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3rd September 2010

A Return Visit to Sausalito and an Excellent Evening's Entertainment from a Funky Blues-Jazz Band

    This morning I walked around to the local cafe which was run by three generations of a Chinese family. I had eaten breakfast here a few times. The staff were ultra polite, the food was good value for money, and there was always a nice ambience to the place. It was always busy with folk popping in for a bite, or for food and/or drink to go. I preferred frequenting the local areas near where I was staying, they were off the beaten track as far as tourists were concerned, and so it gave me the chance to sample the real San Francisco.
    The cafe had signs up stating that no students would be served during school hours. I presumed the school referred to was the high school a hundred yards down the road. This morning, a young guy came in, ordered some food, sat down and proceeded to eat his meal. Other customers arrived and left with their to-gos. Then another young chap strolled up to the cafe entrance, spat on the floor outside while he finished his cigarette, and then entered and started ordering his food.
    Then a young woman in her early thirties arrived and stood in the doorway. She was dressed neatly in crisp jeans and a navy blue jacket, and her hair was tied up in a bun. She also had a string of keys on her side dangling from a chain, and a walkie-talkie attached to her belt.
    She stood in the doorway and stared at each of the two young men in turn. Then she addressed each of them in turn with, "What are you doing here?". They had obviously skipped school. One mumbled back something about having a free period, the other muttered that his teacher had let him out at the beginning of the lesson to buy some food. She wasn't having any of it, and stepped outside to call up security on her walkie-talkie. I never did find out if it was school security or some other form of security. She stepped back inside the cafe and made it clear that neither had been allowed out of the school The woman didn't exactly tell them to go back to school, but she stressed that they were abusing trust and respect. The youngsters left and headed off in the direction of the school without protest.
    Her attention then focused on some rubbish littering the street further down in the direction of the school. An older guy, that she seemed to know, said that it was the result of some kids fooling around, and he offered the name of a particular hoodlum who was the ringleader. She didn't seem to be convinced with the name given, but she called in to security again. After ordering a to-go for herself, she disappeared to pursue her business. I was not sure what part of the authority she represented, but she certainly meant business and commanded respect.
    Sustained on bacon, eggs, toast and hot black coffee, I walked to Pier 41 to catch a ferry across to Sausalito. Dan and I had driven there when we arrived over here from Yosemite. It was a good move to make today, as the small fishing port was basking in glorious sunshine when I arrived, but looking back across the bay to San Francisco, Nobb Hill and Russian Hill were already cloaked in mist.
A Sunny Alcatraz on the Way - For a Change
Approaching Sausalito
    The town had served as the ferry terminal for the highway 101 traffic before the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. Later it developed rapidly as a shipbuilding centre in World War II, after which it gave way to a reputation as a wealthy and artistic enclave, a picturesque residential community, and a very popular tourist destination.
Which Do You Prefer?
    I took my time strolling down the water front, peering into the gift shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants. As for the art galleries, I gave them all an inspection. Sausalito had become a bit of an artists' colony. I had interesting chats with some of the owners, and discovered that the coming weekend was Labour Weekend: Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Sausalito traditionally held an arts festival over the Labour Weekend.
Sausalito Side Street
Sausalito Flowers
    I explored some of the side streets. These were leafy with brightly coloured flowers hanging everywhere, and shop contents spilling out onto the pavements. It was the perfect place to while way a few hours. I popped into the Spinnaker for a light lunch. When Dan and I had a quick snack here twelve days ago there were stacks of room; today it was packed out. I pushed the boat out by enjoying a glass of Napa Valley Chardonnay with my meal, I wasn't driving today. I had no plan in mind and no schedule to meet, so I chilled out looking across the blue waters of the bay to the misty city. Bliss!
Dinghy Pontoon
    As I left Sausalito, mist was rolling in from the hills towards the town, like a silent Niagara Falls. The mist descended into the valley between the mountains and the town, and evaporated as it hit a thermal inversion layer. It was a spectacular sight to see.
    In the evening I headed down to Union Square. The place was electrifying on a Friday night, with crowds of people milling around in all directions. I absorbed the atmosphere for a while, trying to deduce where people were coming from and going to, but gave up in the end. I walked up Geary since I knew there was the Biscuits and Blues club a couple of blocks up, and entered. There were two gigs on tonight; one upstairs and the other in the basement. I chose the upstairs Union Room since from what the guy at the door was telling me, it would be more up my street; a mixture of blues and jazz. Here, Victor Little and Life were playing, Victor being on bass. The band featured original, innovative, and exhilarating instrumental and hook-laden funky-fusion, rhythm and blues groove-jazz. On guitar was Jaco Abel, a chap hailing from Madrid, who was exceedingly talented. He came from a long line of Spanish guitarists, who had developed their own style of flamenco playing. For a start, he played flamenco on an electric guitar, which was a no-no with traditional players, and he used a plectrum and finger picked at the same time - very clever. He gave a demonstration which went down well with the audience. The overall gig was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    That was a brilliant way to round off the day.
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Uploaded from Francisco Bay Inn, 1501 Lombard Street, San Francisco CA on 04/09/10 at 10:05

Last updated 4.9.2010