Imposing and peaceful Tintern Abbey, Wales

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC travelled from Bristol to the Wye Valley in Wales to see Tintern Abbey, on the recommendation of a coffee vendor we met at the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

My impressions? The mix of fallen and still-standing walls is strangely effective in conveying the grandeur and peace of the place.

Word of the day

Abbey is the word of the day. The word stems from the same root as the Aramaic אבא (‘abbā), the Hindi abbā, and the Arabic ab, all of which mean “father”. An abbey is where the abbot lives, the abbot being the head of a group of monks. ABBA is also the name of a rather well known Swedish pop group. The group’s name is formed from the first letters of the singers’ names.

Travel tip

Pay heed to coffee vendors and other wise folks.

The book I’m in

Alaskan Fire, by Sara King. A good read, although slightly less sophisticated than this author’s other works.

The photos

Me taking in the sights from a window at Tintern Abbey:

The Welsh name for the abbey is Abaty Tyndyrn. The tourist brochure says Tintern Abbey is Wales’s best-preserved abbey. In Welsh, that’s “Yr Abaty sydd yn y cyflwr gorau yng Nghymru”:

Play this video to hear the sounds of Tintern Abbey:

The first buildings that formed the abbey were built in 1130s. Most of the original structure has disappeared, and what we see now was built in the 400-year period leading up to 1536. Then King Henry VIII passed a number of laws that put a stop to monasteries and the monastic life in England, Ireland, and Wales. The abbey fell to ruin:

Flowers and poetry grow from its walls:

Symmetry and sky greet you as you enter:

The pantry has an imposing ceiling:

Do not climb on the walls, written in English and Welsh:

This worm has noticed that the plumbing is often a high point in ruins. The abbey is no exception – the drainage system is lauded in the tourist information:

Me and Peg checked out the bathing facilities:

The view of the hills probably hasn’t changed much in the 850+ years since the abbey was built:

Farewell gracious abbey:

That’s all for today, folks.

Clifton Suspension Bridge thrice crossed

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC crossed the Clifton Suspension Bridge in three ways yesterday. We strolled across it, drove over it, and drove under it. The bridge spans the River Avon near Bristol, UK, and offers heart-stopping views of the city and the river.

My impressions? An impressive work of engineering, surrounded by beauty.

Word of the day

Suspense is the word of the day. Dangling from a suspension bridge makes for a suspenseful day’s work.

Travel tip

If you’re driving, stop the car well short of the bridge and stroll down for a leisurely look.

Recommended coffee cart

A friendly, knowledgeable person offered us a cup of Union Direct Trade coffee and a chat at the Bristol end of the bridge. He’s fun to talk to, and the coffee is good.

The book I’m in

The Visitor, by Lee Child. I’m still munching my way through the same book as in my previous few posts. A good Lee Child is a good place to be.

The photos

Me snuggling up to one of the 3,500 load-bearing bolts that hold the Clifton Suspension Bridge together:

This worm does not envy these workers dangling from a maintenance cage under the bridge, more than 245 feet above the river:

On one side of the bridge is a view of the River Avon with the city of Bristol in the distance:

On the other side of the bridge, the river stretches out its muddy banks:

A sobering sign hints of people less happy than we:

Crossing the bridge:

Flowers of the Bristol onion decorate the bridge’s sides:

The Clifton Suspension Bridge spand 702 feet and weighs 1,500 tonnes. The chains that support the bridge stretch 20 miles underground. Here’s a parting shot from the road below the bridge:

That’s all for today, folks.

Winchester Cathedral an unexpected pleasure

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC had a few hours to spare in Hampshire, England, before catching up with some friends. We spotted Winchester on the map, and came across the cathedral almost by accident.

My impressions? An awe-inspiring building with gracious hosts.

Word of the day

Knapping is the word of the day. It’s what you do to shape a piece of flint into a tool or an ornament, by tapping and chiselling until the stone has the shape you need. You can therefore refer to knapped or unknapped flint. The word knapping is related to the Germanic root knopp, meaning to strike.

