Wednesday, November 28, 2007

San Fran Roundtrip For Dummies

Ahh.. Thanksgiving. The time of year when Americans give heed to the illustrious feast between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Average folk migrate in numbers over state lines in order to cuddle up with mom's freshly stuffed fowl. Long I have dreamed of pressing my lips into the crevice of a succulent roast and feel the basted ingredients stream down my clefty chin. And because I am the luckiest fuck this side of the Mississippi I actually got the chance this year. Maybe not in such a graphic manner, but I nonetheless had a traditional turkey dinner with everything, even pumpkin pie which I can tell is the bees knees. The gastronomical bliss actually made me forget about the Indians suffering lifetimes of oppression, being forced off their land and wiped out, later having to live in reservations to uphold their fading cultural heritage. That's how good it was. May well be a conspiracy of foods!

Me and my often mentioned roommate Jonathan got up at 3am to set out on the train ride from LA to San Francisco. Cheap tickets from AMTRAK would get us there. The train however proved to be the lesser part of the trip, as we were mostly directed onto buses. It was an inland trip, LA to Bakersfield to Stockton to San Fran. Cruising through orchards I could slowly see the vegetation shift from the dry rock of Southern California to the temperate and green north. It felt close to home. It was a tedious ride as the train seemed to go at paralympic speed. Jonathan explained: "These tracks are privately owned, so freight trains are always prioritized, therefore every commercial train ride is slow as shit". Figures. Eventually we made it to Stockton. Of all the seedy places I've been to, this one takes the cake. The scenery was post apocalyptic. Apparently a lot of prisons thrive in this part of California. We soon found ourself sharing the bus with ex convicts fresh out of jail. They were all wearing the same outfit, a manila envelope and a cane. I guess few people make it through the correctional system without getting messed up in some physical manner. *flinch* Armed with an ipod and sunglasses I kept to myself for the rest of the trip and soon got off by the Ferry Building of San Francisco, greeted by my Uncle John (who will from now on be referred to as UJ and sometimes even John).

John immediately took me to see my relatives. My 94 year old great aunt, uncle Fred, his wife Dorothy and their two kids Chris and Jennie. I felt like the scruffy ghost of Christmas past having not showered in 36 hours. But thanks to the miracle of caffeine and a luxurious gold studded shitter I was soon fresher than Fran Drescher. That's Nanny Fine YO! Fred and John must have come from separate testicles as they were almost complete opposites personality wise. This lead to a healthy amount of rude comments around the table. Once the bird was out of the oven we watched the game and gained weight. I used what little knowledge I had of the NFL to converse about other things than Norway, seals and whales. I grew tired of talking about the old country on my first day in the states and as you can imagine the questions were many. After digging into the pumpkin pie I found myself out of breath. I always overdo it during the holidays. Soon I found myself on the road again in UJ's sweet Volvo heading for Palo Alto.

BTW. Get your reading glasses boy, this blog is long.

Palo Alto is a place you go to live. My uncle settled there many years ago when it wasn't only for people with skid marks on their credit cards. It's a quiet place and the suburban part of it is surrounded by thick and finally - authentic green vegetation. Keep in mind that northern California is the location of Endor, the Ewok forest. Especially you mom, that reference is so you. A big part of the town is the community belonging to Stanford University. A place of great brains and greater funding. Us poor are allowed to cruise around campus, though. And so we did, we even stopped by the museum that held many of the early minimalist pieces that came out of SoCal after the war. The place altogether was pretty awe inspiring. God, I wanna go there. Perhaps in another lifetime.

It's a slow paced life hanging out with people over 60. A speed that suited me well after stressing like Ranch Dressing in West Hollywood. We stopped by some of John's old hippie friends and I had my second turkey dinner served with a side of mind bending philosophical questions. New Age questions about life is definitely something to ponder upon if you have an open mind about that sort of thing, said the atheist. Mwell.. maybe I'm becoming agnostic.

After two days of gluttony and existential conversations the time for goodbyes was at hand. UJ dropped me off in Golden Gate Park. I roamed around for an hour, stopped by the De Young Museum, but I was too stressed out to really enjoy it. I sometimes baffle myself at the lack of interest I have when introduced to 200 year old stuff. Too much coffee or ADD I guess. I parked my carcass on a bench until Jonathan showed up with his wild and opinionated possy of locals. In a rebuilt greyhound bus, equipped with everything but a self cleaning oven, we cruised around the park until we found a place to play. (The ride reminded me of the infamous Love Goat, bus of the ages. May it not be purged - but thrive at the hands of sinful yuppie puppies from Northstrand!!) Field games are fun. Especially when there's Corona involved. The games of choice were Egg Toss, Egg Running, Sack Race, Tug-o-war and the oddly named Chug-o-war. The latter was only for multitaskers with unquenchable thirst.
After two hours everyone was at a state of geriatric fatigue. Time for nutrition! Another day, another turkey dinner. Suffice it to say that I've had my fill of facially unaesthetic bird for the year. The evening went by at lightning speed and alarming amounts of intoxicating beverages were consumed. Jonathan AKA Horse Feather introduced me to one of his buddies from the south. Kansas Steve AKA King Cobra. We played dart and talked about Portland. Twas a fine time! I wound up with the trucker name Mudd Flaps (the reason escapes me. Filthy man boobs come to mind).

The morning after we went to lunch and quickly found out that we needed to take it slow for the day. After countless hours on the couch watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force we went to dinner on Hate Street, the old hippie part of town. Again we met great people. One of them is a publicist working for a bunch of lawyers who after receiving their law degrees found out that they didn't want to be lawyers... Go figure! They now make do-it-yourself books for immigrants, one of which is "How to get a green card". I persuaded her to send me a copy. Hopefully I can put it to good use! For those of you who don't know, a green card provides non-American citizens with a lot of rights you cannot get on a regular visitor or student visa. Like the opportunity to work legally. It would be nice to be able to pay my own bills in the long run and not worry about getting the IRS or Immigration on my back. Obtaining visas is a tedious paper mill that I don't want to go through again. I imagine however that the green card process might the peak of bureaucracy. Should be worth it, however. More on this as it progresses.

Early Monday morning we got back on the train and swished through the countryside at walking speed, again having to deal with Stockton and sociopathic bus drivers. Ahhh...merica. My grand children will definitely hear of this - provided my sperm quality hasn't degenerated to a lifeless kefir-like state. On that positive note I bid you a fine night of rest in an angels crest, and cross my chest at your behest. See you in space gangsters!

1 comment:

Lara said...

Wanna come over for Turkey dinner???