Once on land, I find some sustenance then make my way to the street. I juggle an empanada and a camera, fulfilling my hunger for both lunch and art making. Once in front of the Ferry Building, I see a street preacher. His voice is sing song and his dress is dapper. I start to listen, then not.
The area around the Muni tracks is a mash up of encampments, skaters, bicycle messengers and tourists. I suppose I most qualify as a tourist, although I have passed through hundreds of times on bicycle and on foot. I come to look, to be present but unobtrusive.
I make my way through the financial district, past my old office. Many businesses are empty now, void of the usual hustle and bustle of a vibrant city. The vibrancy has returned up the hill in Chinatown. The park is more full of people playing games and enjoying each others company. I am drawn to a woman who is surrounded by pigeons. She shares her food with them and they seem at peace in her presence.
The fruit and vegetable shops are thriving, at least compared to when I was last here. I walk around a bit and then stop to get a vibrant colored, taro slush. It hits the spot. I walk into North Beach and stand in the park's well watered grass, drinking my periwinkle colored beverage. A dog in a canine sized hoodie, runs around chasing a ball.
I decide to ignore good sense, and I venture down to Fisherman's Wharf. Many of the restaurants that cater to tourists are empty and boarded up. The street is lacking of performers and the energy is stilted. Every street vendor seems to be selling the same uninspired plastic souvenirs. Every now and then a person dances, or carries sugary things on a stick.
When it is time to return to the ferry, I choose to walk in the bike lane to avoid the other humans. In pre-pandemic times this would not be possible. I would have gotten clobbered by a sea of bicycles. Today only two electric scooters need the lane.
Back on the ferry, I find my spot outside again, but eventually decide to stand. I ride the ebb and flow of the waves, maintaining my stance but leaning into whatever direction the boat decides to rock.