Friday, September 4, 2009

Escape to The City

My alarm went off at 5:15 this morning; certainly an ungodly hour of the morning, but today I was up and out of bed in an (very) unusually short amount of time. An hour and a half later, after packing lunches, grabbing camera batteries, picking up a friend and plugging the ipod into the stereo - the four of us girls were off to The City. Trick was, each of us had only $20 to spend. It was a grand and exciting game of how-to-have-the-most-fun-and-spend-the-least-amount-of-money...and I think we pulled it off pretty darn well, if I do say so myself.

We rode the BART from Richmond to the Embarcadero and tromped around Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 for a couple hours. We watched beat-boxing mimes, artists, desperate bums begging for more beer money (they admitted to it!), European tourists and hundreds of hungry seagulls fighting over leftover clam chowder bowls. As we ate our lunch we sat next to a small group of steel-drum players and listened to their Caribbean reggae sweetly resounding over the cry of the gulls and the tugboat horns. Steel-drum music is probably one of the happiest sounds I know, and when one is happily munching on a PB&J in the middle of's magical.

After lunch, we walked down Grant, through Little Italy and Chinatown and past many quiet, beautiful houses and side-streets. The handiwork of man constantly amazes me...really, it does. We passed fascinating sculptures, colorful houses, artistic PIPES, and after winding through the noisy, colorful, crowded Chinatown, we emerged at the more peaceful Union Square. Right in the heart of downtown SF, Union Square has this mysterious sense of excitement. And that's not even the right word. It's like this feeling that, if you only looked in the right corner, if you only stood still long enough, if you only managed to find the right place to focus, you're bound to find something incredible. You just want to hold your breath and wait for something tantalizing to happen.

Well, we discovered the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (a.k.a. SFMOMA). An intriguing, 4-story building containing all sorts of artwork; from the bizarre to creative to strange to....well, modern art. It was fascinating and I discovered modern art isn't as "dumb" as I had thought. Sure, there were a couple "unique" pieces of artwork that consisted of a plain white canvas with a black dot in the corner...or a lump of twisted wire...or a pile of garbage labeled "The Untitled Opus", but for the most part I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting modern art really is. I guess I let some preconceived ideas taint my opinion of modern art - and I am glad to say, I'd love to go back!

After walking about 7.5 miles all around The City, we were sore, sunburned, blistered, and exhausted, so we hopped back on the BART, found our car again, and drove to Fairfield for some In-N-Out and McDonalds. After such a spontaneous and adventurous day, however, we felt it was quite unacceptable to eat our "gourmet" dinner in a fast-food joint, so we decided to hunt down a park where we could have a good and proper picnic. Lo and behold, however...parks are quite scant in Fairfield! So, after a while of driving around and exploring yet *another* city...I suddenly pulled over on the side of the road, we hopped out and claimed a large patch of grass in front of a gated community (right below the sign on the street corner that reads "Goldenwood Court" or "Wealthy Commons", or something like know what I'm talking about?), spread our burgers and salads and milkshakes on the cool grass and enjoyed ourselves quite immensly.
Driving home on I-80, the moon was incredibly big and dazzling, so once again, I decided to suddenly pull over on one of the side streets and admire the beautiful orb dangling right over downtown Sacramento. It was the perfect ending to a very happy and refreshing day.


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