Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Golden Gate Bridge and Park


On Friday I got a late start, but managed to get into the city and to the corner where I was supposed to catch my bus with minutes to spare.  Unfortunately, the bus didn't leave from the corner, so went whizzing past while I was still trying to figure out if I was in the right place.  An hour later, after loads and loads of MUNI buses had passed, I'd asked two drivers for directions (one very helpful, one not), calls to MUNI and the Golden Gate bus whatever, I got on the bus headed out of town.  I got off at the Golden Gate Bridge, and was in a better mood almost instantly.

 

It was cool, windy, and cloudy as I started across.  The bridge is gorgeous and the views breathtaking.  As I reached the second tower, blue skies began to peek through.  I was ready to turn back as I neared the end, but spotted a California visitor's center and view point on the other side.  I loitered around with scores of other tourists, taking pictures.  They had a lone sailor monument, for the Navy and Coast Guard, so I had some guy take my picture with it.  Once I felt ready to brave the bridge again, I headed back.


On the way back, I passed some men doing work on the bridge (earthquake-proofing it, the signs said).  Looking way up in the sky at the tiny box clinging to one of the cables, I asked the guy on the ground if they took turns.  "Sure," he said, "so we each get a view."

 

By the time I reached the San Francisco side, the sun was out.  I wandered through the gift shop and stopped by the snack bar for some lunch (a surprisingly good pasta salad, green apple Fizze, and a Snickers bar).  After lunch, I caught the bus (this time without incident) to Golden Gate Park.

 

I walked to the entrance closest to where the bus let me off, and immediately stumbled upon the rose garden.  Everything was in bloom, and the smell and colors were lovely.  I walked along and ran into a mom and her two kids.  The little girl had some sort of toy on a stick, which she was using to mess with a squirrel, who seemed really interested that there might potentially be food involved.


The Japanese Tea Garden was just around the corner once I found the main drag.  It was five dollars to get in, but honestly - I thought it was nicer than Butchart, which charges a lot more.  Smaller, definitely, but the space is beautifully designed and planted.  At the center was a little tea house, with waitresses in kimonos.  There was also a little gift shop, and nice bathrooms - for what they were.  I wandered around, took pictures, and sat on benches to soak in some Zen. 


Once I was ready to go, I walked to the other side of the park (through a Cape Province garden and a California garden) and found the bus stop with little trouble.  The bus ended up being some sort of bus/train thing that ran on the wires overhead.  Despite having three cars, it was crazy crowded.  The train stopped at Powell, so it was an easy transfer to the BART.  When I got back to the apartment, Becky and David were home already.  We headed out for dinner at a sushi place in South Berkley.

The menu at Tako was amazingly extensive, or at least it seemed so to me.  After a cup of Miso, we got a Sunset II roll (spicy crab), a Godzilla roll (BBQ eel deep fried in tempura), a Philadelphia roll (salmon, cream cheese, and avocado), and Becky got ramen with Spam, which we all split.  I tried eating ramen with chopsticks for the first time - fun, and actually not as hard as I would've expected, since I'd had some practice on Wednesday.  Part way through dinner, they turned on some Christian praise music, which was a little weird (especially, as David and Becky noted, in Berkley).  But the food was good, and I got to see a little of the neighborhood.  After dinner, we drove around campus for a while.  David was a great tour guide - we saw all the science labs, some frat houses, the international house, the stadiums, the campanile.  The campus was a little different than I'd expected - hilly, with lots of trees, and a range of buildings, from Neoclassical to Gothic Revival to Modern.  All very pretty.  

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