23 July 2008

Ferry ride & Fisherman's Wharf

Slept, yada-yada.

Except today we woke up to sunshine! We had breakfast at "home" then headed for the Larkspur ferry terminal. We ran into a traffic jam around San Rafael or we'd have made the 10:10. As it was, we had to wait until the 11:10.

We got our tickets then hung around the ferry terminal until our boat arrived. We boarded and found a corner out of the wind for the ~35 minute trip across the bay to the San Francisco terminal.

We got off and picked up MUNI transfers...that gave us free passes to anywhere on the MUNI system within 90 minutes and from anywhere back to the ferry terminal for 24 hours. We decided to walk out this time and leave open the option for MUNI back to the terminal. As we walked along the Embarcadero, we window-shopped for restaurants to have lunch at.

When we got to Pier 33, where the Alcatraz tours leave from, we checked into getting Alcatraz tikets. The next available tickets were a week away and we'd be back home by then.

We continued our walk toward Pier 39 and ended up lunching at a streetside vendor on hot dogs and clam chowder in a sourdough bowl.

We wandered among the shops on the pier, window shopping. Out at the end of the pier, we looked at Alcatraz, watched the pelicans (in a formation of 11...Alan counted) and seagulls flying by, caught a magic performance by "Big Al Catraz," and got ice cream and mocha to fortify our efforts.

We walked to one of the cable car turn arounds, bought tickets ($5 each...I could swear the last time I was in SF, cable car tickets were 50- or 75-cents...'course, that was probably 15-20 years ago...), and waited for our turn to get on the car.

We got off at the Chinatown stop and window-shopped (mostly) the markets. At one streetside market, I saw longans...a fruit I had in Bangkok a year ago and didn't think there was a chance I'd ever have them again. I was telling Alan about them and he wanted to try them so we bought a couple handfuls and ate them on the curb...spitting pits and skins into the bag. They're very easy to eat. The skins just pop off if you put your thumbnails together and pry. You pop the whole fruit (about the size of a big marble) into your mouth and separate the translucent fruit from the smooth, shiny pit with your teeth. Spit the pit and you're left with a very sweet, juicy flesh that tastes like...well, like fruit. It's really not much like any other fruit I can think of.

In another store, I found a box of jasmine tea bags...100 for $1 and a package of figs for $2. We looked for Ts for the boys but couldn't find the ones Alan wanted in the right sizes. By then, it was after 5 so we decided to stay in Chinatown for supper instead of heading back across the bay first. Just about then, someone handed us a coupon for free pot stickers and 20% off at a local restaurant so we decided to try that one. The food was pretty decent and we ended up with a couple of big prawns left so we boxed it up to take "home."

As we were leaving the restaurant, a British man was looking at the San Francisco maps on the on the wall of the lobby and trying to ask an employee where he could get one. The employee really didn't speak English and didn't understand what he was trying to say. As he was in the process of giving up. I started to tell him where he could get one, then decided that was just too complicated and gave him one I had in my purse. I knew I had another at Seredipity. He said his wife was going to be so happy with him. He gets to be her hero, I got to be his. Win-win.

We were only a handful of blocks from the ferry terminal so we decided to walk it instead of catching a cable car or MUNI bus. We got there just as the 7:10 ferry was leaving so we had to wait for the 8:10. While we were waiting, Alan called the boys. Meanwhile, a bird crapped on his jacket so we had to look for a restroom so he could wash it off. When we headed back out to the dock, our ferry was there so we boarded and headed back across the bay.

En route, we shared a podcast from my iPod...he had the left earbud and I had the right. The podcast is called Truth-Driven Thinking, hosted by Steve Gibson. The specific episode we listened to was an interview with Bishop John Shelby Spong that actually aired in April of 2006 about the mythological components of Christianity. The Bishop (retired) is the author of about 15 books on "progressive Christianity" with titles like The Sins of Scripture, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, and Why Christianity Must Change or Die.

The Bishop's main point is that the Bible is not literal, historic truth but grew out of a culture of story. There are iconic or "mythic" images or symbols that repeat and are meant to illustrate, not meant to be a description of fact. For example, Moses was not the only person to part the Red Sea...it occurs several times at the hands of different people. The image of someone parting the sea so that the people can escape is iconic.

In any case, I'd heard the podcast before. As a recovered Fundamentalist, I thought Alan might appreciate it so I'd been saving it for him. We got about half-way through it on the ferry and had a great and fairly involved conversation on the way back to Petaluma. While we both generally liked and agreed with what the Bishop had to say, there was divergence in the end result. I'm not going to go into that whole discussion...you can Google the podcast and listen for yourself.

We opened up the house when we got home, adjusted our schedule for the next day then went to bed. I lotioned my forehead, which had gotten sunburned during the day. Apparently, when I put sunscreen on my face, I forgot that part. It didn't feel particularly toasted but it was a bit red.