King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat

Fisherman's Wharf

With my apologies to c_dawg I shall now commence part 2 of my story of how I was tired and sick, and my vacation sucked.

Woke up Saturday morning after about 10 hours of sleep. I felt pretty damn good. Got up, wandered downstairs and around the corner to find a newspaper and orange juice for my traveling companion. Nope, none at the Cafe de la Presse downstairs. Headed up the street to the bodega for said orange juice. Nope, it was closed too. Thought to myself, there was the fine drugstore yet another block up where I yesterday picked up my Pepto-Bismol. So I continued up the street, whereupon I planned on hanging a left and heading to the drugstore. But alas, it was not to be. For when I arrived at the corner, I realized I was up higher than I expected. About 2 stories higher. For some reason, San Francisco has seen fit to build tunnels in the strangest places. I was looking down from 2 stories up at the street on which I knew was located the drugstore. Luckily, I did not have to backtrack 3 blocks to go around. They had also built a stairwell down to the tunnel entrance. But still, I marvel at the odd layout of city streets in that city. I realize there are many hills in the city. Steep ones. ANd they have gone to the effort of not only building the steepest streets in the U.S., but also dug out underneath them as well to put more streets underground. Everything would've been much easier if they had just put it all in San Jose.

After showering and generally making myself presentable (I am not pretty in the morning when I have long hair), we decided the plan was to find breakfast, then see Fishermans Wharf. Touristy, yes. I remembered a lovely breakfast joint I ate at 3 years ago when I stayed over in San Francisco. I knew it to be on the other side of Union Square from our hotel. SO off we traipsed to find it, walking many blocks. And find it we did. Cafe Mason, if you must know. There I had my first decent huevos rancheros in many moons. Sadly, though I thought I was feeling much better, my stomach still turned at eating breakfast, and I left half my food on the plate.

Still, I soldiered on. The body ache was coming back though. Pay attention to that, dear readers, for it shall play a part in the further adventures. From the cafe, we headed toward Market along the cable car route. None looked to have any room on them. When we got to the end of the line, we realized that the lengthy line of people waiting to get on probably accounted for the full cars.

So instead we headed onto Market itself and climbed aboard a street car, the F line. Built of discarded street cards from across the us, the fleet plying this line takes you along Market and Embarcadero to Fishermans Wharf the long way around. No hills. We easily found a berth on this street car, though it was packed. Deborah sat, I stood, holding a post. By the time we reached tourist mecca, I was beat. I was tired. I had to rest, and I had been merely standing. We mostly ignored Pier 38, but I did purchase a sweatshirt that labeled me "toxic" as I was getting fever chills. The sun was bright, but a shifting stiff breeze made the docks chilly even for those not under the weather. And it only served to make me feel even worse. We looked upon the world famous celebrity sea lions. THey looked cute, but c'mon, sea lions are sea lions. I also got my first view of Alcatraz. No tour for us though. Hadn't purchased the tickets in advance, and I didn't really look forward to going to the island and seeing very little anyway. So touristy I knew they wouldn't have let us see anything had we actually set foot on the place.

Actually, the Wharf area seemed to offer little, and I had to stop and rest about every 10 to 15 minutes. Just below Ghirardelli Square, we stood in line to board the cable car going the other way. After some cajoling, I consented to go sit on a bench while Deborah held our place in line. She's a lovely person, you know. Made being sick on my trip bearable. She was understanding about me not being able to go full throttle, and without her on the trip, I would have laid up in the hotel doing nothing while my stomach churned.

While waiting, we were entertained by a fine street musician who knew how to play Stairway to Heaven while constantly reminding everyone that the cable car company did not pay him. He also knew how to play Stairway to Heaven backward, which sounded suspiciously like another 70s rock anthem whose name I cannot recall at this time. Especially since it doesn't matter to the story. We passed on donating to this man's apparently troubled cause.

There are some interesting things to know about the cable car, that anyone with half a brain would have figured out. Again for the enjoyment of my readers, I remind you all that I do not have half a brain. First, the cable car operates without an engine. There is a cable underneath the street to which the car is attached. It pulls the car up the steep hills. Neither is the turnaround electrically powered. The car's brakeman releases the brake, and the car rolls onto the turnaround. Then several men will release the locking mechanism on the turnaround, and push through sheer strength until the car faces the correct direction. At that point, they will then push the car onto the track facing uphill. The turnaround must be well oiled to allow this to happen. I've had a harder time getting my old Radio Flyer to pull along behind my bicycle. Course, I wasn't known for my mechanicking skills during my Radio Flyer days.

For the cable car ride, I sat inside. Deborah took the last space on the ledge on the back, where she could look back as we climbed. I thought about squeezing in, but the thought of fighting for my place while holding on to the rail seemed overwhelming. Eventually the interior of the car would become packed. I feel sorry for those who joined me inside who were not immune to my illness. I saw a decent amount through the side, but the presence of an obnoxious older gentleman prevented my viewing toward the rear. I saw obnoxious not because he blocked my view, but because in his rush to secure a place on the car, he shoved Deborah from her spot and reached across her back and head to find a handhold, leaning on her in the process. She was kind enough to remove his arm, and the car ticket taker made space for her on the other side of the platform. The obnoxious man and his wife got to have their spot they so dearly earned. I feel no guilt in laughing over the fact that she fell down in their attempt to jump on the moving cable car.

Back at the hotel, we rested up for a bit before heading to the family dinner where my family was getting introduced to my brother's fiancé's family. We had planned to visit Haight-Ashbury on the way, but we took longer to get ready than planned, and did not have the time to see the neighborhood on Saturday. I was feeling somewhat better by that point, but my stomach still gurgled, and i was still tired. An hour's rest was sorely needed before the trials of my family.

Which will come in another entry…


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