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San Francisco San Francisco

27th November 2011

A Chill Out Day in Galleries and Shops in Sausalito

Sleepy Sausalito Street
    It was a bright sunny day, therefore I decided to take Marcia across the bay to Sausalito, the beautiful small town just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. We had time for a brief browse around the Ferry Building, ogling at the numerous eateries and small shops. We also tried some delicious Cannolis, small pastry rolls filled with custard, absolutely scrumptious.
    Soon we were gliding past Alcatraz in calm waters. What a contrast to last September, today there were many more seats than passengers. Half an hour later we were strolling down the pleasant streets of Sausalito, with its "gingerbread" buildings - fancy wooden facades and balconys. The small trees that lined the streets were already cloaked in autumnal golden hues, and the town was taking on a sleepy atmosphere.
    We struck out along the promenade and called in at all the galleries on the way, and there were quite a few of them. To prevent us getting visual diarrhoea, we broke up our pilgrimage by visiting the odd shop such as the Tibetan clothing shop, or the shop that sold arts and crafts goods such as hanging "flutters" of paper butterflies and fish made out of beads and wire. Marcia must have been getting bored with the latter shop, she almost put her head through the window.
    One particular shop, that captivated both of us, had a collection of animal sculptures, a half metre high in some cases. Each animal had been given a unique character. For instance the dog had a pipe in his mouth and he wore a deerstalker and dinner jacket. A tool bag full of tools was hanging on his side, and the odd insect or small creature were crawling over his body, and countless other additions. As well as these readily recognisable details, the overall form comprised a multitude of textural details, giving the impression it had been created by bending and welding steel rules, saw blades, cogs, compasses and a thousand and one other components. The whole shape had been cast out of bronze, and various textures and inlays had been painted. I could have stared at the detail of each creature for hours, and still not have taken it in.
Gorgeous Foliage
San Francisco across the Bay
    Another curious shop sold nothing but Christmas trees, the fancy artificial snow forming variety, and unbelievable decorations, every variety conceivable. One tree was decorated with mermaids, and then I noticed many more macho mermen adorned it. I thought it odd, but thought nothing more of it until Marcia pointed out that the mermen were customary for gay folk's trees. Well you live and learn.
    We did all the shops and galleries to death - just a big chill out exercise really, in a small pleasant town by the bay. Carefully avoiding all the mad cyclists hell bent on breaking all the speed limits, we crossed the road to the marina side, and ambled back to where we came from, envying the several hundred millions of dollars of craft moored there.
    We ended up at the Spinnaker, a delightful restaurant and bar that stuck out into the bay. I had visited it twice last year. Here we chilled out even more in front of a wall of glass, staring across the bay toward San Francisco; one of the best views going. We nibbled away at strawberry cheesecake with a corner of the restaurant to ourselves, and with not a care in the world. Cormorants and pelicans strutted around the rocks near the building, and a flotilla of kayaks leisurely scuttled past.
    At this time of year the ferries were almost empty, so they tended to stop early. Thus by dusk we were sailing back to the city, by now a galaxy of twinkling lights.
50s Diner
    We spent Marcia's last evening at a Chinese restaurant, full of Chinese customers which served as a good indicator. Here the efficiency of the service was 120%. We were shown to our seats and as soon as our bums had touched the seats, a waitress skidded up alongside us with a trolley full of steaming starters. We were a bit taken aback by the speed at which they were presented and the number of options available. We had to ask her what all these mouth-watering dishes were, which she explained in fast forward mode. We arrived at a choice not quite as speedily as the arrival of the food. Our choices were instantly served up, and the waitress and trolley disappeared off at warp speed. Nanoseconds later, another waitress shot alongside us with a trolley full of different starters. Full points for trying. A few minutes later a couple were plonked at the adjacent table, and the exercise was repeated. The food was piping hot and delicious, the wine exquisite, and the sake warming.
    The lovely day had been a laid back, chill out day, just a wind down in great surroundings with good company - most enjoyable.

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Uploaded from Quadrant Hotel, Auckland on 1st December at 06:35

Last updated 30.11.2011