maandag 6 februari 2012

Haight Ashbury, Johns old studio in Albany, and monstrous trains in Berkely.

The group split in 3 this morning, with Peter Sutter, Tom, Jurgen, Michael and Robert and me going to Haight Ashbury.
We walked towards the busstop further west on Lombardstreet, and took the 43. It was quite a ride, maybe half an hour, and it took us through various neighbourhoods and parks.

As soon as we turned left to Masonic (street, avenue, blvd, something) we had a great view on downtown SF.
We got out the bus on Haight street and it was pretty quiet as almost all the shops were still closed, as I feared. As soon as we got out the bus and looked around for the guitarshop we were heading for, a guy who was cleaning windows approached us and said “don’t eat there, they are horrible!” and pointed to a burgerrestaurant across the street. Uhm, ok, thanks!
The guitarshop was also still closed and we split up in little groups after we agreed to get back there at 11. I just started walking and saw a lot of interesting shops, but they were almost all closed. I also saw an INCREADIBLE amount of homeless people and/or people that looked homeless. I think you can say I was shocked throughout the whole morning, on every corner there were groups of homeless people, and in between corners there were groups of homeless people too.
No one bothered me (I cant believe I looked local, with my camera out :-) but Robert later told me he was offered dope several times!
I checked the few shops that were open, took my time at a small local groceryshop that sold weird stuff like kale with chocolate (boerenkool!!!!!!), and got some vegetable wraps again, mmmm. Then it was time to go to the guitarshop next door, when I got in they were just talking about Fogerty with the owner :-D
One of our group bought a new guitar, but I am not saying who, maybe its not meant to go public :-) *update: it was Tom! The guitar he bought was red, thats about all I know about it, sorry...
I went out to eat my vegetable rolls, and they were very sticky so I thought it would be a good idea to wrap my paper napkin around them so my fingers wont get sticky.
Aha! My fingers didn’t get sticky, cos the paper napkin didn’t wanna come of anymore hahahahaha I tried to peel it off as good as possible, but the result was still vegetable wraps with paper napkin. Ah, at least I got my fibers today hehe :-)

Then we split up once more, but this time Robert went with me and we saw some nice 2nd hand shops that weren’t too expensive. I am looking for westernboots but no luck yet.
What I liked about Haight street was the lack of big commercial businesses, I didn’t see a Starbucks! They did have a peace cafĂ©. And a Ben and Jerry’s, but that’s about it. Also, the lack of cheap tacky souvenirs shops all the same crap. There were some, but it was nothing like Venice Beach for example.
Also there still was this relaxed vibe, I saw several shop-employees having their lunch sitting down on the street in the sun, not bothered by the many “weirdo’s” walking around.
Even the 2nd hand shops weren’t all the same.

When I walked around a bit with Robert he all of a sudden saw a sign that I missed before: Amoeba records!
He said he was going to be there and I followed later. I saw the sign, and looked around but couldn’t find the shop, I was looking for a small sized shop like the ones in the street. Just when I was getting worried that I wouldn’t find Robert anymore, I turned around and stood in front of a huge recordshop!
I ran in to check for him, he had that look on his face going “OMG I wanna spend the rest of the week here” and I said I would meet him and the others at 1 again and left him. Walked out with a smile though, Amoeba is just one of these shops which name I’ve heard for ages.
Outside I noticed… at the end of the street, a huge Whole Food supermarket!
For those of you who never read my travelstories before; I am addicted to visiting foreign supermarkets and grocery shops big or small, and I love Organic food shops also, so this was quite a find! (Actually, Tom, our tourguide from Saturday, gave me directions to the nearest Whole Food after he found out I love Trader Joe’s)
Walked in with a big grin. Aaah! A whole world of food to discover!
I’m not going to bore you with everything I looked at but I found a bowl of Cobb salad and something I tried to find in New York but never succeeded, so I was very happy walking around there. I also bought chocolate with seasalt, great taste!!
On my way back I went in a thriftshop, local thriftshops YAY,  and walked back slowely to our meeting point.

I was happy with the day so far, I actually only wanted to take a look here, last time in SF we never had the time to come here and I was bummed by it. Historical and touristical :-D I felt satisfied, but I can use a whole day to go through all these second hand shops! Well we didn’t come to shop, so I had peace with it.
I still had time so I walked around a bit more, looking at the beautifull houses and the hippie shops and weird people and the alternative looking locals and tourists (not many tourists, not many tourists at all this Monday afternoon!) Earlier that day I almost got hit by a cute guy with long dreadlocks, on a skateboard. He jumped of in front of a shop and opened it and went in :-)

I passed a small hamburger place and found the other four in there, so I thought I’d join them and have a coffee. They just ordered hamburgers and the first thing I noticed was that brand new guitarcase standing next to the table!! Wooohooo!!

