Arriving on Monday at 4pm in Oakland airport I was off on my first independent public transport foray. Today’s challenge, the BART, (Bay Area Rapid Transport). For most this may not seem much of a challenge, but for some reason public transport intimidates me. Even after 3 years in Korea with a map that more likely resembles a plate of colorful spaghetti than a subway, I am still intimidated.
It turned out to be remarkably simple, fancy that. It was more confusing figuring out which baggage carousel my backpack was on.
Step 1: find curb 3e
Step 2: try and lift 36 lb bag onto airBART bus and pay $3
Step 3: stare at the BART ticket machine and hope it tells me what to do
Step 4: put $5 in and pray
Step 5: find train platform and stare at signs confused
Step 6: ask fellow train rider where I am going
Step 7: get on train and stare at map counting stops
Step 8: get out at Glenn Park
CONGRATULATIONS, there is hope for you yet.
Now that I have successfully, pat myself on the back, conquered the miniscule map that is the BART system, it was off to waste 3hrs until my friend could meet me. Since it was 5pm and I hadn’t eaten since my mummy had made me a fabulous breakfast, food was top of the list. Rachael had suggested a mexican place named La Corneta Taqueria on Diamond st. It was chock-a-block full which is always a good sign.
On the suggestion of a fellow patron, I decided on the regular burrito, but without beans. It was enormous and came with tortilla chips all for $8. Delicious and filling!
I had planned to hang out in the taqueria till Rachel was finished with work, but with lots of people and the occasional screaming babies, I opted to try find her other suggestion – Bird and Beckett Bookshop.
Getting just up the street proved to be an adventure in itself. Due to the cracked and uneven nature of the side walks, the little detachable wheely cart that my big backpack was on decided to fall over, over and over again. It even did me the curtesy of of falling over and detaching from the bag in the middle of the street with oncoming traffic. So I had no other choice but to heft it across and once reassembled to proceed up the road and snails pace.
Once in the bookshop I was in Heaven. I love bookshops especially ones with second hand books. The worst possible punishment is to take me to a book shop and take away my money. The owner was kind enough to let me sit and browse. I wandered around and found the travel section, fancy that. There was a great book on the wildlife of Ecuador and I took some time to study the animals I would be working with.
Rachel arrived just under an hour later, and after getting her some food at the Taqueria, we headed to her place. Once bags were dumped and we had both relaxed for a bit we popped out to meet some of her friends at a local bar, The Orbit Room.
The Orbit Room is based on the speakeasy feel with drinks to match the 1920’s era. Rachel bought me a Pisco Sour in preparation for my trip to Peru, it was delicious. Peruvian Pisco, lemon juice, egg whites and bitters… rather delicious and reminiscent of a lemony tequila type drink.
While there I met a fabulous girl named Elizabeth. It turns we are both 33, both 5ft tall, each have the others mother’s name and I am about to live her dream. It sort of humbling when someone says “oh my God you are living me dream, tell me all about it”. Humbling and super cool at the same time that is. Within a few minutes we were fast friends and engrossed in travel discussions.
At the end of the night we headed out for “home” and the wonderful couch for a bed. All in all an exhausting but great start to the adventure.
Stayed tuned for the next episode where I get to explore the Mission District, take the TSA carnival ride and twiddle my thumbs till my midnight flight…
Photos will be added later as I have not loaded them yet.