anticipation.

Then the incarnadine fireworks of the fourth of July

Coit Tower presides over parallel festivities

Double image capture.

San Francisco on July fourth.

4 July 2011

The Story Behind the Fourth of July

Despite my mile long walk to BART and my beach hike of several miles more with side trips climbing in the dunes, I was slightly weary but not worn-out. The long train ride on the N-Judah was restful and once I disembarked downtown I immediately ducked into a coffee shop and tucked into a coffee laced with enhanced brandy. The brandy was enhanced by being ported in a jar that had held an eighth of an ounce of very robust cannabis. The potent resin had coated the inside of the jar then had been dissolved in the brandy.
I stayed there an hour or so as the place got crowded with people recharging in anticipation of the fireworks display fast approaching. Then as the twilight thickened I ventured out to Market street, the main drag.
Though no traffic occupied the block I was on I could see cars waiting at a light. Sensing I had the time I leapt into the street to dash across while I had the chance. But they build the curbs quite high along there as a disincentive for people to jaywalk as I was attempting to do. As I landed my right leg got wobbly and I knew I was probably going down. In an act of sheer will I pumped my legs like the roadrunner to try to maintain an upright posture and at the very least not to hit the pavement head-first.
I was unable to avoid the fall entirely and down I went. Shaken I looked up from the surface to see if the cars were approaching with the lethal mindlessness of a cattle stampede. Stunned but determined to survive, I managed to get up and make it across. Slightly embarrassed, I made a hands up gesture of what-can-you-do? A young man loitering nearby watched it happen intently and impassively. No one made the slightest movement toward offering help. What can you do?
Stunned I continued south of Market passing two patrolling cops on an otherwise deserted sidewalk as I flexed my hand. Perhaps my face showed the pain I was in. I was still wearing my black beret and sunglasses--a look that occasionally inspires dogs to bark at me and their spitting-image owners to suggest, "must be the hat." In this case it may have inspired one of these canine cops to attempt to rattle me by turning abruptly to glare at me a second at the moment we passed each other. It takes real courage to walk down the street under the cover of authority, armed and accompanied by another armed goon, to show you are not intimidated by a possible terrorist in a French hat.
Well, fuck all cops forever and ever. I waited until they were around the corner and publicly urinated (behind a wall actually). My middle finger showed a weird swelling on the lobe at the tip and certainly hurt but I could still bend the joints and there was not spot that caused excruciating pain so I figured I would carry on.
My favorite pier had lowered it's gate so I followed along and settled on the pier behind the Ferry building. A small crowd milled around there while a disco upstairs provided the bass heavy soundtrack and an eerie purple glow. A slender moon hung over the Pyramid building and an exquisite crepuscule spread over the Bay.
I chatted with a gal my age and them with two younger girls I helped claim a spot on the railing. Overall I felt better than one would expect someone with a sprained finger to feel--the brandy and cannabis helped.
Then just as darkness prevailed, the show began. There are two launch sites both considerably down the waterfront from my position. I shifted to a better angle only to find myself behind very tall blonde nordic young men with no space between them. So I hopped up on a bench usually populated by alcoholic street denizens and this night was no exception. In front of me was a short hispanic guy and underfoot was his nervous chiuaua.
As things went on in the usual manner a small contretemps began brewing between the short fellow standing directly in front of me and one of the aryan supermen next to him. Short guy was making a video of it and apparently the young man bumped him once or twice. Short guy warned him not to bump him in a rather threatening manner. The young man laughed at him. In truth he and his friends could launch the little guy about ten feet away from the edge of the pier without a lot of effort. Short guys wino buddies would be of little to no help to him. But then he may have had a machete stashed nearby as well.
Before things could escalate I reached over with my priestly hand of kindness to touch each man's arm and say. "peace, peace, please fellows." It diffused the stand-off. I helped the little guy save face despite his short-fused machismo. He decided I was his friend and went into a nearby shopping carriage and got me a can of beer which I accepted. The cold can brought some relief to my inflamed finger.
The pyrotechnical exhibition was rather brief and soon people were moving everywhere in all directions. I caught a fast train to Berkeley and walked on home. The emergency room could wait until the morning.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Day of Two Bridges

On the cusp of the Summer Solstice the Flaneur journeys out to see the ocean breakers and then comes back to the Bay.

The Geary bus all the way from downtown came to an unfamiliar end of the line. I found myself walking down Seal Rocks lane.

The remains of Sutro baths once a Victorian pavilion arching over heated sea water pools.

Seal Rocks just beyond the location of the old Cliff House here at the very Western coast of the continent.

The Pacific with the dim headlands of Marin.

The glittering sea and the wind-swept trees of land's end.

Cargo ships and sailboats pass by and do not collide.

Away from the beaten by-ways, this weathered log affords me a chaise on which to recline and smoke a bit. I dream of a far-off land, the here and now.

The rocks at land's end.

Standing in the surf for eons perhaps underwater again someday.

The Golden Gate bridge comes into view.

The Golden Gate before the bridge.

Rock sculpture

Up the silent hillside trail

A cliff-side hideaway, visited over thirty years.

A traveler's repast consists of carrot, organic hard-boiled egg, whole wheat bagel with neufchatel & a packet of hot sauce, dried fruit & chocolate.

With companions or in solitude, ever a place of peaceful enjoyment.

A last grand view of the bridge.

Up past the august Museum of the Legion of Honor

Closed for deep thought. Some of us are doers.

Equestrian statues ride off over the hills.

At this hour in six months time the lion will stare out into darkest night.

Evening thoughts like lengthening shadows. A golf course built on old burial grounds.

Must return to the urban center

To the palaver downtown.

For an evening pilsner out on a pedestrian pier.

The nimbus of time

The Bay Bridge towers nearby

A vast expanse

Yerba Buena island anchors the bridge facing East.

Tile boat and golden gate.

A vintage streetcar faces East, as does my BART train, back home under the Bay to Berkeley.

18 June 2011