On the other side of a silver bridge, in a city by the bay, on a wooden boardwalk, across from break dancers, hat makers and a ridiculously ugly fountain, is a clock tower. The San Francisco ferry building is one of my favorite places in the world. On Saturday mornings, farmers line up their crop in the bi- weekly farmers market. Children marvel at the llamas, bunnies, chickens and the calf at the temporary petting zoo- a rare treat set up for the day. Inside the heavy glass doors are cheese shops, gelaterias, delicatessens, florists, cafes and a tiny book store that my mom once had a reading at. My favorite place out of them all is the acme bread company window. I rarely pass up an opportunity to partake in their scrumptious rustic rolls. When my friends and I get away to the city, this is our first stop. After collecting our snack and sweets, we sit on the observation deck, looking out on the bay that we love, eating bread and feeding birds. The seagulls dive and swoop, attempting to catch our offerings in mid air, whilst the little birds chirp restlessly from from the concrete, pleading for us not to forget their hungry mouths. We never do.
The ferries from Oakland and Alameda make their way into the dock and the tourists, with their fanny packs, cameras and guidebooks, pour out of the blue and gold boat. They don’t know what magic they are going to encounter here. They don’t know what memories they will make on these sacred streets. Hopefully they will run into the bushman. The ferry building is a gateway into San Francisco. It’s an excellent starting point for an adventure, I’ll give the tourists that. No matter where I go -Toronto, Lafayette, London, Kitchener, Dublin, Paris, Llangollen- I have yet to find something, anything, that makes me feel like I do when I am eating rustic rolls on the oberservation deck of the ferry building with some of my best friends in San Francisco and I don’t think I ever will.