Sunday, April 19, 2015

2015 San Francisco - Day 7 - Evening

(Link to all 2015-April San Francisco / Berkeley trip blog posts)

Oblivious to how indirect it was to actually walk to the Berkeley Marina (no, I couldn't just follow the University Avenue traffic across the bridge), I blithely said I'd try to make it there by 5 PM. I only got as far as McLaughlin Eastshore State Park before I admitted I was lost. There was definitely no sign of any "junkyard park" in sight. Thank god for my cellphone because I could call my friend to rescue her hapless Vancouver visitor.

I actually don't own a cellphone and haven't for years. My friends all know the reason I've always stuck to: When I did own one, all people ever called me for was to tell me they were going to be late.
And that honestly really bugged me because typically they'd call when they were already 15 minutes late to apologize and ask me to wait another 15-30 minutes more. If I say no, suddenly I'm the jerk even though they are late.
So if I don't have a cellphone, then they can't reach me and everyone can decide how to protect their time. I can just leave. They can give up and not show up, and leave me a message later.

But given the number of times a cellphone has been handy (plus they now take really decent pictures), I'm honestly thinking of getting a Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, if I can somehow avoid paying for data. And figure out how to haul it around without getting it stolen.

The parents and kids were apparently done with "junkyard park" as they were all in the playground or on the muddy low-tide beach. My friend informed me that the park had a zipline for kids, and assorted structures that they could add to or decorate if they located some "dangerous junk" for trade -- such as loose nails or other things.
I quickly handed over her mug and my spare oranges lest I forgot, then found myself a shady tree. After placing my palm on the trunk and silently thanking it for being there and providing shade and allowing me to sit under, I sat quietly to rest after a long day and try to meditate a bit.

After an hour or so, we rounded up my friend's kids, packed up, and left. She dropped me off at Cafe Leila. I wanted to end my day with the spicy chai again (cold this time) and I offered to get one for her and the kids, but she declined. She said she'd call me later in the evening.

I got my chai and maybe it was because of the hot day but I finished it mere minutes after leaving the Cafe, and well before I got back to the Inn.

Bathed, packed, set my alarm, went to sleep.

Basically my trip was over.

In the evening my friend called me and offered to take me to the airport in lieu of me taking the BART. I didn't want to impose, but she gently insisted and I accepted.
Throughout this trip I really felt humbled by her attentiveness, generosity, care, and hospitality. Whenever she was in Vancouver, she'd typically just have the one day with me as she had many friends to visit, and we'd walk around shopping and eating. All that seemed so trivial now compared to how much time she'd spent with me, that I was sad I hadn't done more -- hadn't thought to do more -- for her.
And now there was no telling when she'd ever get the chance to visit Vancouver again.

I woke at around 10 PM and got ready to leave my Inn room for the very last time. Left a tip for the cleaners. Throughout my trip I left the "do not disturb" sign on the doorknob because I didn't need any change of linens -- which would have cost water to wash, water which was precious at time time in all of California.
I went to the Office to chat with the staffer on shift -- Pedro -- and say my last goodbyes. We shook hands, then I got into my friend's car and we were off.

It was quite a drive from the Golden Bear Inn to SFO airport, across the bridges spanning Treasure Island. The BART would have gone underground across that span, and I would have completely missed the brightly, beautifully, lit suspension bridge. Was this why my dear friend had been so insistent all along?
It was a magnificent end to my time in Berkeley, and my last night in San Francisco.

Dropped off the rented TripTel phone, and once more I was off the grid. Air Canada check-in wouldn't be open till 5 AM. There was an interesting Joseff of Hollywood "Jeweler to the Stars" display nearby but the cleaners were doing their rounds and I deferred that for morning. Instead, I, like several others, found whatever benches we could and tucked in for the night. I went with the padded food court benches. Took off my shoes, pulled my bag close, and power napped.
Too anxious to really sleep, lest my shoes were stolen or my baggage tampered with.

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