stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (champ)
[personal profile] stinglikeabee
This entry is written for the benefit of those who read this LJ and are actually interested in the things I have to say (THANKS! <3) and for future-me who will inevitably forget the lessons of the past.

Lesson #1: I am a nutter. That's right future-me, you are mad. Irreparably mad.

Lesson #2: Remember Lesson #1? Keep it in mind always. It's easier that way.

Why would I say this? First piece of evidence: I traveled to and fro LAX via public transportation. What's the big deal, many of those who do not live in LA ask. The big deal is in LA public transportation is absolutely shite. Except for certain municipalities that run their own buses, the Metro Transportation Authority 's operations are pants. I know this, and yet I wake up at 4.15am to catch a 6.00am bus with a rolling luggage thing for a flight at 11.15am. Here was my thinking: the Torrance Muni bus runs directly to the LAX transit center, so I need only catch the LAX shuttle to the terminal. Plus the whole trip only costs me $2.00! To be fair, the Torrance Muni was excellent because it wasn't late, it was clean, and it actually took me to the destination. It was the ride back from LAX that was absolutely crazy. We're talking about shouty person on the late MTA bus who won't leave and threatened grevious bodily harm to other passengers crazy. Then the bus had to stop and wait for the cops, whilst transferring all its (non-mental) passengers to another bus, leading to everyone feeling as if they were playing a game of sardines. A few stops later, a lady came in with her life shoved into a shopping cart dealie and promptly blocked the passageway. Then we all were told to move all the way to the back. I was stuck between my luggage, the lady's shopping cart, the seat, and 3 other people standing. Despite this, the driver continued to add in people. I have NO idea how I even stepped off the bus and out of the crush of people. In the end, I missed my connecting bus and had to wait another half an hour. Well, that's slightly better than the bus breaking down and having to wait for another one. Next time, future-self: Take the Torrance 8 from Carson & Hawthorne to LAX; on return ask someone to give you a lift.

Second piece of evidence: I traveled from SFO via Bart & Muni. Fine, right? Only I forgot to print out the schedules for the bus and the only map I had was tucked tightly into my luggage. How I envied those travelers who need only step away from the Montgomery station and into their hotel. I wandered about with the little rolly, peering at bus stations and their maps, trying to avoid the amused looks onlookers were sending me. The hotel was in Japantown and I knew I could take lines 2, 3, or 4. Unfortunately, did not know these lines depended upon the time - and I had arrived to late for the 3. I could either wait a half hour or find another way. So future-self: print out those damn bus lines and stay somewhere closer, for crying out loud.

Third piece of evidence: I walked everywhere. Growing up on a small island, I enjoyed getting to know the area by walking the beat. Yeah, and this usually means I end up in the really skeevy neighbourhood looking very much like tourist meat. Or I walk around in circles trying in vain to find the street I was searching for. Again, I ask you future self: get a fucking map! Good thing though, is that I did come across Alamo Square when I was lost.There was a gorgeous sunset everyone seem to be capturing on their cameras, but I had barely finished climbing up the damn hill and too damn tired from walking from Japantown to even bother lifting my arms. Plus, as I headed back to Japantown I came across a fella riffing on his electric guitar outside his place and a bunch of people dressed in loud Hawaiian shirts and leis - it was Jimmy Buffett time!

For every mad decision I spontaneously make, there is an uncomfortable consequence. But sometimes, things turn out quite well. Here are a selection of pictures I managed to take during the trip:

From my Hotel Tomo room


The hidden alcove in my room


Behind the curtains


And the view of Japantown


The bloody hotel gym beside my room, which made for awkward mornings


Up on California street near the Financial District, I found Hermes (?)


The payoff from walking up the steep incline of California Street


Art auction at North Beach


Chinatown window shop


There's a bunch more pics from Chinatown that I mean to go over with someone I know who is an ultra-nationalist Taiwanese. Ten days before my visit there was a celebration of 10-10 or Double-Ten day, which marks the collapse of the Qing dynasty and abdication of the last Chinese emperor. It's the national day of the Republic of China, which is what we know as Taiwan. Mainland China is the People's Republic of China. One of this pics to be discussed is this:

The statue of the Goddess of Democracy at Portsmouth Square, Chinatown


I asked the tour guide if that little red paint was deliberate and she grimly replied no, it must have been vandalism from the Double 10 day. The wikipedia link explains the link between this Goddess and the Tianamen Square massacre. If this is indeed vandalism, it would highlight the tension between the older generation and the newer pro-China immigrants in the community. This is definitely something I'd like to discuss further with someone who has a strong viewpoint. Then I'm going to take it over with a friend who has business ties to China, is critical of the Communist party, but has sympathetic leanings and see what she thinks.

That's it folks. The bear you saw in those early pictures is no more, I'm afraid. He disappeared somewhere between Union Square and SFO. I like to think he's still riding Bart, the poor soul. I have one last story about San Francisco I'm saving for Halloween - I'm pretty sure it was a ghost in my room and that I wasn't hallucinating. NaNoWriMo is coming up and I'm going to post sections of what I've written onto this LJ, so be prepared for utter bollocks for the month of November. If interested, why not join up? Then we can all commiserate/cheer each other on at [profile] 2007nanowrimo 

Edit: Forgot about my yelp list of places I went to in San Francisco.
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