Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Berkeley by BART ( + colourful Chinatown & frightening Financial District)

The view from the street in front of my hotel

Actually, a brief visit to Chinatown is first on today's agenda:

Chinatown beckoned me using the fancy gate it presents to Bush Street, which I was heading down towards the Em-barcadero.

And I am very glad I was lured in; a nice break from the car-crazy streets right next to it.

But then other architectural styles catch my eye.

I leave Chinatown to get a closer look at the Transamerica Pyramid.  Of course, as is often the case with very tall buildings: you can't find them anymore when you get to distances of 1 or 2 blocks away because other buildings block the view.

Adding another bear to my collection
On my search for the Transamerica Pyramid, I imagine armies of busy financial workers spending their days in these towers:

 Then I finally find the friggin Pyramid again:

A quick check in the San Francisco Ferry building reveals that the next ferry to Oakland would not leave until 2.5 hours later, so BART will have the honour of transporting me and the bike to Berkeley.  Finding a store that sells cigarettes around here is difficult, but finally I find the one hidden store on the second level of Pier 39 that does.

The San Francisco Ferry Building

Like the Tram !!

Then it's time to take the bike on BART. The dark windows in this picture indicate that the train presently is travelling through a 6 km long metal tube (The Transbay Tube) that BART engineers fabricated on land and then dropped to a depth of 41 meters into the mud of San Francisco Bay. It was fastened in place by dumping sand and gravel over it. And this thing has been in operation since 1974.

San Francisco is located in an earthquake zone.

Anyone still wondering why I don't like dark windows in BART?

But I make it out of the tube unrattled and unscathed.  Getting out of the BART station wasn't quite that simple:
Lets just blame it on my tourist status that I manage to have my bike 'nailed' into place by a pair of those moving wings in the exit gates.  As if this wasn't bad enough, the woman in the booth that finally hears my knocking and releases my bike from the grip of those things decides that she should give me a lecture on proper procedure as well.  Ah well, let's hope it improved her day ;-)

The hallowed gates of University of California at Berkeley:

In Berkeley, I meet Alan for lunch at La Note, a French restaurant. Their Salad Nicoise is quite good and their Viognier is even better ;-) 

Alan texting

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