back to the bay

November 27, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, Bharat and I decided that we wanted to get away for a few days from the daily routine of student life in Columbia and go someplace where we could just relax and forget all those ethics papers, HTML codes and final projects. For a while, we thought about going to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, but then a few days before the Thanksgiving break, Mike Flynn called me from Oakland, Calif. Mike was my exchange partner during a high school student exchange program in 1998 and we haven’t seen each other in about eight years. Excited about the idea of visiting him in California, I went online to check flight fares and found a round trip for $250.00. Bharat didn’t need to be convinced. He was all for it and so last Saturday at 6 a.m., we left for Kansas City to catch our flight…

Sunrise at a gas station somewhere between Columbia, Mo., and Kansas City on Saturday morning.

As soon as we reached California, Bharat put on a happy smile that wouldn’t leave his face until we came back to Missouri…

Mike and his girlfriend Aliya at Fort Mason. We stayed at Mike’s place in Oakland, where he introduced us to the world of Domino and Bay Area Rap.

Mike has an orange tree growing in his back yard, and for the first time in my life, I had oranges fresh from the tree. I’m not lying when I say that these were the best I’ve ever had.

Saturday night, Mike and Aliya took us to a concert of the band Cafe Tacuba at the Fox Theater in Oakland, an amazing, palace-like theater that was recently restored. The tickets were $40.00 each, which seriously conflicted with our budget, but when we got there, Mike overheard two guys in front of the theater talking in Spanish about some tickets that they had in their hands and asked them how much they wanted for them. And sure enough they gave them to us for free! So we went to this concert and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Cafe Tacuba’s music is incredibly rich and diverse and these guys pulled off one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take more pictures because they wouldn’t allow us to take our cameras inside. Only when the show was almost over, we checked out our bags and went to the balcony to snap a few frames.

Early afternoon at the Port of Oakland. Urban legend has it that the cranes seen in the background inspired George Lucas to design the AT-AT snow walkers in “The Empire Strikes Back” after them, but Lucas himself denies that.

In the F-Train at Fisherman’s Wharf.

The surf at the cliffs of Fort Mason.

Dessert at the Mission Pie Cafe

…with Vince Tong (left), a friend of Mike’s and Aliya’s, and John Bowman (who I met in SF last March).

Somewhere in the streets of the Mission, on our way to a bar…

…where I just couldn’t resist playing a few riffs on my cue stick guitar.
Photograph by John Bowman

Bharat is taking a break from our Long March from Fort Mason to the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday. The walk was my idea, and it took us about two hours to get there. Our feet were all sore afterward and when we found out that there was a bus from Fort Mason to the Bridge, Bharat seriously considered throwing me off the Bridge for a few moments.

The late afternoon light falls through a small group of trees somewhere along Marine Drive.

Sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Monday night, John took us to the steepest hill in San Francisco. Time for some fun…

Tuesday afternoon on Market Street.

Evening panorama from Twin Peaks.

I know it’s a cheesy picture, but the sunset on Twin Peaks was gorgeous.

On Wednesday, we met my room mate Tim who came to see his girlfriend Autoosa in Berkeley. They took us to the Indian Rock Park, from where we got another breathtaking view of the San Francisco bay. Tim and Autoosa are on the right in the picture.

Playing with the reflections in the window of a BART train on our way to downtown San Francisco Wednesday evening.

Wednesday night we had dinner at the Chan Chan, an awesome Cuban restaurant on 18th St. I really loved the atmosphere of that place, and couldn’t stop taking pictures of Bharat and John in front of this amazing background… This one’s my favorite.

After dinner, John gave us a lift to Oakland and we stopped at Treasure Island, halfway across the Bay Bridge, to catch a last glimpse of the city at night. Once again, we had an unforgettable time in this truly magic city, and it’s just a matter of time until I will be back to the Bay…

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