California Day Seven – dolphins and dragons and harbingers of DOOM!

And lo, suddenly it was The Last Day. What happened? Musta been enjoying myself, I guess. And I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but here I am, nearly having completed a holiday With A Beau and without rancour (unless he’s a very good actor). If you don’t count the part where I sent a snippy text, and the part where he elbowed me in the eye. For it turns out, Katie Perry was right about one thing – in this California king bed, we are ten thousand miles apart. Alas, great minds think alike, and as I had realised this and was crawling determinedly across the acres of linen towards him, the Bossman complained that I was ‘all the way over there somewhere’, flailed his arm around descriptively and thumped me one. (Although he claims he is the traumatised party).

So I was hoping that today, which we would be spending Together, and on Public Transport too, and for which I was supposed to have spent the entire holiday researching awesome stuff for him to enjoy (so much travel, so little actual touristing, poor guy), would be the most splendid thing ever, and he would be all, ‘Beshemoth, you are the most magnificent tour guide girlfriend of all time.’

And you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men.

It started okay, actually. We managed to get onto a train in good time, unlike the poor sods we saw pegging it across the next station stop, all to no avail – and this was all due to my skill and scouting ability in realising the Caltrain ticket machines do not like credit cards and having all the right change for both of us. Woo! One point to me! Also, for some reason this was the point in the holiday where I paid for everything for a change. God knows, it was only right and fair and proper; but I am a True Scot and spending money hurts, dammit. So I treated the Bossman to a train fare and a city-transport fare (boy do I know how to show a guy a good time) and a 50’s diner beer-n-breakfast; and though there was a breath-takingly massive queue for the cable-cars, there was at least a genuine sidewalk preacher, complete with milk-crate and megaphone, and a pair of guys singing Gospel music for change, which was all very local-colour-y and made me pleased. Sadly, I did not get the Bossman a good seat. Fail.

However, we got straight onto a bay cruise ship; if by ‘straight’ I mean, I dragged the Bossman round all the souvenir shops on the way. Sheesh. You never realise how many friends you have until you suddenly better get each and every one of them something precious and wonderful from your travels. At which I also failed, because there were very few fridge-magnets-cum-bottle-openers. Sorry guys! (Y’all never read this though, right? Right?)

Um, so. We were all aboard and there was a bar selling margeritas and I nobly eschewed it although it is bad luck to eschew alcohol on any kind of transport, should there be any going (okay; it isn’t, but I feel it is; never let it be said that my superstitions are steeped in tradition). Instead, we stampeded up to the very prow of the boat, where I was most impressed that nobody else had bothered. Then again, it is California, where the temperature is clement and it apparently seldom rains, compared to Scotland; where everyone on any form of jolly piles outside the instant they can. To smoke. But it was a non-smoking boat! Haha! The joke is on me!

The day was bright, the chop was low, the bridge was magnificent, and the dolphins were back. Praise every god, I may have a photo of dolphins and Alcatraz, together, and one which does not need high-intensity zooming.

Alas, we were rather beset by other wildlife also – a guy came to join us in the prow, and amused himself and his small child by holding said child in the air so it could feed its crisps to the seagulls that tracked us, unmoving, barely a metre overhead. Hordes of seagulls. I was all set for this to be a re-run of The Birds; only at sea. (Or at the very least, to get crapped all over). But it ended well, and we cruised round Alcatraz and heard about the last days of Al Capone, which did not end so well. (Syphillis? Fighting his guards with full bedpans? For some reason, I was unaware of this part of his legend).

Bearing in mind that we were meeting yet more of the Bossman’s erstwhile-and-future colleagues that evening, we set out on our way home. And here we came a cropper – the cable-cars were so stowed, there was no point even trying, but all the trams were mobbed too, and we probably might have made better time walking. Eventually, we were flung off at the Bay Bridge, and made our way through the thronging market (arse, there were quirky souvenirs! – too late), to where hordes of small and brightly-uniformed Asian children converged on us at a dead run. Crap. Are the Tongs, or whatever they may be, recruiting early these days? Being more terrified of children than of Tongs (you cannot legally defend yourself from the former), we dodged through the streets, attempting to make it to the station, but were halted by the discovery that all the roads in downtown were blocked by a fleet of dragons. Huh? Was Chinese New year not weeks ago?

Still! Being halted by a fleet of dragons is something pretty special! Even if they were all papier mache and on wheels. The lead dragon still had glowing eyes and blew smoke! And there was a parade, and we were right at the start of it! Hot damn!

Soon enough, we had to leave so that we could get food. 50’s-style diners again; the Bossman turns out to be a fan. Yay! Finally, I buy good Thing! Well I woulda, but I lost the ‘quick-draw credit-card shoot-out’.

(Do you know what is quite scary about the Bossman? When I wrote the crappy zombie novel, the protagonist’s boyfriend – specifically designed to appeal on a superficial level to the ‘ooh obsessive neat-freak psychos are so droolworthy’ cough Twilight cough ker-ching cough crowd – was given lots of obsessive-neat-freak-psycho-y quirks (but for the sake of my personal honour, pulled back from the brink at the last minute. I hope). And within six months of finishing it, lo, I meet the Bossman, who exhibits many of these rather specific traits. ‘Quick-draw credit-card shoot-out’ is merely one of them, one I have never played with anyone before, and none of them did I know about when we started dating. Be afraid, be very afraid. The punchline, it is on it’s way, and it will be at my expense, oh yes.)

Anyhoo. Having made it safely back to the hotel, just in time to check where we were meant to be going and get back out (right back the way we came, ahahaha), it was time to go meet the Bossman’s colleagues!

‘Pay attention,’ warned the Bossman, as we sat down with beers in a hotel so swank it made our hotel look like the sort of dive I usually stay in when unattended, and I tried to concentrate on their swapping of ‘swank hotels of our time’ stories, (to which I could add nothing except the ‘dances with cockroaches in Granada’ tale, which would actively subtract from my cool points). ‘These are your colleagues now.’

Crap! Technically, they totally are! The foreshadowing of doom, it is just all over today’s update.

Though fair play to them, they did their best to include me, and I was shown photos of Previous Conferences, With Beer (being boffins, this was delivered by individual beer-tap, and delivered by train; which was apparently cunningly derailed by some rival IT boffins further down the track, using cocktail sticks, and the teller of the tale looking on in horror as his pint fell over).

I nervously explained, while using the very last of my American smash to pay for my and the Bossman’s drinks, that I had spent everything I owned on fridge magnets for my colleagues back home. ‘Oh, we love fridge magnets,’ said everyone, sitting up straighter.  I’m not sure whether I’m in there, or whether it’s cupboard love.

And then it was all over, bar the packing. And thus concluded the latest night I’ve had here – I finished packing at midnight!


About beshemoth

Mainly making art, making wine, writing and gardening. Having a life only as the above allows.
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