Snapshots of the day:
- Breakfast in the small restaurant inside the
historic San Carlos train station. I exit as a
CalTrain arrives, but too late: I touch its
doors, but they've already closed - instead of
them opening for me it's already pulling out.
- Five minutes' observation of mass in Chinese,
standing in the rear of the St. Peter & Paul's
Catholic Church, just off Columbus on Washington
Square. Always thought this was Grace Cathedral...
later, the actual position of that church is
realized as atop Nob Hill, noticed when driving
out of the City.
- Oppressive bad vibes at Pier 39 and along
adjacent Fisherman's Wharf: endless souvenir
shops all with too-loud radios blaring commercials
and smug announcer voices. Along the street,
homeless beggars every few feet with their cups,
cans and signs, and across the way an amplified
Peruvian pan-pipe band.
- Observed the loading of the Mason & Powell line
cable cars at the Taylor St. terminus - five are
available, queued up with crews, but only one is
used; the tourist-passengers are therefore made to
wait and packed in like sardines.
- Pulled over under a shady tree, headachey and
fatigued, on a deserted dry Californian parkland road,
seat reclined, windows opened, listening to Leo Kotke
perform on "A Prairie Home Companion." Just before falling
asleep, jolted to sudden wakefulness by the
buzzing of a wasp, inside.
- Coffee at the Los Altos "Peets" where I
recognize (in the vicinity) some of its regulars, in
particular one of their weird children, who accosts me
with a "magic wand" surmounted by an aluminum-foil
star. I ignore him.
- Driving all over on nebulous shopping errands,
at strip malls and inside the tacky Sunnyvale mall,
but nothing was purchased. Bright sun, hot sticky
atmosphere, resisted with the air conditioning inside
my vehicle. Listening to last night's tape of "This
American Life": a program about two brothers and a
female friend from North Carolina who rode their horses
across North America, from the Atlantic to the Pacific
- Riding home from "Oregano's Wood-Fired
I crossed paths with another cyclist, who had a very
bright helmet-mounted headlamp which made him look like
something from "The 5000 Fingers Of Dr. T".
From The Practical Nomad by Edward Hasbrouck:
Given the lengths some people from other countries will
go to acquire a US passport, it may be surprising that fewer
than 10% of US citizens have a passport, the smallest
percentage of any First World country.
US passports are the most valuable and widely used travel
documents in the world, getting you into more countries,
more easily, than any other. If you hold a US passport,
you are one of the world's travel elite. Consider
yourself privileged, and take advantage of the
opportunities it gives you.