08 October 2009

Ambitious Vacation (iii)

Weeks ago, I had a visitor named Angie. While life has tried to keep me from telling you about our adventures, I refuse to leave outstanding tales. So now, I take to you back to Thursday, August 27th.

I went to work, leaving Angie to sleep in and recover from her flight. Naturally she used the time to take pictures. She toured our neighborhood, stopping at the Cable Car museum and at the little park at the top of Nob Hill. She also walked back over to Lombard, where the picture taking was better in the early morning. She met me at work, and we went for a run. I know - atypical of a vacation. Angie protested, but she didn't really mean it. Trust me. I've known her for years.

We ran along the Embarcadero (which she needed to see anyway) and around AT&T Park. As far as runs go, I've had better and I've had worse. We went four miles, which doesn't allow me to do my best. I don't really get going until I've gone at least two. But it was a gorgeous day. The Embarcadero was full of delicious smells and a training run is a training run. We were on a greater mission; we had three fog-free hours to take as many pictures as Angie wanted. And we could only walk so fast.

We showered and hit the hills. We stopped for pizza at Za, but didn't stay long enough to sample any of the specialties. It was a fuel stop only. We stopped at the top of Lombard (since it was on our way) and continued down to Ghirardelli Square. I'm proud to report we were able to resist all ridiculously delicious treats. But there was a fair amount of menu ogling. We stepped down to Aquatic Park, where I continued teasing Angie with views of the Golden Gate Bridge. We saw it from the base from Coit Tower and we saw a lot more from a pier near Fort Mason. Still, it was the elusive prey on Angie's landmark hunt. I was saving the bridge for a day when we had time to drive across it. But Angie couldn't get enough of it. She took pictures every time, from wherever she got a view. Angie travels the world and I don't get to go with her. But for a few days I got to see how she loves it, how beauty nearly overwhelms her, and she does her best to capture it.

"Where are you from?"

There was a man on the pier. He was an older man and he was just wearing shorts. He made small talk with us while he put on a cap, plugged his ears, and jumped into the bay. He told us he was going to do it, that he swims to Alcatraz when he can. But saying you're going to jump into the bay and actually jumping into the bay are very different things. This man was a man of his word. We watched him in the choppy water, exchanged looks with two other people on the pier, and went about our business.

We looked at the boats stationed at the Hyde Street Pier. We stopped in an arcade full of old games that were pretty ridiculous. We did however find a treasure, a picture taking machine. I've known Angie for almost 20 years, and we've never come across one of these booths. Fortuitous indeed.

We took in the sights, sounds, and smells of Fisherman's Wharf. We plotted our meal at the Boudin Bakery (also for another day) and visited the sea lions at Pier 39. Little known fact about Angie: she loves sea lions. We watched them play, got a teasing glimpse of Alcatraz and made our way further down the Embarcadero. We stopped inside the Ferry Building for a pre - dinner treat from Ciao Bella and met Jesse for dinner at Gordon Biersch.

On the way home, Angie took pictures of the Bay Bridge - which we agree is underrated. After that, it was your standard Thursday night list of activities. We walked home, looked at some embarrassing pictures, went to a bar (where I fell asleep), nearly got hit by a car, and called it a night. I was done working for the week, which meant the following days were even more full.

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