There was a choice, the boats that had been advertised by the other cycle hire places, they went across the bay and back over to San Francisco. On the other hand their was the cycles and the road that brought us here, technically it was a reversible route, only there was the hill, the one that had been so generously downward on the inward leg. The reversal of this hill posed a concern as I reflected on the question, why had I come over quite so peculiar earlier and based on that would it likely return under the strain of such an effort.
Mitch wasn’t about to be put off by a bit of gradient and I was ready to be swayed either way, declaring defeat and boarding a boat was therefore unlikely as the decision of first choice.
I wasn’t expecting success but set to offering it a token cosmetic effort without expectation, the initial part of the hill had seemed steep on the way down, so first id just aim for the top of that bit and then take it from there. To my surprise I was making it up, past that initial hill out of town and on, I wasn’t even loosing ground on Mitch, least not until the top where the gradient had not been the issue id expected the wind was more assured. Toward the top it gusted heftily through the channel dug out for the road and slowed me to a brief stop. My stomach was doing nothing, neither the heat nor the effort had been cause for further issues, all that 1.5leters of cola that must by now be swilling about within seemed to be working out for the best.
After a momentary pause I remounted, it was all but flat by now and was shortly back by the bridge. The weather had changed, clouds had drawn in from somewhere and now capped round the bridge struts. Some more photos, for quite unnecessary reasons and onward, a return leg of greater pace than had been achieved earlier and uninterrupted. I couldn’t quite recall where we’d picked up the bikes and stopped with a view to returning mine at what wasn’t quite the right store. I’d simply opted for the first store to appear, that’s how I remembered things, its not how things were, as Mitch rolled past and onward an additional but important few meters.
Apparently we’d only been gone a couple of hours, a cause for further price reductions, always welcome. The fish market was close by and Mitch’s mind had turned to retrieving something from its assorted marine offerings. Seldom in mind for particular delights of the fluddery and salty things, today was not such a day when the stomach would be calling for bravery or exceptions … nor was in any particular hurry to sample that which was so duly fried. I opted out.
We headed back, taking in a café as we headed away from the bay and encountered the San Francisco cable car, then a fair bit of cross town hill wondering on the way back to the hotel.
For the evening we made a second and more successful effort and using the underground to head to a different part of town, we’d hear that somewhere around 24 and 18th street .. there was options and out going points of interest.
The underground was externally ropey but came with a level of seating and space unfamiliar to those accustomed to the tube. Emerging at the other end, we were underwhelmed by some more developing economy style dilapidation, hoping for something in the way of improvement we started walking, it was after all a stretch of road that we’d been pointed at and this was only one end of that.
The road was in no kind of hurry toward improving, a mixture of grime and discarded rubbish, while the shops looks like temporary buildings in need of a touch of paint and possibly a spot of demolishing and stating again with a less DIY, left over materials from the back of the shed theme. Seldom has a city so underwhelmed, the advise to anyone intending to go would be don’t believe the hype, set you expectations low and the city wont disappoint as shortly shy of average, its hard to believe this was one of the worlds wealthiest nations. Mind Birmingham isn’t entirely all that, aesthetically speaking but then I’m not sure we have too many tourist campaigns espousing its delights. It does a fine line in congestion, as easy to escape as a mythical Greek maze.
Still not working now, not in Birmingham on these days – San Francisco and just as we were commencing the process of wondering what exactly to settle uncomfortably on, we did come upon a slightly richer vein of options. Discovering a bring your own, limited menu options curry house which we reasonably quickly settled on.
Drinks sourced from off license shop, conveniently located opposite we returned to what was clearly a popular spot, filling most quickly and it was good. Better than many Curry restaurants back home with their far more extensive menus, here it might have been simple and the options limited but what does that matter if its good and it really was.
After dinner we made a passing effort, burdened by a lack of belief forged of the impressions formed during our earlier wonderings, to find somewhere else to go to. Unready to head back just yet we settled on the nearest thing we could find to meet the criteria of being open, none disconcerting and somewhere to go.
The bar tender put in quite the performance, a lesson in profession bar manning, taking orders from one while serving up assorted types of beverages to others. We could do with a few of these types back home, where getter served is a war of attrition that is doing untold damage to the British reputation for queuing, not even polite pretense is given to such notions in most domestic bars these days. Only ten years ago such behaviour was notable though not exceptional, now it’s customary. Here there was no such need, so swiftly this lone bar tender operated, taking orders committing them to memory, most impressive. The bar on the other hand was a little lacking in charm, perfectly pleasant but with too little about it to warrant any sort of longer visit than the time taken for those couple of post dinner drinks to be supped down, as we perched upon our bar side stools.