Travel tip

Chat to the guides in the cathedral, even if you don’t take a guided tour. The guides are kind, enthusiastic and knowledgable.

Recommended restaurant

The Stable, 31b The Square, Winchester SO23 9EX, UK. Excellent pizza, catering also for vegan and gluten free diets. Good cider and friendly staff.

The book I’m in

The Visitor, by Lee Child. The story follows on directly from Tripwire and features the same hero, Jack Reacher. The TC is on holiday and happened to have both books in her bag. I wiggled easily from the one to the other, and am experiencing that rare pleasure of reading two sequential books in sequence.

The photos

Me and William Walker, the diver who saved Winchester Cathedral in the early 1900s. William dressed in heavy diving gear and went into the water under the building every day for six long years, shoring up the foundations. He saved the cathedral from collapse.

Being short in stature, I appreciate a good floor. Winchester Cathedral has a good floor:

This heart-breaking memorial for a six-week old baby caught my eye:

Also on the floor is the tomb of Jane Austen, beloved author. It’s interesting to note that the inscription makes no mention of her fame as a writer:

Raising your eyes to the TC’s level rather than this worms, you’d see the thoughtful gaze of Jane Austen:

Here lies Godfrey de Lucy, bishop of Winchester from 1189 to 1204:

The positioning of the three moons is interesting on this memorial stone. To a modern eye, they seem to form a smiley face. This worm wonders what folks thought of them in 1700:

The large book below is a roll of honour to the Rifle Brigade in World War I (1914-1918). The page turner shown in the display is a thin, engraved and shaped piece of wood, for use only with this roll of honour:

Inside the cathedral are a number of inner walls, enclosing tombs and sanctuaries. Many of them are intricately carved, like the one below. There are also caskets atop the wall:

Symmetry in the crypt below the cathedral:

The shot below is taken from the back of the cathedral, looking down the main hall (the nave) towards the altar:

Construction of the cathedral started in 1079. The main hall was built later, in the years between 1350 and 1525.

The stained glass window at the back of the church was rebuilt from pieces of shattered glass in 1660, after English Parliamentary troops (the so-called Roundheads led by Cromwell) destroyed the original window:

The west face of Winchester Cathedral:

Walking down to the right of the west face, you’ll see this view of the building:

Four Norman arches stretch away from the main building:

Pieces of flint embedded in the walls around the cathedral:

That’s all for today, folks.

Is this a worm or a fungus – in Sydney, Australia

The TC (my Travelling Companion) spotted this weird and wonderful creature on the Wild Flower Walk at Manly Dam Reserve near Sydney, Australia. We’re intrigued. Is it a worm, or some type of fungus, or something else entirely?

It’s quite long, perhaps 10 to 12 centimetres – compare it with the gum tree leaves also visible in the photo. It’s red with pale cream extrusions at the edges. It’s attached to the vertical face of a step. It didn’t move, even when the TC prodded it gently with a stick.

At first the TC thought it was a fungus. But looking more closely at the photos, we’re leaning towards some kind of worm.

Worm or fungus?

Here is is again, from a slightly different angle. You can probably enlarge the image by clicking it, or by right-clicking and opening the image in the browser.

Worm or fungus?

If you have any ideas about what it may be, please add a comment to this post!

 

Published in: on 30 June 2014 at 5:11 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC) .

Today’s travel notes

In which Wordsworm explores the importance of horror, gore and pumpkins in the American psyche and discovers that there’s a lot to blame the Irish for.

Me and the TC have just got back from California, USA. We drove from San Francisco to LA, through a countryside in the throes of pre-Halloween pumpkinitis. We hit Hollywood just in time to catch the Halloween Horror Night at Universal Studios.

My impressions? To paraphrase Obelix, “These Californians are crazy”. To pacify the TC I’ll add, “But in a good way”.

Travel tip

Don’t turn around. The zombie behind you just may be Irish.

Recommended restaurant

The Hard Rock Café on Universal Citywalk, Hollywood. Good food, bluesy atmosphere, dangling car and wall-hung rock memorabilia. No obvious Irishmen.

