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Kuwait National Day
What a day. Me an Nataly spent most of the morning cleaning (well she did the cleaning I watched tv), then at around 3 o’clock we went out for lunch. It was raining outside and I was pretty disappointed because I was hoping to see people on the streets celebrating national day. We had lunch at Chillis and finished around 4 O’Clock and headed back home. The road was pretty packed as in it was not moving at all. I realized that although it was raining people were still gonna celebrate national day. So I exited the Gulf Road, took the Istiqlal highway and headed home quickly. Me and Nataly geared up in our semi-weather proof clothing and our Timberland boots and headed by foot towards the Gulf Road with our cameras. It was 4:30 by now and Nibaq was supposed to join us but he chickened out because of the rain. LOSER! So we get to the Gulf Road and then walk north towards Shaab Park. From last years experience I know there are only a handful of major spray zones on the Gulf Road, one of them was the area next to Shaab Park. So we walk towards it and its raining like crazy. We get near Shaab Park and the streets packed with cars decorated with flags and people honking and yelling out their windows. On the side of the road you also had tons of people ranging from families to groups of kids to teens and adults. Every kind of demographic was just hanging out on the side of the road waiting for cars to pass by and then spray them with foam. It was crazy, I mean its fucking raining and no one cared, infact they seemed to enjoy it. Its wonderful watching people having so much fun. We hung out there for awhile and then I told Nataly we should pass by the #1 spray zone which is the Sultan Center area. Thats where all the action takes place and for good reason. 1) you have a lot of parking space for people to park their cars and 2) you have a nearly unlimited supply of foam cans available at Sultan Center for only 220fils. This makes the street next to Sultan the place to be. So we start walking south towards Sultan and get there around 6PM but to my surprise the streets empty. I was disappointed. The rain had fallen to a drizzle now and we just stood there for a few minutes while I tried to figure out why the place was so abandoned. Nataly also looked disappointed, I mean we walked this far and nothing was here. I look further down the road and I spot what seems to be some kind of traffic. So we head towards the Scientific Center and I was right there was traffic but nothing major at all. So we decide to turn around and head back. By the time we got to Sultan Center now, things were COMPLETELY different! The area was packed and loaded with cars. The kids with foam cans were all over the place. It was crazy, 30 minutes ago nothing and now foam everywhere, people dancing on the streets, it was incredible. And the kids with foam cans, they are unbelievable. Not only do you have to make sure when you pass them your windows are closed, but you also got to make sure your doors are locked. Every car that passed by them they would try to open the doors and spray the people inside. These kids know what they are doing. I saw one car slow down and one of the kids went and opened the door, suddenly there were around 10 other kids with him spraying everyone and everything inside the car. Unbelievable site. Anyway we got back home around 8ish and were completely soaking wet. We had spent over 3 hours walking mostly in the rain but this was a once a year thing and something that no one should miss. No where else would you ever see this. I love it.
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Aimless Wander Through San Francisco
Heading home after seeing a friend off at the airport, I saw no reason to return to Newark. So, bored of sitting on the BART, I alighted at Civic Center station. My initial intention was just to wander downtown, so with Xtrmntr by Primal Scream on the brand new iPod I set off.
Walking down Market, I rethought my plan—having already wandered downtown, why go again? I picked an interesting-looking street (Taylor) and made my pivotal left turn.
With no real destination, I kept walking until I got bored of that street, with my next turn being onto Pacific at what I thought must be the highest point in that area—Taylor is quite steep! I then chose to turn onto Gough to see what the area I went drinking in last week was like in daylight. Just after the turn, I could hear music getting louder and louder, until I stumbled across the 2005 Union Street Fair, with live bands, beer tents, market stalls and thousands of electric revellers stuffing themselves into bars! I spent half an hour or so taking this in, excited that I had stumbled across this by merely wandering (justifying my afternoon!), then headed onwards, and right down Steiner.
Steiner came to an end at Chestnut St, a soulful street with plenty of bars, restaurants and shops. I had a good idea of where I was, and decided that this would be an ideal day to walk across the Golden Gate before it gets lost in the summer fog. So I headed westward, towards the Presidio and past the Palace of Fine Arts. I was so disappointed that I didn’t have my camera with me, because this was turning out to be a day that I would love to have had documented on film, with the beauty and spirit of San Francisco coming alive as the summer settled in.
I wandered around the park at the Presidio, and sat on the fishing wharf for a few minutes while taking in the Bridge. Forming a plan, I headed up the paths towards the bridge’s terminus and worked out my chances of getting to Sausolito to get the ferry back to the Ferry Building on Embarcadero. I set off over the Golden Gate Bridge, then saw what I guessed must have been the last ferry leaving from what must have been a Sausolito much further away than I thought. Scrap that plan: reaching the end, I turned back and headed back to San Francisco.
I think, while I was on the Marin side of the bridge, someone jumped from the middle. When I passed there was a Bridge Patrol officer looking over the side with another pulling up, and traffic being diverted to the middle lanes. A helicopter had been dispatched overhead, soon joined by the coastguard on the surface making wider and wider circles beneath the bridge. It hit home to me how much pressure that person must have been under for them to have so deliberately died that way. And so many people only ever make it halfway across that bridge.
Pensively I made my way back along the beachfront, Marina and Bay Sts, before heading down Columbus. It was around 9:30pm, the sun had gone and I was getting hungry so walking down Columbus seemed like a good idea! I didn’t stop for food though, I was quite keen to get to the BART so I could rest my weary legs! I finally turned right down Stockton, out of North Beach, through Chinatown and past Union Sq. to get the the Powell St station, and finally on to Newark.
(Aerial photo from terraserver.microsoft.com/)
The Power of Homework
When you speak at a GP Seminar and tell the students to visit your site as "homework", expect to see a spike in traffic.