North America | United States of America (USA) | California | San Francisco – Present…Day 3: 29 April 2002
If I were a superstitious person, which it just so turns out I am, I would take all of these signs I have been reading lately and put them to use. Namely: something out there is telling me to go to New Zealand and Australia. Today was no different.
HAPPY ANZAC DAY
I trudged up California Street watching the tourist filled streetcar pass me by but determined to save my cash and get a nice workout at the same time. I was heading to Grace Cathedral hoping to catch the 3:30 Evensong all music service. I wasn’t the only one. There were people all over the outside of the cathedral. In uniforms. Foreign uniforms. One guy was in a kilt (let’s hope he is Scotish).
Upon entry to the Cathedral I heard the familar accent of a Kiwi who asked me if I was there for the ANZAC service. Nodding, he led me down the row of pews and gave me an ANZAC poppy lapel decoration and the program for the service. Looks like for the day I was an honorary antipode.
It didn’t suck. It was more a history lesson and memorial service rather than your run of the mill church faire. A procession began the service with Australian, New Zealand, Turkish, and American flags carried by members of the respective armed forces. For the first time I heard the national anthems of these countries (sans Turkey. not sure why) and, of course, Britain’s was sung too.
The speakers were the Hon. Consul-Generals for Australia, New Zealand and Britain and a Major from the Turkish Army.
For those who do not know, ANZAC Day commemorates the now 87th Anniversary of the landing of ANZAC troops at Gallipoli. A failed mission, by the way, in which most died. Janet Coyle, the President of the New Zealand American Association mentioned how almost every family down under was effected by the loss of a son, brother or father. It was a sad occasion which is now celebrated, as it seems, worldwide.
I felt I learned something today. About the history and the pride of the people of Australia and New Zealand. I cannot wait to travel there.
A LITTLE ITALY
Having a little time before I had to return to the BART station since the trains run on a restricted Sunday schedule I wandered down to North Beach, the Little Italy of SF, by way of Chinatown again. I enjoy this walk, past the myriad tourist shops hawking chirping cricket toys, chopsticks, backpacks, cameras…this place has not changed since I was enamoured with it when 12 years old.
I decided to visit my favorite coffee shop Cafe Trieste just north of Columbus and Grant. It’s a place that plays Italian music over the sound system and, for as long as I’ve been going there, the same Italian barista has served me. I grabbed a cafe au lait and a little table in the busy cafe and, in accordance with my surroundings, read a few chapters of ‘The Dharma Bums’ by Monsieur Kerouac. He lived and played spitting distance from here. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hung out at Cafe Trieste.
The walls are covered in framed photos of famous and neighborhood patrons of the cafe…I recognized Coppola for sure…hey, is that Ginsberg?
I returned back to home base for dinner and am now finishing up this journal entry so I can pack up and hit the sack early (or try to) because the alarm has been set for 6:45 am tomorrow. The train leaves at 10:00 am and we have to leave by 7am to join the traffic in to Oakland.
This weekend ended too quickly. I am already sad to return to LA and the grind of unemployment. As it turns out I have a chance to house sit up here in two weeks while my Grandparents go on an Alaskan Cruise. Here’s hoping unemployment holds out until then. Wait, shouldn’t I be hoping for a job offer? Whatever.