My day, Saturday, November 18th 2006, was ruled by trains.
In the morning when my alarm went off, I disabled it and decided to get as much sleep as I needed. I eventually got up at 10:35am. I'd hoped to take the 10:57am train to get to city before noon. That way, I could stop by the Saturday farmer's market for food before heading to see the 1:30pm movie at the series of screenings of Italian cinema the SF Film Society was showing. (Parking anywhere in those parts of the city really suck. That's why I decided to go by train.)
According to the clock at my local Caltrain station, I made it there at 10:55am. Crossing over to the north-bound side of the platform, I bought a ticket, then noticed the ticket and the clock by the tracks themselves said 11:01am. Had I missed the train? Even if those clocks were right and I missed it, I should've heard it as I walked the two blocks from my apartment building to the train. As I thought, I noticed that signs said that northbound trains were boarding on the southbound side of the platform today, so I crossed back to the other side.
I stood around for ten minutes debating what to do. Had I missed the train? The next train was in an hour. Should I go back to my apartment and get stuff done and take that train? Should I ditch my train plan and drive into the city? Should I keep my train plan and skip the ferry building? I called the transit info number for service announcements. They didn't say anything about train delays. As I thought, my stomach grumbled.
I decided to head to the nearby donut shop to grab breakfast to eat at my apartment. Today, however, there wasn't anything at the shop my heart desired.
As I left the donut shop, I heard the clattering as railroad crossing signs descended. Heading back to the train station, I discovered it was the apparently delayed northbound train and so I boarded. My slowness in deciding what to do kept me barely within hearing distance of the tracks, allowing me to catch my desired train.
While on the train, I read some of the guide to the ferry building farmer's market book a good friend bought me.
Once in the city, since it was such a beautiful day (as usual during these farmer's market trips), I hiked from the Caltrain station to the ferry building.
Since I didn't want to shlep food around with me the rest of the day, I didn't actually buy anything to bring home. But I did buy lunch:
* A very good BBQ beef sandwich from the Golden Gate Meat Company. I'm always skeptical about buying food kept in a hot tray on display under glass. I needn't be. The meat was a nice balance of flavor of the meat itself and the BBQ sauce. It's rare that one doesn't overwhelm the other. And the sandwich roll was soft, sweet-ish, and did an excellent job soaking up the juices.
* A hijiki and soybean salad from Delica rf-1. I've had it before and it's not particularly notable. I just wanted a small salad and there aren't many places to get a salad that isn't a meal in itself.
I also bought some stuff for later. I'll mention those as the narrative progresses.
I finished eating at 1:10pm and knew it was time to head off to the movie theater. Located in an outdoor shopping mall spread over four blocks, it was amazingly hard to find. The maps by the mall only showed what was in the mall on that block. And even when I got to the right block, I had trouble finding the theater because the maps made it difficult to find a listing for anything not on the ground floor. It's a wonder the place survives.
I got to the theater within two minutes of it starting. The movie, "... And If Tomorrow," was a pretty good comedy, based off a true story of an odd event in Italy.
By the time the short, the movie, and the Q&A was over, it was 3:50pm. The movie was longer than I expected: it was no longer possible to continue with my plan of catching the 4:00pm train to Redwood City to watch the next movie I wanted to see at 5:30pm.
Still, I hurried to the bus station in hope that it'd magically get me to the Caltrain station in time. There really wasn't any chance; I arrived at 4:10pm and so had to wait until the 5:00pm train. While waiting, I read and also ate a pear from the farmer's market. It was a variety of pear I never heard of before and don't remember the name of but, really, if I didn't know it was a different variety, I'd never have guessed.
The third movie I wanted to see that day was at 7:30pm, also in Redwood City. I debated briefly getting off the Caltrain at home, doing stuff for an hour, then grabbing the next one, likely arriving at Redwood City around 6:45pm. Realizing it was Saturday night and that there was some chance the movie, "Mi Mejor Enemigo / My Best Enemy," one of most awarded movies of the year from Chile/Argentina, might be sold out, I decided to head straight to Redwood City.
The ride to Redwood City was neat. I tried to read but ended up faking it, instead eavesdropping the whole trip on a nearby conversation about one man's quest tracking down countless relatives and experiencing much family drama while trying to figure out why his grandfather left his grandmother. An enthralling story, I could imagine both reading it in a literary short story and seeing it on one of those overdramatized talk shows.
Once in Redwood City, after buying my movie ticket I wandered around downtown. I noshed on a smoked salmon stick I picked up at the farmer's market: basically, the salmon equivalent of beef jerky, high salt content and all. Downtown Redwood City seems like a decent, up and coming place: nice wide sidewalks, a reasonable variety of restaurants, and many coming soon signs. It'll likely be much like Castro Street (although with the benefit of movie theaters) within the next year or two.
After some indecision, I selected Amelia's Salvadoran/Mexican restaurant for a small dinner. I had a huge but boring chicken taco and a decent papusa, though this one tasted more baked than fried. (One nice benefit meant it had less grease than usual.)
Incidentally, the movie was decent and quirky. A little too light on seriousness given the subject (the humanity of men at war). After the movie, I checked the clock, realized I had mere minutes to make it back to the train station lest I be stuck in Redwood City for another hour and a half, and bolted. Yet another train misadventure.
Once home, I ate the last of my farmer's market items: a fuyu persimmon. Although I'm usually fine with persimmons, I didn't like this one; I must've chosen badly. In my defense, I was probably distracted by what the booth helper was telling me: that pale persimmons weren't yet ripe and that one could leave them on the counter for three months (yes, months) and wait for them to ripen.
That is all.
My day, Saturday, November 18th 2006, was ruled by trains.
Posted by mark at Friday, November 24, 2006