After I saw the students I drove down to the SF Bay Area. My intention was to drive around the town I grew up in, take a walk, have some lunch, then head across the bay to the airport to pick up Malida. That's what I did. I had plenty of time to spare, so I revisited places I hadn't been to in years in years.
Even though the SF Bay Area is a huge metropolitan area, I grew up in a relatively small town of 23,000 people. It's not even a town--it's a village. It's a bunch of small houses, but just after WWII, to accommodate the baby boomers and their parents. It had its own movie theater, the first Mervyns department store, and two high schools, on opposite sides of the railroad tracks.
The old theater. It's now a historic landmark, but no one has the money to do anything with it. One good earthquake and it will be history.
I had a good time driving around and looking at different places. Interestingly, one of the women who co-teaches my semester grew up in the next town over, at about the same time as me. We have a lot of common memories. Even more interesting, she grew up on the same street as some of my step-siblings' grandparents. I drove down that way so I could tell her I did.
After I looked around and had some lunch, I drove over to the area near the airport. I was still early, so I walked along the bay trail that skirts the shoreline.
Here's the view. Off in the distance, in front of that hill in the middle is the airport. To the right of the airport, you can just barely see a bunch of tall buildings. That's San Francisco. You can even sort of see the mountains behind SF, and behind them is Napa. It was a spectacularly clear day. When I was on the bridge, high up, in the middle of the bay, I could see hills and mountains in all directions--the entire Bay Area. I can't remember a day as clear as this.
The bay trail follows the shoreline along the mudflats. Most of the mudflats along the bay have been filled in and developed. This is a rare glimpse of what the bay shoreline used to look like before development. The native people who lived here thrived on shellfish, and there used to be huge mounds of shells in various places.
I watched the planes take off and land, then headed to the airport. Malida's plane was a half-hour late, so I watched people and waited. A little girl (dressed as a princess) and her mom were sitting next to me, and the girl asked her mom about one of the flight crews that came out of the customs area. The mom explained that the guy was the captain, and the women were flight attendants. The little girl corrected her mom, and said, "No mommy, I think they're all captains." I loved that.
Malida eventually appeared out of customs and we were reunited. It was good to see her!
We drove home and she showed me all the stuff she brought home. I got some nice Hello Kitty swag and a curious little thing from one of her friends, that I will take a picture of and show tomorrow. She conked out before 9 pm, but will likely be up at 3 doing whatever. Jet lag. At least she has a week more off to get recalibrated. It's good to have her home.