California Dreamin’

 I’m back from the left coast. It was foggy in San Francisco and on the drive up from Monterey.  This caused my flight to be a half hour late in departing, but I still made my connection in Dallas.  It is cold and snowing here in Saint Louis.

It was a nice trip. I got to see my folks, my brother Chris and Liz and Zack. I got to do a little biking in San Francisco, but none in Monterey. The AT&T golf tournament had shut down Pebble Beach for the week. I got plenty of blog fodder, as you all will see over the following days.

The theme for the pictures with this post is the left coast or more specifically the left coastline. In sequential order, I’ve included pictures of the tidal flats at Moss Beach at low tide and the Golden Gate Bridge guarding the entrance to San Francisco Bay. Alcatraz is today’s header. From the central coast of California I’ve included a picture of the surf around Point Lobos and another picture showing the view south from Nepenthe. The theme for the words with this post is also about the left coast, but dwells more on some of the oddities that I saw and heard while visiting there.

On Thursday, I was walking back down Nob Hill, when I was approached by a homeless woman. She was pushing a baby stroller, that was carrying two cats. She started into her patter, “Can’t you please help me and my poor kittys?” I guess that you could say that she didn’t know me very well. I didn’t say anything, but just smiled and kept walking. She said to my back, “You are a very rude person. You should at least say yes or no.”

Just afterwards, I came upon a rather dilapidated wooden booth. It was just bigger than telephone booth size. It was set at the crossroads of two cable car routes that intersect at right angles. Through the open door I asked the man sitting in there what I already knew, “Is this part of the cable car system?” His response was, “What do you want?” I repeated my question and he reiterated his response, “What do you want?” Somewhat disgusted at this point, I walked away.

Everywhere I went in California, I kept seeing German business men talking on cell phones. They were easy to identify because they were all speaking German, very loudly. Maybe they had to speak loudly, just to be heard all the way back in Germany?

By Sunday, I had heard the recorded voice on board the Air Train at the San Francisco airport often enough to commit its dialogue to memory. When leaving a station it would say, “Doors closing … Please hold on … Please set baggage cart parking brake to on”. When arriving at the next station it would say, “Please hold on … Please set baggage cart parking brake to on … Doors Opening”. It seemed to me that the automated voice assumed that passengers would be releasing their luggage cart brakes in between the different stations.

Just to show that California doesn’t have a monopoly on oddities, there was this woman on the Dallas to Saint Louis leg.  First off she announces to someone she just met and by the way the rest of the plane, that she is having hot flashes.  She sits down next to me, I’m in the middle seat.  Towards the end of the flight, I’m playing solitaire.  She starts to kibbutz, put the eight on the nine and so forth.  First off, I don’t appreciate any help while playing solitaire.  The name of the game says it all for me.  Second, it had been a long day by then.  Third, she started to suggest that I start putting cards back into the deck.  I told her that you can’t do that.  She said, “Oh, well I don’t really know the rules.”

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