Day 12: Friday 3rd June 2011. Apocalyptic muffin and house coffee and a quick early tour of the excellent downtown art galleries. Two gay companions provide an entertaining caricature to pass the time on the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transportation) to SFO.
The trick to enjoying America is to embrace cliché. Yes the gays on the BART are stereotypical; do not worry whether TV comedy imitates life or vice versa. Yes, the food is either gross salty fatty omnipresent or ridiculously labelled and expensive organic. Our Yosemite bus tour made us feel more than ever like typical tourists. The pathways, signage, food halls and costumed rangers all cry, “Yogi Bear Theme Park”. However.
In a counter-intuitive parallel with city tourism, there is a common secret: you must look UP to see the architecture. And, “God’s architecture” is without parallel. Look up. Laugh. Weep. Pray. For once, enjoy using the words correctly. Unique. Awesome.
Our ascent out of SFO aboard WestJet-1777 is steep as the cable cars’ below us, throwing up its touristic cargo of occupational observers to where they only can appreciate the shapeliness of San Francisco, re-formed under the nose of nature, that great dictator of place and space, by the revolutionary, the defiant rebel bridge.
We’ve grated through US Homeland Security and reclined softly into Canadian homely security. “This is your seat belt” announces the stewardess. “In case you haven’t been in a car for the last 40 years, here’s how it works,..” After 12 days in the USA, I’d quite forgotten about ironic humour.
It’s wonderful to be reunited with Uncle Lyn and Aunty Jenny and my cousin Melanie, where we are staying in Chilliwack, an hour from Vancouver.. We straight out to a classic wooden home where friends gather to play music. Ravel’s String Quartet is the opener, followed by some jaunty hornpipes for strings, and then I do a recital of acoustic guitar music on a borrowed guitar, which turns out to be a success, with a improvised slide blues encore.