The place was very small but very cute (forgot the name) with alternative waitresses. You would NEVER get a job as a waitress at home dressed like that hahaha! I got my coffee and we talked a bit (they witnessed something really great!! I don’t know if I am allowed to share it!) and the waitress came back with like 8 plates with burgers, and she dropped one of them on the floor… only one inch away from the guitarcase!!! We all started screaming, I couldn’t look at it, but thank goodness, the cheeseburger cheese landed on the floor and not on the case!! Whew!

Around 1 o clock we walked back to the busstop and around 2 we were back in the hotel.

I quickly ate my salad, we changed clothes and jumped in the car towards Johns old studio in Albany, on the other side of the Bay. Turned out Uwe and the others were already there and we met them in front of the old studio. I tell you whats weird: being in Albany. I’ll tell you whats even more weird: being in Albany for the 3RD time in your life!!! I mean its not really around the corner!!
We were too early and walked around the block towards the back, where according to Scott the picture of the front of the “Shep Album” was taken. We looked if we could find the cut of tree, no luck, but we did see a very similar fence! We always thought the picture was taken in the backyard, so it was funny to know anyway.
 (I am sorry for the non-CCR geeks who dont have a clue I am talking about. I will post a picture of the backside of this album asap so you know where all the fuzz is about)

Johns old studio is now a german (yes!) kindergarten. (for quite some years already) Robert has made an arrangement with the “teachers” so they were expecting us, and they let us in through the door on the streetside, what is the door you can see on the backside on the album. Robert and I had been here before, with Betty Lou, but we never went THROUGH that door, so that was fun too.
hello world, meet the otherside of The Door :-)

I was not the only one who spend years looking at the wall and the door on the backside of the album, wondering what was beyond that opened door! When we finally found out last time (the street!) it felt like completing a big puzzle.

Notice the album cover above the guitar!! wasnt there last time!
For me it wasn’t shocking anymore to be there, but still weird. I mean, again I climbed in a picture! The wall is still the same, but they now have the album cover hanging on it haha.
We took our time taking pictures again, talked with the friendly Marian who works there (and is from Germany. Her car was standing in front of the building and it still had the German numberplate on it, but it was covered with a Californian plate, you could still see the first and last digits)
The others seemed more focussed on the wall then on the fact that Fogerty spend many many many hours here making music and recording stuff. I looked around and tried to imagine how it must have been but its hard in a room filled with toys, pillows and gigantic teddybears hahaha!

We didn’t stay in too long and decided to drive to the Berkeley trainstation where the back of the singlecover of Up around the Bend was shot.
When we were almost there I thought “I recognise this??” and we passed the Eagle that was not the Eagle (I cant remember with single cover that was on, I am way too tired!) where we had a big fight about last time! The trainstation was just ACROSS THE ROAD, we couldn’t believe we were HERE and didn’t know that!!!
The building with the bowed “gates” was now changed into a railway restaurant (I think) and the gates were windows. It changed quite a bit, but we could still see it was absolutely the right place.

When the usuall chaos broke loose, I listened to the cool train sounds I heard in the distance. That’s absolutely one of my favourite sounds ever; American train honking!! It got louder and louder and all of a sudden I realized I was on a trainstation, and I rushed to the platform, and a few others of us too and we all took our cameras out. An American train entering a station is quite a spectacle with honking horns, bells, and flashing lights!! Maybe you have to be a train nerd to understand (like me) or a guy :-D
I saw the train coming and it was moving FAST. I looked at Tom who was standing way closer to the edge of the platform then was good for my nerves, the train came closer and closer speeding like a bullet and honking loud as HELL, and I grabbed Toms arm and dragged him away from the edge!!! Maybe it was just me, but I just lost it. Aaaargh! In the meantime I was recording it with my camera and the next moment the train passed, SO LOUD, SPEEDING, omg!!! Enough to give me nightmares, but 10 minutes later we heard another honking in the distance,  I walked back and this time the train stopped, and we all took pictures of it and of the engine, and then it left and it started blowing its horn again and this time it was just great, I actually got goosebumps and the others were all very impressed too!

