A Very Ferry Day

{Mmmm! This cheese-leek croissant is good!} Leigh thought in the midst of her taste buds being lit up by this savory breakfast delight she’d selected from yet another of the ship’s self-serve buffet-style restaurants she’d yet to try. This was an open air one up on the Sky deck, less crowded than sometimes on account of the Lite edition of classic San Francisco morning low clouds. Yes, the clouds to a degree did act like a blanket, yet there was still enough of a chill in the air to keep some people away—especially those who seemed to be sneezing and coughing. Like they had… {No! Can’t even think of that! It’s– it’s not here… yet. Hopefully}.

A shot of adrenalin and significantly mixed feelings upon once again seeing notorious Clark Barr heading directly towards her successfully sidelined this scary thought line. Once again, he’d caught her with a big ol’ hunk of food stuffed part-way into her mouth.

Unintentionally leaning in and nearly over her menacingly close (he was clueless about how threatening this stance can be), with a pained and sleep-deprived expression his first words were “I’m sorry, Leigh! That’s all I’m going to say, so I won’t get into any more trouble.” He’d already turned to leave and was taking his first step along that line as he finished speaking.

“Wait wait, please! Come back for a moment.”

“What? Did I screw up my apology just now?”

“Tourist girl Wiggle Wobble Shimmer wishes to ask locally-living friend Chunk Casanova what she might want to consider doing off the ship around the area today. Suggestions, please?”

“Everything and nothing.”

She blinked expectantly, obviously waiting for more.

“It’s one of the world’s major metro areas, Leigh, just like San Diego and L.A. in that sense. They have shopping, so does SD. They have museums, so does SD. They’re different, and that’s why people go, I guess.”

“Where do you go around here on your weekends, holidays, or other spare time?”

“Honestly, most of the time I don’t go anywhere interesting. Usually doing chores and grocery shopping, or lying around the house exhausted from the work week.”

“You don’t go anywhere around here ever?

“OK—Santa Cruz is kinda fun. You won’t make it there and back unless you rent a car and jam straight down there, play, and come back—and hope you don’t get stuck in traffic, in this area where there’s a lot of water and hills precluding much road gridding and alternate routes.

“Muir Woods and Muir Beach—2 separate places—are each very nice, as is most of Marin County away from the bigger cities like San Rafael and Sausalito. Actually come to think of it, Sausalito’s OK, and you ought to be able to take a ferry there from very near here.

“There are pockets of interesting things in the East Bay, but it takes knowing where most of the worthwhile ones are. You could take Richmond or Concord BART to the MacArthur station then walk east a mile or so towards Oakland’s Piedmont district, which is nice but all you’re getting is somewhat upscale old neighborhoods and a ride on BART.”


“Pfffft!—you know what it is.”

His half-smile plus proximity made her feel far too melty wiggly wobbly more than any form of shimmer, with or without wiggly wobbles. {How can somebody who annoys the crap outta me make me so wet?! Arousal, you are a strange beast.}

“Bay Area Rapid Transit.”

“OK, yeah, right, I knew that. Anything else?”

“Can you please give me even a hint what you’re into? For example, if you tell me you’re all over physical media for music, I’ll suggest you head to Amoeba. I prefer the original one in Berkeley, but the S.F. store is alright, and closer.”

“Passed right by the S.F. store yesterday.”

“Well alright, you’ve been there done that, or passed on that.” Now it was his turn to blink expectantly, in his case with words, “Hint, please?”

“I really don’t need more stuff in my life, so not especially into shopping. Walked all over the city yesterday, so while I don’t mind walking, I’m not seeking out anything involving extensive walking on its own merits, nor to see a nice neighborhood.”

“Which city?”

“San Franciskee” she replied in her attempt at a grizzled miner’s voice. “The one they seem to think around here is The City.” Hungry, she took another bite of her croissant.

“Provincial arrogance abounds. And now you’re making a funny face like I just ripped a fart, but I know I didn’t and I don’t smell anything.”

She gazed blankly past him, smacking her lips like a dog who’d just tasted something strange, or encountered a strange texture. “That is weird!

“What is?”

Her direct eye contact returned, “All the flavor disappeared from this croissant! Here, taste this, please.”

“There’s hardly any left.”

“Take it. It’s no longer doing anything for me.”

He went ahead and ate all of what little was left.

“Tastes alright to me. A nice oniony flavor with some tang from the cheese, and I can taste the butter.”

“That’s what my first bites were like! That last one tasted like nothing!”

