Saturday, March 03, 2012

NorCal to SoCal

So ends a week I won't miss.  Granted, there were a few bright spots in it.  Any week for me on the road is usually a pretty good one.  The week got off to a pretty auspicious start with some bad news that I have already addressed.  News that was unexpected, and gave a change to expectations.  I rallied as best I could and moved on in my own way.

The better part of the week was spent visiting my friends Jeremy and Vanessa. Jeremy and I have known each other since we were 16 and on Israel programs.  We have always had a healthy respect and appreciation for each others' talents.  I had the pleasure of hanging with him and his then-fiance in Buenos Aires while I was living there, and we had some wonderful evenings over fernet and cola at the Red Door- BsAs' finest speak-easy.  The last time I saw him and his lovely wife together was at their wedding, an affair I trekked the other way across the country for, in the midst of some busy days that seem like a lifetime ago.

I got to enjoy their San Fran, and I spent my days in their lovely apartment, chasing after their adorable black cat Mafalda, which they found on the streets of Mexico City.  I worked in the coffee shops in the Marina, their barrio, as I put together my presentations for the weekend.  When I wasn't working, I was wandering in and out of the Palace of Fine Arts- a testament to an expo once held by San Fran, and a reminder I can never escape PD.

Jeremy is in grad school in University of San Francisco for a Master's in political science.  He is using the program as a platform for bigger and better, and I am proud to have helped him conceptualize his opportunities for such.  Ah, the soft power we wield.  I stayed for three evenings, but only spent one with the busy couple, out at a cafe in the neighborhood for delicious veggie chili on monday night.  Tuesday, I went to the famous Nick's for tacos with Vanessa, a chandelier and velvet taco bar with $2 shells of goodness.  On Wednesday, Jeremy and I stayed in to watch the help and eat gooey Chicago-ish pizza.  It was time well spent with old friends, and nice to see their world.

Somewhere along the way, I sprung a leak over the fundamental nature of what it means to visit friends and was left saddened, a bit offended and disappointed.  No need addressing in this post, just chalk it up to a difference of opinion.

The nice weather I initially encountered in San Fran slowly dissipated, and by the day I left it had gone grey and rainy.  I was ready to get out of San Fran, as I find the city just a tad too strange for me.  Goin' where the wind don't blow so strange, but LA isn't that place.  I caught the CA shuttle bus down the golden state and sped out into the rainy mist.  The bus was filled with Norwegian backpackers trying to have dip as snus and I can't imagine they enjoyed it.  We sped south in the grey and muck that slowly disappeared as we passed by Palo Alto and San Jose.  Slowly, slowly the grey went away, and fully vanished around the vast San Luis Reservoir.  The giant lake was stunning, with the sun peeking out in various hues of light on the rolling green ridges across the large lake blue lake hemmed in by canyons.  Along the road, fields of dead shrubs looks like bunches of withered fingers.

We pushed on to the curved ridges that swirled and dipped into mini canyons, and I remember why I had loved the ruggedness of California.  The vast fields and mountains reminded me why California's vastness always seemed to hold such potential and promise to me in ways that the East Coast just can't match.  We drove down past fields of white blossom trees in perfect symmetry as they began to drop their white petals like flowery snow covering the rows.  And there were brown fields with signs cursing Congress for their fallowness on account of a lack of water.

NorCal eventually became SoCal on a glorious stretch of farm and mountains with clouds clung high above.  We climbed through various passes and descended into the city of angels.  Bounding down Hollywood until I reached Union Station.  I marveled that I really must be back in Lalaland as I saw two kids at the station bus bay smoking a blunt just across the street from a sheriff car.  I hopped the train, red to blue and sped past my old stomping grounds.  Blue to green as I transferred at Rosa Parks and spied the city now far away in twinkling night lights.  The cars speeding in traffic reminded me of waves crashing.  Green to the end of the line, and I traveled from Union Station to Redondo Beach (about 20 miles) in an hour on the metro.  Quite a feat; as I have always said, anyone who says LA public transit sucks has never been on it.

Today, I finished up my presentations and took a quick walk down the pier.  Something about the pacific truly is.  With nary a cloud in the sky, and the smell and sounds of the surf, I even began to question if maybe i could make my way back here.  Then reality shook off the luridness of such nostalgia.  Such a fine, wonderful place that is paradise on the surface but ultimately a land of lotus eaters. 

1 comment:

Carla said...

So you had the chance to meet the fernet drink in Argentina!
The Italian digestif Fernet has taken on a new life as the alcoholic drink of the young and is phenomenally popular in late-night bars and discos; its sweet cough-medicine taste is tamed with lots of cola and ice. Every person I know that have rented Argentina apartments had at least once a fernet with cola to drink with friends. It is a must in any "previa", as they call it in Argentina, meaning the time they hang out with friends in a house before night clubs open and people go dancing!