Uwe and Martina wanted to buy Berkeley shirts and we decided to drive downtown to look for shops. We didn’t know where to look, maybe on the university?? While driving down University Avenue, I got the impression that downtown Berkeley only excisted of COPYSHOPS!! Every other building was one! (and the other half were restaurants)
The university of Berkely is pretty well known in Europe (I guess mostly for the 1960’s) and it was special to be near it downtown.
(and for the CCR geeks: we were going “from Berkeley California!” all the time ;-) and also “IN Berkeley California: me!”
We parked our cars and tried to pay with coins, what is very hard if you only use dimes and quarters and esp when half of the quarters are the ones with states on the otherside (Robert tries to collect them all) I am glad the stupid machine didn’t accept cents!! :-P
We walked towards what looked like the main street, with a lot of little restaurants and, ehm, copyshops. We didn’t know where to look, but they saw a shop that sold clothes and went to take a look.
Well, what can I say! One hour later, the owner of the shop had made enough money for the rest of the month, and we all walked out with at least one shirt, but some of us with several bags with shirts. I really didn’t feel the need to buy a Berkeley shirt, but while I was waiting for the others and looking around, I saw a cute girlie for not too much so I decided that it would be a nice souvenir anyway.
While waiting otn the others that still weren’t finished (!!) I walked around outside a bit more. Again a lot of homeless people, a lot of students, and a lot of “alternative” young people.
Peter Sutter, who was here before, told there was much more going in Berkeley than in SF because of all the students who live here.
When everyone else was together again, we discussed our further plans. Robert and I were hungry and Peter Sutter and Michael stayed with us, and the others didn’t wanna eat and drove back to SF.
The reason we wanted to eat in Berkeley wasn’t only to catch a bit more of the atmosphere, but also we figured out it would be MUCH cheaper here,(and I didnt wanna go back to the "8 bucks for a bit of raw brocoli sidedish"-restaurant), also, we were really hungry and didn’t wanna wait long.
I quickly ran into a Walgreens for breakfast yoghurt, and we went to look for food.
We found a simple Mexican restaurant quick and everyone agreed, so we went in and had a great meal!! 

Allthough they didn’t add the extra extra guacamole I asked for, I realy enjoyed my enchilada. Michael got a refill of soda after he said “no thanks” so he shared it with me, and it had that familiar taste of melted tapwater icecubes, yuck!! (hey but thanks for offering!) Roberts Pepsi came from Mexico too :-)
On our way to the car we passed a big bookstore and we went in quickly, and then we drove home.

We decided to get some gas in the car and stopped at a gasstation, and another ever-returning classic happening: HOW THE F DO WE GET GAS IN OUR CAR!!! (first question: does it run on gas or diesel?? :-D we tried to pay with visa and it didn’t work, then we tried to fill it up and pay inside but it didn’t work, as you have to pay inside first and then fill it up hahahahaha. No one bothered to ask if we needed any assistance, so in the end we said “screw it” and drove away. At least we were still able to drive away, we’ll have to get gas tomorrow!
Another spectacular view on Bay Bridge and Downtown as we entered the city and that only for 4 dollar toll.
Some more fun with our German GPS, who prenounces every address in GERMAN hahahaha!!! Uwe’s turned “bridge” into “bridke” and this one turns “Lombard St” into “Lombard Es Tay”
He also prenounces “ave” in German, even funnier, but I cant write down how;

Tomorrow we’ll drive to LODI!!

3 opmerkingen:

  1. "he ,dat is ome trebor",
    "tante petra ik wil ook een amerikaanse trein"
    Ben vind het leuke foto's en vraagt aan me waar jullie zijn met bhv google maps uitgelegd waar sf is.Hij vond het heel ver.

    1. Ik heb de hele tijd aan Ben gedacht; veel treinen gezien en GEHOORD ook vandaag, maar vraag me af wat hij er van zou vinden want het maakt echt heel veel lawaai, en het is heel indrukwekkend en groot,(en heel erg LANG) echt heel anders dan de NL of Duitse trein, misschien kan je een filmpje op Google vinden?

  2. Dear Miss Hoodoo,

    I am really enjoying reading this, but it also get sme right where I live because you were all so close to both me and a place I mentioned to Robert in Albany, about 5 blocks from John's old studio. I work at UC Berkeley. Had I known you all would've been in Berkeley I would've met you there. Oh well. I am glad you're having such a good time and writing it all down.

    Best, Ned Garrett (Harry is my Nom de Plume)