The book I’m in

Still Life with Woodpecker, by Tom Robbins. This worm finds the content contrived but passably amusing. From the cover blurb: “[This book] reveals the purpose of the moon… examines the conflict between social activism and romantic individualism… It also deals with the problem of redheads.”

The photos

Me, Peg and the Great Pumpkin. Hey Linus, I found it:

Halloween, horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween, horror and pumpkins in California

It was the week before Halloween when we drove down the Californian coast. Pumpkin patches littered the countryside. What is it with pumpkins, ghosts and the American psyche? This worm has done a bit of research. It’s said that the Irish brought the tradition of Halloween and jack o’lanterns with them to the States. Originally, jack o’lanterns were made from the humble turnip. There’s a confused story of a drunken Irish farmer called Jack who couldn’t get in to heaven or hell, so he had to stagger around purgatory for ever after. To light his way, he hacked a hole in a turnip and put a burning coal into it to form a lantern. For some reason best known to themselves, the other villagers decided that if they made their own turnip lanterns, this would scare away Jack and similar undesirables. Well, they were Irish of course.

When the settlers came to the States and discovered the magnificent pumpkins in their new land, they started using pumpkins instead of turnips to make their jack o’lanterns.

This is the picturesque Webb Ranch Pumpkin Patch near Palo Alto:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Not all pumpkins are the same, you know. Only the very best will become worthy jack o’lanterns, fit to ward off the Halloween witches and spirits. When you see one you like, hang on to it with all your might:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Night falls. Mist rises. The Hollywood streets undergo a frightening metamorphosis. Chainsaws thrum. Screams chill the bones. Bones clatter over the screams. It’s Universal Studios Halloween Horror Night:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Oh, for the comforting glow of a pumpkin now:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

If you scream, you’re fair game:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

There’s no escape:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

They’re everywhere:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Some poor souls didn’t make it:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

This guy should have tried a pumpkin as a coach:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Dude, you’re just tall:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

The only one who could ever reach me was the son of a preacher man:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

But day dawns, justice overcomes and pumpkins prevail. Me and a panel from the door of the Santa Barbara Courthouse:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Actually, pumpkins don’t have it all their own way. Me with a soon-to-be-extinct slice of pumpkin pie:

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Halloween horror and pumpkins in California

Oh-Oh, spaghetti-o. Linus, I fear the TC ate the Great Pumpkin.

That’s all for today dudes.

Gum Wall in Seattle

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC) .

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in Seattle. Where it rains. She’s here for the WritersUA conference, four days of technical writer’s heaven.

Undaunted by the dismal drizzle and the icy wind, the TC set off for a grand tour of the city. She wandered down Post Alley and spotted the Seattle Wall of Gum.

Would you believe that she stuck me to it? So humiliating. Take a look at the snap below and commiserate with me. Don’t laugh!

Travel tip

Chew every mouthful 32 times. “Nature will castigate those who don’t masticate,” said Horace Fletcher the great.

The book I’m in

Bones, by Jonathan Kellerman.

This dude always manages to set your teeth on edge from the very first bite.

The photos

Me affixed inelegantly to the Seattle Gum Wall:

Gum Wall in Seattle

Gum Wall in Seattle

Here’s another view of the glorious gum:

Gum Wall in Seattle

Gum Wall in Seattle

The TC did not have any gum, so she donated a half-chewed Mentos that had kept me company in her bag all the way from Australia.

The story is that the gum started appearing on the wall way back in the early 1990s. People standing in line for the Market Theatre used the wall as a place to leave their gum:

Gum Wall in Seattle

Gum Wall in Seattle

As an aside, I have to inform you that the TC noticed with glee the spelling of “THEATRE” in the sign above. One down for American spelling! As another aside, I have to apologise for the TC. She’s a technical writer.

The Gum Wall, a.k.a the Great Wall of Gum, is in Post Alley at the Pike Place Market. Here’s a view from the skyway over the alley, with the sticky stuff on the left:

Gum Wall in Seattle

Gum Wall in Seattle

Here’s the other end of Post Alley, looking altogether less hard-bitten:

Gum Wall in Seattle

Gum Wall in Seattle

That’s all for today dudes.

