tourist payoffs

A medium long and a super long walk each came with rather astonishing attractions yesterday, some sought and others happy surprises.  After more missed connections than I usually have with one dear friend, I finally wound up in the right place at the right time yesterday morning, greeted by her grinning 7-year-old. I asked Ruben to tell me three things that were new with him since my last visit and he was quite quick off the mark: “The first new thing is: I became a spy.”

Carole and I had planned a hike to the new West Berkeley Bowl later in the morning and we did, and it was bigger and bowlier than I had ever expected.  The walk to Heinz Street was a fine one, replete with a house designed to look like a fish and front yards full of poppies and tens of other wildflowers. But if forced to choose between idiosyncratic domestic architecture and packaging claiming to hold either “Aztec superfood” pr “Buddha mix,” I call it a draw.

IMG_1288  IMG_1291




Neither of these pieces of manufacturing-with-imagination, however, came close to our wholly accidental discovery just a bit further northwest: a metal arts workshop where we were granted a spur of the moment tour by a resident artist: bronze statuary in various states of construction and coating, not to mention styles ranging from the documentary to modern impressionism–and all so very good. Neither of us produced our cameras inside what frankly felt a bit like visiting a stranger’s studio without prior announcement, but here’s representative work (set up a door down so I am guessing this one’s origin):
 We managed to squeeze in three or four other minor tourist miracles in the course of the afternoon, including what amounted to a private visit in the local saki factory, a destination neither of us had ever worked into what probably, all told, amounted to a thousand trips to that neighborhood across our individual years.

All in all, a day for the eye, and not a disappointment in the lot.IMG_1295


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