13 May 2006 (Saturday) - Since Berkeley is safe to walk around at night, I took the BART (their MRT) from the airport (SFO) and arrived after two transfers later at the town centre close to 10pm. Thank goodness my suitcase was only a little one this time, so I could roll it through the streets like some kid with a toy wheel, with my elbow safe from injury this time. It was a rare time that I did not have the critical routes memorised but Berkeley is forgiving enough. So a quick check of the bearing on my watch compass, I headed out and found myself at the YMCA soon after.
I realised why the organiser chose the Y; its very near the BART and the Life Science Building that houses the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in campus. Well there is also that other thing about the gym being adjacent - our workshop organiser CS is a member there and loves it ("and you guys can get in for free!") Ironically the only lad enthusiastic about using a gym was too tall and had to shift to a hotel with longer beds. Must be all that vegemite!
I suspect though, that it was also symbolic for us georeferencing workshop attendees to stay opposite the post office. You see, the centre of towns on maps were often the post office, unless superseded by the county seat; a point we heard and saw many times during the first two days of the workshop. (BTW, see this regarding Singapore).
Once inside the "Y", a heavy silence greeted me. Three very large people stared moodily into the distance. Carefully eyeing them, I realised they were clutched a bottle each. A nervous counter clerk waved me away silently in a distracted manner, as he struggled to complete some form.
I sank into a deep sofa amongst the silent sentinels with the scratchings of the clerk's pen scouring the air. Finally one roused herself to say, "you staying here?" I was quite tired so I only mustered an "uh-huh." The room sank into silence into again
Berkeley is better known for hippies, though they are apparently in short supply these days. This, however, was reminiscent of an old cowboy movie. But the dramatic bar room scenery floating in my head was likely the remnant imagery from the last movie I watched on the place - "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". And the trigger was probably the sight of the Wells Fargo bank building as I walked into town.
Posted at 7:31AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .