diamond geezer

 Saturday, April 22, 2006

golden gate geezer (day 6)

Sights seen (1) Pacific Ocean: The western terminus of San Francisco's metro system, Ocean Beach, sounds so much more alluring than Uxbridge, Edgware or Upminster. A short walk across the dunes and you're on a sweeping stretch of golden sand with the breaking Pacific surf lapping at your feet. Surfers run repeatedly into the waves, owners pad patiently after their dogs and long-beaked birds poke down into the sand searching for lunch. Container ships chug silently by, past distant hills and rocky headlands, while beneath the clifftop restaurant lie the overgrown ruins of an ornate public bathhouse. Welcome to the edge of the world.
Sights seen (2) Angel Island: It's not easy to get to the largest island in San Francisco Bay. The ferry for Angel Island leaves at 10am sharp (I caught it with just two minutes to spare), and heaven help you if you're not back in time for the return sailing at twenty past three. Midweek in early spring the island is pretty much deserted, just a few OAP tourists hiking or biking five miles round the perimeter road, and several schoolchildren on early summer camp. Scattered round the island are various decrepit military garrisons and an immigration station where would-be settlers from Asia were held, often for many months. Highlight of the visit was the gentle zigzag climb up to the summit of Mount Livermore, past scuttling lizards and soaring eagles. From the peak the majesty of the Bay was spread out all around - tiny yachts bobbing through eddying currents, small towns clinging to rolling green hills and the arrow-straight streets of San Francisco clearly visible in the distant haze. All this and a close-up view of Alcatraz on the return ferry - magic.

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