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC) .

Today’s travel notes

A few days ago, me and the TC climbed up to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill and saw the frescoes on the walls of the tower.

Later the same day, we had tea at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. This little restaurant introduced fortune cookies to the United States. There’s even a claim that fortune cookies were invented by Makoto Hagiwara, caretaker of the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco.

The fortune cookies and the frescoes are at opposite ends of town, so why write about them in one blog post? Purely for the sake of the alliteration. I could claim a philosophical juxtaposition of commerce and art, or of kitch and realism. But no, it’s the allure of the alliteration. That’s assonance, man.

Travel tip

Treat yourself to a chocolate. If you’ve never had a Hershie Bar, they’re worth trying.

The book I’m in

Managing Writers, A Real World Guide to Managing Technical Documentation, by Richard L. Hamilton.

This bookworm is munching on the feast of quotable bits in this book. Here’s an appetiser from the section on “The Elements of Technical Writing”:

“Schedules are the closest thing to a ‘black art’ that you are likely to deal with as a documentation manager. The good news is that as a documentation manager, you will rarely set schedules; the bad news is that you will rarely set schedules.”

Tantalising? The explanation’s in the book.

The photos

Me with a fortune cookie in the Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco:

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

My fortune cookie says “You are next in line for promotion in your firm”. Look out, all worms, here I come!

Did you know that the origin of the fortune cookie is in some dispute? Some claim that Makoto Hagiwara, caretaker of the Japanese Tea Garden, created them. Others say that they were invented in Japan but the Tea Garden introduced fortune cookies into the United States:

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

Hopping over to the frescoes, here’s part of a wall inside Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, San Francisco:

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

Coit Tower was built in 1933 with money donated by Lillie Hitchcock Coit. Artists painted the frescoes and were paid as part of the Federal Government’s New Deal to help artists during the Great Depression.

Beautiful, huh? Yes, but take a closer look:

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

The grimmer side of life is there in the painting too. A man has been run over by a car. Also, look closely in the first picture and you’ll see that someone is picking the pocket of the man in a white coat checking his watch.

Worried about imminent invasion by E.T. and his buddies? No need. The UFO Response Team is out in force, spotted here at the top of Haight near Golden Gate Park:

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

And so it’s farewell to fair San Francisco. (Can’t resist that alliteration today.) Here’s me on Baker Beach with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background:

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

Fortune cookies and frescoes in San Francisco

Me and the TC are off to Seattle. Where it rains.

That’s all for today dudes.

Cable cars in San Francisco

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC) .

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC took a trip on a San Francisco cable car. That was the most fun you can have outside a book!

We’ve also ventured onto buses and trams and various other forms of transport. You know what? Everyone chats to everyone in San Francisco.

My impressions? Public transport reveals San Francisco as a friendly city full of cheerful, or if not cheerful then vociferously expressive, people.

Even the gripman on the cable car had a big smile for the TC. Check out the photograph below. Gripmen are a fascinating breed.

Travel tip

Not only do the Americans drive on the wrong side of the road, their light switches are all wrong too: Push up to switch on the light. (This is an especially useful tip when it’s dark. And after all, that’s usually when you’re trying to turn on the light.)

Another tip: City blocks in San Francisco are long. Don’t try to walk too many of them.

Recommended restaurant

Zazie, a French bistro in Cole Valley. The food is divine. The TC had braised steak Marseillaise. It was so tender it fell apart at the touch of a fork.

The book I’m in

Managing Writers, A Real World Guide to Managing Technical Documentation, by Richard L. Hamilton.

A very well organised book with plenty of information for a bookworm to get his teeth into.

