Friday, October 18, 2013

Bangkok via San Francisco

Sausalito hills 
It was a long few days getting to Bangkok. Lately, while flying, I find that my legs swell up and I have edema that lasts for a few days. Not only is it rather ugly (I look even fatter with thick ankles and calves) but it is painful and possibly even dangerous. When ankles don't bend and knees are thick, hauling luggage, lifting bags, and just walking long distances through airports can become impossible. I know, I could ask for help with that, get on one of those little electric carts, etc, but I'm not quite ready to admit defeat, or admit to being old....

I'm traveling with my friend Rheta. She has relatives in San Francisco, so we rented an apartment in their complex. It gave us some time to explore, walk a lot, and eat some terrifically good food.

We spent a great deal of time visiting with her son's cousin Bobak (Bobby) and his wife Pantea. They were both born in Iran and came to the US as children but didn't meet until a few years ago, via an Iranian singles website. I knew there was J-Date, the Jewish website. So why not an Iranian one, or an Indian one? I suspect there are Indian websites for each caste and subcaste since marriage outside of one's own cast is rather frowned upon.

Rheta with relatives
They were amazingly well suited to one another. They had a marvelous sense of the absurd, about their own culture and the one they currently live in. And boy did they ever know what to see, and where to eat in San Francisco!

It was pretty easy to figure out the trolleys and the BART system. With only a day and a half, we weren't destined to travel far from the apartment complex, which was just south of the Embarcadero. We walked along the bay-walk, under the bay bridge to the ferry building. It miraculously survived the 1906 earthquake and was the place many people ran toward when the city began to burn; boats were their only means of escape. On Saturdays a giant farmer's market happens there, and across the street is a market of equal size featuring art and handicrafts.

I'm always amazed at how cities self-arrange, how an area becomes an ethnic region, with nothing but a street to divide major and strangely diverse groups. In San Francisco, Columbus avenue is the demarcation line between China Town and the Italian section. One side is filled with dim-sum eateries that stare across the street into pizzarias. And tucked back on a side street is an excellent Iranian restaurant, MayKaday, that just happened to have a table for two when we showed up without a reservation. We feasted on lamb in spinach sauce, chicken, rice pilaf, and then had desserts, a flan-like custard and a rose-water pistachio ice cream. Oh my.

Urban design, bridge
with bike rack....

We took a ferry to Sausalito since neither Rheta nor I had ever been there. It was a beautiful fall day, crisp, a bit windy. Fog hung like rumpled sheets over the hills above the town, but never blocked the sun on the tourists. Rheta had suffered some blisters with her shoes so she purchased a pair of fuzzy house slippers and hung out in a bar while I walked up past the marina and way north to a park where some Zydeco bands were entertaining the townsfolk during a free festival.

Lovely day, a great stopover for the next day's excruciating flight to Tokyo and then Bangkok.

Sausalito's marina

My kind of restaurant, garlicy with a perfect name.