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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    August 20, 2003
     

    Travel


    Thursday and Friday were fairly monotonous and boring. Sat in on a couple of meetings, didn't do too much work. On Friday, I left for Emeryville to spend the weekend with cousin & her hubby. I didnt even do anything interesting/talk-worthy for lunch or dinner! However, that wasn't quite the case over the weekend. At Emeryville, we watched a hilarious early 1990s Tamil movie (Michael Madana Kamarajan) and then decided sleep was needed. The next time I saw daylight was when it was past 9 am. We got dressed, ready to land up in San Francisco, just as Sir Francis Drake had done, over 500 years ago.

    First up, we went to Pier #1 and there was a Mahatma Gandhi statue, presented to San Francisco by the Gandhi memorial foundation. Even though I couldn't spot any pigeon/bird droppings on his head, it wasn't exactly a great place to have a statue of such a man. Einstein's words reverberated (well, that's a wrong way to put it, given I've never heard Einstein speak): Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood. I believe there are efforts to relocate the statue to a more respectable location. Even more strangely, we couldn't spot an Indian restuarant in that pier. We had lunch at a place called 'Naan & curry'. The food was quite decent and the tea with which we ended our meal was very good. After that we took the cable car up the steeply inclined roads of San Francisco (I think the roads are so because San Francisco was built on hills, correct me if I'm wrong) and reached Fisherman's Wharf. It offers a great view of the sea, Alcatraz and the surrounding area. We loafed around, took photographs, saw an entire pride of sea lions (I'm sure pride is the wrong collective term. But what is the good word, to quote Sabira Merchant?), had ice cream, panju mittaai (for the uneducated, it means cotton candy). Then we went to Ghirardelli square, which is also one of San Francisco's historic landmarks. It is also very famous for the Ghirardelli chocolates and we got a few free samples while ambling into a chocolates shop. We then headed to Union Square, another of San Francisco's must-see places. This has a lot of shopping malls around it. There's also a tall Corinthian column celebrating a US admiral's victory over the Spanish navy. I suppose that must have been the Spanish-American war, which resulted in independence for the Phillipines (well not really independence, they were transferred from Spain to the USA), Cuba and also the annexation of Hawaii into the US. Pretty ironic that the US fought Spain for Cuba's independence and now Cuba is a country non-grata for its USSR affiliations. After that, we took the BART to Berkeley and had a nice South Indian meal at Udipi Palace.

    Sunday was much more relaxed. We played table tennis in the morning, had a picnic lunch near the flat, beside the sea and then set out for Bay Street in Emeryville. Mostly window shopping, far too costly and not enough attractive sale offers on. We had a coffee at Starbucks, unfortunately I didn't have enough time to leaf through more than a few books for free. We then stepped into the IKEA showroom. It is MASSIVE. You can buy pretty much every home related item you can think of. A one-stop household items shop and the prices were quite ok too. Dinner was at California Pizza Kitchen. Post dinner, we continued sitting at the table and chatted till around 1030 pm and then headed home.

    On Monday morning, I added the Sacramento-San Jose Amtrak express to my list of trains which I've boarded barely before they left the platform. This time it wasn't as bad as my earlier experience with the Shatabdi express from Madras to Bangalore. I didn't (and couldn't have) board it as it left the platform, but I just about barely made it. In the evening, I did some grocery shopping: bought rice, chips & coffee-cream mix (for the early morning coffee, which has been rather non-existent of late. Had puliyodharai saadam and thayir saadam for dinner along with fruits and went off to sleep after hanging around on messenger till midnight.

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