Sunday, September 16, 2007

What a beautiful morning

Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market

We went to the Ferry Plaza because I wanted to buy some chocolate there. It's kind of a silly reason, but I also wanted to go to the Ferry Plaza because I love it there. Even when I'm not eating myself, I love to sit with Ziad and Maya on the walkway where the restaurants have their tables, looking out over the water at the Bay Bridge, watching the ferries come and go. You can see Treasure Island, and even Alcatraz, and the sun and the water make everything look surreally beautiful. I feel as if I'm wandering through a painting.

This day, though, the Farmer's Market was in full swing. I've never had a chance to check the San Francisco Farmer's Market out, and I have to say, I was really impressed. They have EVERYTHING there! Meats, eggs, cheese, produce of all descriptions (I'm actually starting to get tired of heirloom tomatoes), fresh fish, smoked fish, sausages, and all kinds of prepared foods and baked goods. I exercised self-restraint until we got to the place where they were selling heirloom beans. They had all kinds of beans I have never even heard of, and some that I've always been curious about, like scarlet runner beans. There were red beans, beige and yellow beans, black beans, brown beans, round beans, big beans, small beans -- all kinds of beans, and all beautiful. They even had a huge basket of all different kind of beans for people to run through their fingers, admiring the colors and smooth texture. Since beans keep practically forever, it didn't feel too frivolous to get four pounds worth. Now that I have them home, I'm not sure how long it's going to take us to eat them, but I sure enjoy looking at them.

Cable Car Museum

Ziad wanted to go to the Cable Car Museum. He wanted it so much that I spend a good half hour circling various permutations of streets in the vicinity, looking, looking, looking for a parking place. Damn! Parking is tight around there. We had chosen to drive to the museum rather than figure out the bus/trolley/cable car combination that would have gotten us from the ferry plaza, largely because it seemed faster. By the time I had parked, I wasn't so sure. Plus we were all kind of dizzy from going around in circles.

We finally got there, though, and walked into the building. It's a noisy place, because the wheels (called sheaves) that turn the cables that pull the cars are right out in the open. There's not all that much to see, but it's free, and it's interesting. Because Ziad is getting older, I enforced a little learning: "Either tell me something you learned today or go learn something and then tell me." He chose to look at the gripping mechanism that the cars use for hitching a ride on the cables.

I myself was interested to learn that the cable cars were installed around 1897, and by the 1940s were slated for destruction. It took a determined and forceful effort to save them. Reading about the fight for their survival, I remembered what an integral part they are of San Francisco's image in other parts of the world. Living nearby, I think of San Francisco as part of my backyard. We love the museums, the restaurants, the ocean, the bridge, the ballet, and yes, the cable cars. The cable cars themselves, though, are really a small part of the overall picture. In fact, Ziad and Maya had never even been on one until a few years ago. My point, though, is that something can seem out of date and irrelevant 70 years after it's construction, but integral and valuable 70 years after that. The fact that San Francisco has one of the few operational cable car systems in the world is now a source of civic pride.



Blogger Lesley said...

I love SF, but what I love more if old SF.

Vertigo was on a few nights ago. Most of the movie was shot in SF. I love watching the street scenes... people rushing around. Jumping off and on cable cars. The clothing, the dress, the hats.

My dad lived in the city in his younger days. Vertigo was filmed in 1958. My dad would have been 38 when they filmed that movie. I like to think I see him in the back drop.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

That's a nice thought. It really is a great movie.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Vivian said...

I wish I have a chance to go to the SF farmer's market some day, or even better, to live close to a big market like that and go every morning to gather what's needed for the day. Just like my grandmother did in Guangzhou. She couldn't understand what a refrigerator was for.

3:49 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home