Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 42: San Francisco

So I have been in San Francisco for a few days now and it has been pretty fun.  Just like arriving in Toronto when the TIFF was on, by coincidence I arrived in San Francisco during Fleet Week: the annual air show/ship show.  I got to enjoy the sight and sound of jets and other planes soaring above as I walked along the beach by Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge.  Another HUGE coincidence was the presence of other Canadians staying at the Hostel during my trip;  about 9 of us in all and 6 of those ARE FROM EDMONTON.  So we all enjoyed spending time with each other at the hostel each day.



At this point I must warn you that my camera somehow became damaged and had trouble focusing when zoomed out.  I think it may have accidently turned on while on the bus from New Orleans and became crushed by the other stuff in my bag.  So, sometimes I didn’t get the shots I intended to get. 

On Friday I explored Chinatown and found the fortune cookie factory, where they make the fortune cookies but not the fortunes.  Everyone knows that there is a room full of a thousand monkeys that pumps that stuff out (just kidding).  The batter is pressed into a round mould that make a flat disc. it comes out warm and flexible enough to fold into the fortune cookie shape.  The folding and placing of the fortune is done by an old short Chinese lady.



Another popular tourist area of San Francisco is known as Fisherman’s Wharf, a series of piers that house museums, docking ships, shops and restaurants and sea lions.  On pier 45 there is a museum dedicated to old mechanical games, fortune telling machines, dioramas, and early animation machines.  It was more fun than a barrel of monkeys and everyone had a huge smile on their face! 



Pier 39 is the most popular of the piers and house many restaurants, shops and attractions including the sea lions.  The sea lions didn’t do much except lay in big piles and occasionally bark; nevertheless it was cool to see them.  I learned that one of San Francisco’s signature dishes is clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl.  it was a good idea that should be done more often, less dishes.  On my final day I returned to Fisherman’s Wharf to tour the Boudin Bakery; famous for their place in SF history and their sourdough bread.  It started as a family bakery at the time of the gold rush and continues today.   Apparently San Francisco has a unique climate and atmosphere that makes a special yeast that is better for sourdough breads.



I took a tour of downtown which was actually a lesson in land economics lead by a economic professor.  He mostly pointed out buildings and places that related to the idea that land is owned by a person and what a stupid idea this was or what a good idea that was. But it made me reflect on who really owns a piece of land and, based on this, what land should be used for.  I believe the land is given to humans to use and to be cared for.  If land belongs to anyone it should belong to the community, which is what the guide was arguing minus the spiritual aspect. 





I attended a church near the hostel called Glide United Methodist Church which is famous for it’s revival by the radical pastor Cecil Williams and its jazzy gospel choir.  It is very very open and very liberal towards anyone who walks through the door; it is a tourist church who has on any given Sunday 30% visitors from all over the world.  I was disgusted at how little homage and glory and praise was given directly to God during the service.  They seem to praise more the human spirit and positive thinking and the power of community without acknowledging the power of God behind that.  Then in the sermon they talked about Lazarus being dead and how Jesus freed him and brought him to life.  This story was used to encourage people to ‘come out’ of a dead life and become alive.  A good message until they also mention ‘come out of the closet’ .  A very gay friendly church and very controversial.  

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