Ruam Mit 4

The little victories are the sweetest! The zipper of my favourite backpack was caught. In the process of getting it unstuck, I pulled it up, and it seemed like it was getting even more stuck. I was getting frustrated, put it aside for a couple of days, and then tried again. Success! I’ve also learnt my lesson: to look carefully when I zip up the bag, so that it doesn’t get caught again.

Joe’s sister Linda came up for a week’s visit, and in playing tourist, we finally got to check out somethings we hadn’t seen ourselves. Like the new Ferry Building market in San Francisco. It’s not overly chi-chi, but then again I wonder how viable business will be for the merchants in there? How many locals are actually going to patronise an expensive organic beef butcher or an olive oil producer on a regular basis? There are no Chinese/Asian or Latino grocery stores in there, which seems to be sad omission in representing the diverse cultures that make SF and Bay Area unique. Then again, Chinatown is so close (5 blocks uphill), and would a Mexican householder come to the Ferry Bldg to buy ingredients that would be cheaper to buy in the Mission?
There’s quite a few visitors who come by too, yet it must be the only tourist attraction that doesn’t have fried (sea)food for sale…

We also went up Coit Tower ($3.75 a pop!), which we’d never gone. Joe and Linda went to the Madonna concert, and to Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero.

Linda’s been to the Bay Area quite a few times, and as we were running out of places to go visit (she’s done the Napa, Monterrey, Alcatraz thing a while back), we went to Angel Island.

We missed the ferry (alas Mom hadn’t and got to kill time on the island taking the tram-tour, while waiting for us to come on the second ferry). We hung out at Fisherman’s Wharf for an hour while Linda got souvenirs, including matching SF T-shirts for our niece and nephew. “We’ll give you a special price, just because you’re local” said the T-shirt salesman. It’s changed a bit, that place. There’s a Gap store, and an In-N-Out now!

The docent at Immigration Station gave a very impressive explanation on not just the detention center, but the context of how it came about, gold rush and the railroad construction, the Chinese Exclusion Act, paper sons, etc. It was Asian American 101 compressed into 20 minutes. They’re renovating Immigration Station in parts right now; by next year, there will be more exhibits on display.

People in my mom’s family as well as Joe’s family came through there. Like Manzanar for some Japanese Americans, Angel Island is a rare piece of tactile history: to which I have personal connection, as a Chinese-American. Perhaps some of the characters hidden under the layers of lead paint and putty were carved there by our ancestors.

We stopped by in Tiburon for grilled oysters at Guaymas, but were disappointed: they were no longer on the menu. We had margaritas, and Joe and Truc also did a shot of tequila each!

On the ferry back to SF, there were a bunch of dressed up wedding guests, drinking screw-cap Sutter Home. Quite a few of them were British, men wearing suits with pink ties. Disconcerteningly, they started to sing “Morning has Broken”, which flashed me back to Tuesday morning assemblies at Bangkok Pattana (my elementary school). We had these Anglican hymnbooks, but only sang a few of the hymns on a regular basis. The one I liked best was “When a knight won his spurs”, because of the romantic medieval imagery. Years later, I had a similar flashback moment, when I heard the tune played on the carillion of the Campanile, as I hurried out of lecture at noon.

We dropped back Mom at Jack London Square, where she had parked. But not before we had gone into Yoshi’s for some sushi, where Mom tried uni (sea urchin) for the first time and . . . liked it! Yay! Their version of age-dashi tofu is mah-mah/so-so though, instead of broth, it’s cloaked in a gooeyer-teriyakish sauce.

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