|The treasures of San Francisco
||[Mar. 2nd, 2015|08:40 pm]
Our friend A. takes the New Yorker, and when she comes across something that she thinks might interest us she rips out a handful of pages and sends them, through the post. Because you can still do this. The most recent of these was this article about the Wayback Machine, the archive of the internet. Which is interesting for what it says about archiving, and link rot, and content drift, but also answers a question I had never thought to ask: where is the Wayback Machine? Its physical presence is not in some anonymous server farm on an industrial estate somewhere, but in a neoclassical building ("We bought it because it matched our logo") in San Francisco's Presidio. If we'd known it was there, we could have paid it a visit on the day we were in San Francisco last autumn. desperance, why didn't you tell us? Oh, well, next time. And looking up the location I discovered that the Presidio also has three pieces by Andy Goldsworthy. That, too, next time...
Instead we drove into the city, straight up Highway 1, past the rows of little box houses, all the same size and basic shape, all different pastel shades and every one different in the details - I never get tired of looking at them - and into Golden Gate Park. The Japanese garden was cool and green and full of French people. I asked desperance, how big is the garden? and he told me "It's like your intestines: they occupy a small space, but they go on for miles," This is true. We lunched at the Tea House, and drank different kinds of tea. Japanese pancakes turned out to be drop scones, and the ice cream cabinet was decorated with a cute octopus. The Buddha ignored us benignly:
Back at the car park, there was a flurry of little birds underfoot: about the size of starlings, soft grey all over with iridescent blue-green tails and sharp little beaks.
I wanted to go somewhere where we could be tourists and see the Golden Gate bridge from below (instead of just driving over it), so we went to Baker Beach and walked on the hot sand towards the bridge. Allegedly, Baker Beach permits nude bathing, but there was not a lot of bathing going on: plenty of nude standing about hoping to get in people's tourist photographs, though.
We took the scenic route home, with a pause when we hit the coast, to watch the pelicans flying past, and then along Skyline. There was dinner with Yogis, and I don't remember why we were talking about Le Lorrain, but K. told us about the Claude glass or mirror. I hadn't met this before, and had heard the phrase 'black mirror' without recognising the device it describes. K. explains that it's because she comes from Maine that she pronounces it 'cloud mirror', which adds another level of richness to the mix.