Saturday, 20 March 2004

AN AMERICAN ODYSSEY - PART 14






It feels strange to be back in San Francisco after our week on the road. It is hard to know how to approach things. We have planned our day in advance – we are to return to Haight-Ashbury so Nathan can purchase a lap-steel guitar and I can peruse the stock at Amoeba Records – but when you’ve an early flight the next day it’s hard to make the most of a situation like this.
            We puzzle over which is the best route to take to Haight and decide to walk to town and catch what we can from there. We board a bus headed in the general direction, but it only takes us so far. It is very hot – too hot to be loitering for unsubstantiated buses, so we walk from somewhere near Mission to our intended destination. It’s a bothersome journey up steep hills, but we find our way to Haight-Ashbury and go about our business there – Nathan purchases his lap-steel (after some deliberation) and I buy a couple or records: Weird War's If You Can't Beat 'Em, Bite 'Em and Marriage on the Rocks by The Amboy Dukes. (Incidentally, the next time I see Max will be when Weird War play live at the Metro in London. Whereas I will have fully recovered from my American caper in the intervening period, Max will still be in remission after a particularly brutal climax to his journey that culminated in his trip to New York.)
The weight of Nathan’s newly acquired instrument demands that we get a taxi back to our hostel.

It’s a quiet evening, although maybe not as measured as it should be given we’ve ordered a taxi to take us to the airport for 6:00 the following morning. We sink a few beers in Vesuvio, and another in the bar where John Lennon’s cinema-going buddy accosted us, grab a pizza and head back to the common room of the Green Tortoise. There we will end up talking politics with a savvy American until one o’clock in the morning, hanging on to the last fragments of a trip we never want to end.


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