“Maybe you’re getting a cold. You might consider getting some zinc in you soon.”

“What if it’s the coronavirus?!”

“Which one?”

The one from Wuhan!

“Settle! That’s the novel coronavirus, or another set of letters of insufficient interest to me as a non-medical person to commit to memory. I always thought a cold was a rhinovirus, but somewhere recently they were writing that the common cold or maybe some forms of it are a different coronavirus. Want me to feel your forehead, to see if you might have a fever?”

“Yes please.”

{How can I be excited and soothed at the same time with the back of his hand against my forehead?!}

“Nope, don’t think so. You’re barely warmer than ambient up there. Feel off any other way besides the sudden-onset anosmia?”

“The what?”

“Loss of sense of smell, which we know is tightly related to taste.”

She sniffed her coffee. “I can smell this.”

“That’s good. So any other symptoms of un-health?”

“Not really. Sinuses seem clear. A touch achey, but that’s likely due to the walking I did yesterday, and the day before in Monterey and Pacific Grove.”

“How far?”

“At this port it was to and through Golden Gate Park, back through the Mission District, then on the California St. cable car back here.”

“That is a damn good walk! I didn’t know you–… never mind.”

“I like moderate walking just fine.” Her mildly miffed expression quickly morphed back to friendly, “Care to go with? Maybe show me around?”

“I’m really wiped from last night. Gonna stay on-ship and rest.”

“Went to sleep late?”

Oh yeah.”

“But probably not in or on bed so late” she smirked.

“What else do you want to know about my private life?”

“Sorry. I know we’re not–hhhhhh–any more than casual friends or business acquaintances or whatever, but we do have a history beyond that.”

“We do.” He didn’t look happy being reminded of this fact. “And I’d better go. Have a great Bay Area day, whatever you wind up doing.”

Leigh had no idea why she felt a very slight sense of loss watching him walk away, nor why her gaze remained fixated on him until he vanished from view.

The salt water and sea breeze aboard the San Francisco to Tiburon ferry joined the sound of seagulls and many sights in every direction to fill Leigh Down with vibrant in-the-moment life!

The stopover at Angel Island gave her as much of a look of the island as she wished. Her original goal was Sausalito, as it looked more interesting. Upon learning that the Sausalito ferry stopped at Angel Island then Tiburon first anyway, she added the latter to her itinerary.

Historic Main St. Tiburon was pleasant, even if none of its shops drew her in. The Hippie Tree and seeing a statue of a deceased horse who’d stood at the same place in his pasture for 28 years both sounded interesting, but required more walking than Leigh was willing to undertake, after yesterday’s trek.

Once she had her fill of Main St. and immediately adjacent areas on Corinthian Island, it was a short walk to Shoreline Park, to admire the San Francisco Bay from its north side.

{Damn, I’m spreading a lot} she couldn’t help noticing as she sat and filled more of her chosen bay-facing park bench than she’d expected. No matter: it was a weekday and she had the park almost all to herself.

She found it soothing to restfully sit pretty and slightly wide for a long time, taking in the view. {This is much better than walking all over creation, especially since I’ll likely be walking around Sausalito more.}

It wasn’t quite 2 hours from when she’d stepped off the ferry when the next one arrived for her to board for the short 10 minute ride over to Sausalito.

Downtown Sausalito proved far less interesting than Leigh had hoped. She reversed course, walking along the waterfront to what the map told her was Old Town. The older architecture, much of it dating from around the turn of the previous century, affirmed this designation.

Usually her nose led her to appealing, satisfying comestibles. With nothing having caught her fancy and it being well into the lunch hour, she resorted to some online searching. {Indian-Mexican fusion? Gotta try that!}

Her chosen restaurant was far enough away that she opted to ride a local bus.

{This is alright} she thought of her Curried Rock Shrimp Punjabi Enchilada. {Not as spicy nor as flavorful as I would have thought.}

The meal was pleasant enough, and did have some flavor. The warm, soothing heat of the Masala Chai did her well.

A pleasant stroll from the fusion restaurant back to the ferry terminal filled the remainder of Leigh’s Sausalito time. The return ferry trip directly from Sausalito to San Francisco’s Pier 41 had her back on the Sapphire Prince in plenty of time prior to its departure at 6 PM local time.

A big yawn soon after returning to her comfy stateroom along with feeling worn down had Leigh choose taking a shower then slipping into the soft, luxurious, and decidedly comfy ship-provided bathrobe for a restful nap on her “cloud” bed.