The photos

Me on the Powell & Mason Streets cable car:

Cable cars in San Francisco

Cable cars in San Francisco

Did you think “cable car” meant a car that hangs from an overhead cable? The TC did, bless her cotton socks. So she was surprised to see something that looks more like an ornate tram:

Cable cars in San Francisco

Cable cars in San Francisco

The cable runs underground. It’s a set of steel strands wrapped around a rope core. The cable moves at a speed of about 15km per hour. The car grabs onto the cable and is pulled along the track. When it reaches the end of the track, the car runs onto a turntable:

Cable cars in San Francisco

Cable cars in San Francisco

Now people have to turn it around by hand so that it can go in the other direction:

Cable cars in San Francisco

Cable cars in San Francisco

The star of the show is the gripman. This is a highly skilled and physically superior being. The competition to become a gripman is strong and the training is harsh. This bookworm has read somewhere that only 30 percent of trainees pass the course. Undaunted to find herself in such illustrious company, the TC smiled at our gripman. Just look at the smile she got in response:

Cable cars in San Francisco

Cable cars in San Francisco

Behind the gripman you can see the impressive array of levers he has to manipulate. He is the dude who makes the car grab or release the cable. He also has to judge the gaps across intersections, where the cable does not run. And he has to watch out for unaware motorists and pedestrians and other mere mortals who don’t know just how out-of-control a cable car can be.

Here’s a closer look at the levers and handles:

Cable cars in San Francisco

Cable cars in San Francisco

Want to go for a ride on a San Francisco cable car? Try these videos:

Here’s the gripman dude in action:

Do you have a head for heights? Here’s a very short video of the cable car starting at the top of a steep hill:

The trams in SF are special too. Some of them are heritage models, and some are even imported from other cities around the world. Here’s a golden oldie from Milan, that we spotted in Market Street:

Cable cars in San Francisco

Cable cars in San Francisco

Even the buses in SF have something to say for themselves. Many of them are powered by overhead cables. This can get a bit ugly at intersections:

Cable cars in San Francisco

Cable cars in San Francisco

But hey, it means the buses can have “Zero Emissions Vehicle” proudly emblazoned on their sides:

Cable cars in San Francisco

Cable cars in San Francisco

Bus seats are roomy, unlike in Sydney where the TC can be heard to complain that other passengers sit on her rather than next to her. This worm is feeling magnanimous today, so here’s another tip. (This is the third one in a single blog post. Feel privileged!) To request a stop, you pull the cable that runs along above the windows. It’s not an emergency cord.

That’s all for today dudes.

World Famous Bushman in San Francisco

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC) .

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC have been in San Francisco for a couple of days now. Yesterday we encountered the World Famous Bushman. When he’s not lurking behind a bush, he goes by the name of David Johnson.

My impressions? This Bushman dude knows where it’s at. Dollars roll in.

Photos and a video below.

Travel tip

Oscar Wilde is said to have said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” It’s neither summer nor winter here right now, but it is cold. And very windy. I tremble in trepidation whenever the TC waves me around in search of the perfect photographic pose. If you happen to spot me blowing willy-nilly through the Californian streets, please catch me and put me into a good book.

Recommended restaurant

On the Bridge restaurant in Japan Town presents food yoshoku style. That’s western food but with a Japanese influence, as eaten by the people of Japan. The restaurant itself is energetic and cheerful in yellow and green with touches of pink, orange and blue. Garfield and other more cuddly toys watch over you as you eat. Anime rules. “Beware the attack chef.”

The book I’m in

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson.

Yep, still the same book. The TC has not had much time for reading recently. This makes for a restful life for me, except when I’m hauled out for the occasional celebrity photo shoot.

The photos

Peg has been making a perfect pest of herself over the last couple of days, because she wants everyone to know she’s here too. So, to pacify Peg, here’s me and Peg perched on the TC’s pouch:

World Famous Bushman in San Francisco

World Famous Bushman in San Francisco

Now that’s Peg out of the way, let’s move on to the World Famous Bushman. Your typical tourist does not even notice this bush:

World Famous Bushman in San Francisco

World Famous Bushman in San Francisco

Yikes, lookee here — the horror, the horror:

World Famous Bushman in San Francisco

World Famous Bushman in San Francisco

The World Famous Bushman skulks behind his branches on Fisherman’s Wharf. Every now and then, he leaps out and scares the unsuspecting passers-by. Funnily enough, they don’t even notice the circle of other tourists around the Bushman, waiting with drawn cameras to film the scare.

