A glorious clear day here on the Bay, not a cloud in the sky. A perfect time for a cable car ride up to Fisherman’s Wharf, to book up for Alcatraz. Cable cars are so very cool. The world’s only mobile National Monument, they are both efficient and beautiful objects. I’m poignently reminded of the Routemaster bus. The perfectly adapted transport for the urban terrain. The brakemen that drive them are courteous, charming and funny. Entertainers in charge of running a cable-driven mechanical wonder up 1-in-4 gradient hills safely. Only one in three applicants for the job will make it. It’s not a job I think I could successfully handle.
Yeah, let’s talk about the hills. They’re something else. I know SF is famed for the vertiginous quality of it’s landscape, but the sheer comedy value of how steep things can get is actively surprising. It’s like the whole city was designed by someone with a serious thing for rollercoasters. You become very aware of the downside to every upside.
Here’s a downside. We’re both knackered. Well and truly. I’ve dragged us up and over every hill in SF over the last couple of days, and the exercise has caught us and given us Chinese burns. Not good when you only have a week to squeeze in as much as you can, and all you want to do is splat in your hotel room.
However. Still a nice day. I’ve got a touch of sunburn to the nose after basking in the unexpected sunshine at Aquatic Park today. We have eaten extraordinarily well for very little money at Nonna Rose’s. And we have been culturally nourished too. We took a trip to the Museum of Modern Art (half price on a Thursday after 6, cheap art fans) and checked out the Olafur Eliasson retrospective. Some extraordinary work in here, playing with ideas of colour and light in ways that left my head spinning. An example. The lift doors to the exhibition open to a flood of yellow light. This is Room For One Colour. The lobby is lit by monochromatic lamps, that shut the spectrum down to yellow and black. It’s like being in a Sin City out-take. Skintone becomes greyscale with bright sunshiney fill. It’s deeply bizarre, and you can’t stand it for long. Well, I couldn’t anyway. Colour’s too important to me for it to be lost so easily.