05 September 2005

Wrapping up my Bay Area trip

I'm back home now.

I spent the latter part of yesterday, and all day today, working my car to the limit. Yesterday, after tracing Sarah's footsteps, I drove up to Napa to visit COPIA, then down to San Jose to visit Winchester Mystery House, before returning to my hotel in South San Francisco, making a complete circle around San Francisco Bay. Today, I did portions of San Francisco's 49-mile scenic drive, doing the complete downtown route plus the Marina, Golden Gate Park, and Castro - where I found Sarah's current workplace, San Francisco's new Gay Center. After meeting with my classmate in Oakland, I then made a hurried drive back to Southern California, with speed anywhere between 40 and 100 mph on the dead-straight portion between Altamont Pass and Grapevine Pass, before heavy traffic slowed me down. So I am back home, tired, but rejuvenated. Now I look forward to my next trip - to DC.

I ended up not being able to visit Berkeley and trace Kirsten's footsteps. But I could use that as an excuse to return to the Bay Area again next year. I still need to see the Haight-Ashbury district as well anyway. At least I made sure to do the Financial District during the San Francisco scenic drive, and as I spotted the Embarcadero Center where Kirsten used to work as a secretary for a right-wing ideologue - and a nearby building where I used to work as a secretary for a right-wing ideologue - I could feel Kirsten's breath and blood right inside me. I was Kirsten. To come back, in a BMW at that, was a sweet revenge of sorts, for me and for Kirsten.

The Oakland meeting, with my classmate Elisa Sawyer, went well. We had lunch at a neighborhood restaurant near Lake Merritt, and hung around at the lake for more talk. As writers - and now, as women - we shared many intimate details of our lives, especially since Elisa had been through a lot lately too. It was a milestone moment for me, since in the writing circles, Elisa was the first person to see me as Rachel. And being able to walk around a quiet section of Oakland, and see the cityscape unfold from the shores of Lake Merritt, was quite a treat; this was the Oakland I never got to know back when I lived in the Bay Area, when my idea of Oakland was the slums of East Oakland. Elisa was a very nice person to chat with, and I enjoyed the experience so much that I didn't start my drive back to Los Angeles until about 2, later than planned.

Now I'll start uploading some pictures in a separate post.