I left the Mission via Valencia Street, stopping into book stores with comfy couches to rest my feet. The blinding facade of the thrift store shown above drew me in...and I walked out with 1960s issues of The Atlantic, Harper's and Ramparts.
It was inevitable I'd wind up taking a trip on a cable car. Since my feet were aching, I sat on the inside, which reduced the number of photo ops. C'est la vie.
Day three took me to Berkeley, where I arrived in the midst of graduation ceremonies. The campus and downtown were filled with students wandering around in gowns and mortarboards. One set of scholars made repeated attempts to capture their joy mid-air—I couldn't tell if the photographer wanted a pile of shots to work with or if the perfect ledge jump was proving elusive.
Outside the Free Speech Movement Cafe, I was able to check out what was happening back home. The Globe and Mail was among that day's front pages on display. Until that moment, I had failed to notice the symptoms of Christie Blatchford withdrawal.
CD binge in Los Angeles. DVD binge in San Francisco. Book binge in Berkeley. I developed a muscle or two thanks to the volume of books I purchased at Moe's and Half Price Books. Moe's promise of "four floors of books" was like a spider drawing in a fly.
Ah, the interesting people you encounter in university towns...
One element that stood out in Berkeley: panhandlers. While I had noticed next-to-none in San Francisco, I could have bankrupted myself across the bay. Are university students more generous, is a cultural thing, or does San Francisco have harsher laws?
After roaming up and down Shattuck Avenue a couple of times, I settled upon Cha-Ya for dinner (before anything asks, I considered splurging at Chez Panisse, but (a) couldn't motivate myself to make a reservation before leaving TO, and (b) the place was crawling with grads and their families). Specializing in vegan Japanese cuisine, they offered a wide variety of combination meals. Part one of my choice was the Dengaku Plate, consisting of broiled eggplant, tofu, and Portobello mushroom with a miso-paste glaze. My only complaint was that I could have downed more portobellos.
Part two was the Cha-Ya Sushi Plate, consisting of a kappa (cucumber) roll and one nigiri each of shiitake, eggplant, and sea vegetable salad.
Why do I cringe when educational institutions erect banners like these?
I left the Bay Area via the Golden Gate Bridge. Driving into San Francisco wasn't as chaotic as I feared, except for finding myself in the wrong lane when the freeway portion of US 101 ended (cue several loops around the north end of Mission). I stopped at the observation area on the north side of the bridge to snap photos and noticed many others angling themselves to capture themselves in front of the misty landmark.
Oh hell, if everybody else was doing it...
Full set of pictures. All photos taken May 21-23, 2009 - JB