Would you believe that the TC paid him $5 for a photograph and a gag? From the comfort of my book buried in her bag, I heard her engage him in conversation. Uh-oh, thinks me, here we go. He asked her where she came from.

“South Africa.”

“Oh,” says the World Famous Bushman, “then you know what a real bushman is!”

That’s when she handed over the $5. Bushman dude, you rock!

Here’s a short video of the Bushman in action:

While we’re in the area, here’s a picture of Alcatraz taken from Fisherman’s Wharf just behind the Bushman:

World Famous Bushman in San Francisco

World Famous Bushman in San Francisco

We had a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, also near Fisherman’s Wharf:

World Famous Bushman in San Francisco

World Famous Bushman in San Francisco

That’s all for today dudes.

Arriving in San Francisco

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC) .

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC have arrived in San Francisco, on the first leg of our two-city American tour.

My impressions? Space, light, beauty, calm. But don’t despair, adventure lurks just below the surface.

As we touched down at San Francisco at the end of our 14-hour flight from Sydney, the pilot announced that we were perfectly safe, everything was normal. He went on to tell us that we were perfectly safe and everything was completely normal. They had had to switch off the port engine, but it was a completely safe, normal procedure which happened sometimes in flying. So we should not worry about the fire engine appearing at our side, nor the fact that we had stopped some distance from the terminal in case we might set it on fire. It was a perfectly normal… You get the gist.

The TC was not terribly concerned, since we had already landed. But she did Google our plane as soon as Googling was possible, to see how many engines a Boeing 747-400 has. The answer is four. So we probably were perfectly safe.

The adventure continues…

Travel tip

Count the number of engines on your plane before you set off. Even better, count the number of working engines.

Recommended restaurant

Juban restaurant in the Kinokuniya building. It’s a Japanese restaurant in the heart of Japan Center, where you grill your own food over a flame. This is a good place to find fresh vegetables. The TC is fond of her greens.

The book I’m in

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson.

A good read. This worm is glad there’s a sequel I can bury myself in next. Books are safe, normal and cosy places to be when travelling.

The photos

Me at the Crowbar on east Broadway — please excuse my less-than-sharp appearance, but it’s perhaps not unsuited to the general feel of the neighbourhood:

Arriving in San Francisco

Arriving in San Francisco

Here’s more of Broadway. Across the road from the Crowbar a variety of delights are on offer, including “ShowGirls” and “Naughty Laundry”. The TC wandered into this area by mistake, as is her wont. I don’t think she would have chosen it for a stroll:

Arriving in San Francisco

Arriving in San Francisco

Me and the TC arrived at the Embarcadero in the middle of an anti-war demonstration. This is Saturday 21 March, our first day in San Francisco. Demonstrators were demanding the freedom of Palestine and Gaza and an end to the war in Iraq, no war in Iran, and basically just “no war”. This video shows some of the crowd setting out and the SFPD following on motorbikes:

Later we heard on the news that there were a couple of scuffles with police and eight people were arrested. But we just saw some concerned citizens. Here’s the statue “La Chiffoniere” by Jean Dubuffet, with demonstrators including a masked demonstrator in front of the statue:

Arriving in San Francisco

Arriving in San Francisco

The SFPD arrived on foot, on bicycles and on motor bikes. They were a sturdy bunch, but smiled and chatted to the crowd while waiting to set off. Here are some of them:

Arriving in San Francisco

Arriving in San Francisco

Here’s one of the demonstrators who opted for a colourful display rather than joining the march. This worm approves of the orange-coated dog:

Arriving in San Francisco

Arriving in San Francisco

To finish off, here’s a San Francisco cityscape. It’s a view from Telegraph Hill, taken from the climb up to Coit Tower:

Arriving in San Francisco

Arriving in San Francisco

San Francisco is a beautiful city. I’ll blog about it some more soon!

That’s all for today dudes.