Sunday, March 28, 2010

Parting Ways and Leaving San Francisco Behind

I woke up early, headed to Union Square to check my internet, bought Two Jack in the Box Ultimate Breakfast sandwiches, and then headed back to the hotel.

I greeted Katherine, drying her hair, with a deliciously greasy morning meal. Eight bites later, it as time to do a final glance around the room, check for any lost or missing items, and then leave the hostel behind us. As we checked out it was a solemn affair, and the walk down to the cable car's turn table was much more quiet than usual.

Standing in the BART station I helped her buy her ticket on the machines that caused us no end of trouble one week ago, and then we stood. It would be three months until we saw each other again – and sure there was the wonders of internet to keep in contact, but still – it wouldn't be three months until we got to explore any new cities, or attractions, together again.

The parting of ways was long in the underground, and then as she descended below on the escalator, I headed up to the streets surface.

I made a pay phone call (receiving fifty cents from the phone's change return for my toll free trouble) to my buddy who I'd be spending the next few days with. He told me to grab the three o'clock train and meet him around four, when he was getting off of work.

I had five hours to kill – but this bothered me not. I headed back to Union Square, found a plug to jack into, and connected to the parks wifi once more. So long as the rain held off, this would be a perfect excuse to spend hours on the internet catching up on my blogging, and replying to emails. Not having touched base with the world in nearly a week, my parents were sure to be thinking the worst. And they were! Messages sent assuring them I was alive, and off to the blogging.

As I sat tying one surreal moment occurred. A teenager in a striped colourful shirt came up to me, and said, “excuse me.” He then keeled beside me. “I have something to tell you,” all the while talking in a calm voice, awkward but kind, “I just want you know that Jesus loves you. Look if that sounds weird then... Take it, leave it – do what you want. I just thought you should know.” He then stood up, and joined his two friends, and walked off.

Is it wrong that my first reaction was the check to make sure I still had my wallet in my pocket?

Just before one the wifi dropped and I couldn't get it back. This, coupled with my growing need to pee, sent me out in search of a washroom. With an eighty liter pack on your back, you are not inconspicuous. However, San Francisco has a number of public green washrooms around the city. I found one, y need to use it growing exponentially by my proximity to it, but the dude inside would not leave. Fifteen minutes later – fifteen! - he finally came out, and then I had to wait for the 55 second clean cycle. While this was, I'm sure, for the best, it was hard to bear.

When the door refused to open after the clean, that was too much. I forced it open, went inside, and just hoed that it wouldn't re-start the clean cycle until I was out.

Waiting, I'd been reading Jurassic Park, and though I still couldn't re-connect to wifi, reading in the park seemed a lovely way to spend a few hours.

I was impressed by how many people spent so many hours here. Having logged a number myself, it was lovely. people watching is great at Union Square, some others are doing just that – friends hang out, just sitting on the steps in the warm sun, and others like myself choose to beak away and read. It really will be hard to let this city go. I wonder if they need Canadian teachers here?

Time came, and I grabbed the bus to the CalTrain station, and then picked up a three zone ticket there to take me down to Silicon Valley. Land of highways, towns every couple of miles, connected by urban sprawl, and not a whole lot else – well except for the various tech campuses. And universities. And anything else that the high tech industry needs.

To be honest, I wasn't here to sightsee, I was here to visit an old friend. And within a few hours of arriving it was as good as old times. A sweet apartment I was going to be staying in, with quite possibly the best entertainment set up I've seen, complete with delightful leather couch.

Connected to the TV was a computer, video games, and all sorts of other techie treats. Watching internets on giant screens? Apparently that's the only way to roll. I wouldn't have it any other way anymore.

I played some Uncharted, and got my butt handed to me by the AI for far longer than I should have been, even with the difficulty turned down to as easy as possible. After that, we watched a Doc on the BBS era, and reminisced about running ours back in the day.

From there it just kind of went on more or less the same, coupled with a brief trip to Wal-Mart to stock up on batteries. While there I came across two ridiculous ways to get cheap AAA batteries. For five dollars, I ended up with a digital picture frame shaped like a golf ball, capable of showing seventy pictures if uploaded properly. And I also grabbed a wee little frame that takes pictures and puts faces on cartoon bodies. Also ridiculous – but together I got five AAA batteries out of the deal. And the tech too, yeah?

Ohh in other news, while at Wal-Mart the computer back at the apartment was busy running PhotoRec bringing my dead memory card back to life, and saving the images I had thought lost. Two backups were made of them. Success!

In chronological news – the date is March 26.

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