56. Cable Car Turnaround

Next morning after breakfast I went out walking in the direction of Powell Street.  I saw the cable car come down to the bottom there at Market Street.  I saw then this was the turn-around point of the cable cars and I joined in to help.  

Yes at least back then we would join up in the effort to turn the cars.  That was fun, it was.  I hopped aboard, paid my fare and rode out in the direction of Ghirardelli Square; Powell-Hyde line I believe.

First time I ever ate pizza!  What a big slice I got too and it was filled with lots of good stuff for only .25 cents.  Pair that with an ice cold beer and I was all set to watch the boats and people go by.  

Kind of familiar to me it all seemed as this scene reminded me of sitting on the wall on Marine Drive -the Queen’s Necklace– in Bombay, nearly three years earlier.

I noticed some people looking out to a small island.  I went over to see what I would see.  There was a big sign which read:  View Alcatraz the Federal Prison through Powerful Telescope  

Alright this ought to be interesting.  Like some of the other gazers I put my eye up to the telescope and saw an arresting prison situated on an island rock.  

I heard people talking about some notorious criminals housed there.  For a  moment I felt as though I might be in a Hollywood movie.  

After hearing about the sharks, the frigid waters with treacherous currents and the dangerous prisoners I was so glad I was well behaved!  I hung out for about 3 hours because I was really enjoying myself.  I thought it was all very beautiful.  

Finally I thought to change the scenery and so I caught another cable car back towards Market & Powell Streets.  I caught the next car towards Fisherman’s Wharf.  

As I’m walking towards a large pier, on the right-hand side of me I notice a sign in a window across the street.   It was of a little turbaned Indian man Air India’s logo I believe The sign was bright and colorful and lived in the India Office of Tourism.  The depiction was worth a smile.

Now the stomach has begun to direct my steps once more.  I kept walking towards the ocean.  An Italian restaurant to my left took my attention so I went in.  

There were many customers and I always thought that to be a good sign.  I sat myself at the counter, reviewed the menu and decided on a sandwich and some soup.  It was pretty good.

There was another sign -that’s 3 for today- in the window:  HELP NEEDED  Really?    Wait Staff Needed / Mon-Fri / 6a-2p

I was interested enough to inquire with the management and after a few questions, I was hired right on the spot – what a day!  The pay would be $1.75 per hour + tips to keep my own and I would be paid weekly.  

I was advised to immediately to join the Culinary Workers Union – gotta pay union dues in the San Francisco Bay Area.  

As I said before, what a day!  After all this I felt like a real good walk and so I did.  I walked back to the hotel and called it a day!

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Cigarettes were .17 cents per pack and gasoline was an average of .7 cents per gallon, not to mention my room was $1.00 per day

The Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union  (HERE) was a United States labor union representing workers of the hospitality industry, formed in 1891.

55.  February in the City, Moving Right Along

The next morning I went out into the city.  Market Street would get my attention today.  And yes, I tested my thigh power up some of the hilly streets too; it was time to really explore my options.  I knew I must get a profitable routine kicked into gear and very soon!

I found an Indian restaurant around Jones Street and I noticed their business hours were dinner only.  Still I was able to enter.  I asked to visit with the owner and it was quickly arranged.  

Here came out a bearded American man.  We spoke for a few moments.  He said his friend/business partner, also an American, who was cooking the food back in the kitchen was married to an Anglo-Indian lady who guided him in the art of her Indian cooking.

 The other man came out too and I spoke mostly to him, asking questions and sharing my experience.  He explained they were a young business and proposed to start me with only tips and food for pay.  

“If you are able to build our customer base, fill more tables then we’ll negotiate guaranteed wages,”  they  told me.  I seriously considered the offer.

I’d assured the two gentlemen I’d come back by the end of the week if I would accept.  We parted company and then I strolled around for a while to see if anything else would call to me.  

Obeying the pangs in my stomach, I found my way to a nice lunch at one of many local Chinese restaurants.  

Well it’s still winter and nothing sounds better than a good nap after a filling lunch so back to the hotel and up I went for a nice, deep afternoon rest.  

Not long after I got up I received a call from the guys I had gone to the farm with.  They asked if I was doing all right.  That was real nice.  Then they must’ve told the other guys who stayed in the city that I decided the farm was not for me and came back.  

I got a call from them offering their company.  “Hey let’s go get coffee and do some window shopping!”  I certainly appreciated that but realizing the need to focus on the things I must I graciously declined, telling them honestly that I wanted to feel out the city on my own for a couple of days.  

Their response reflected understanding, their disposition most cheerful.  The guys offered their local telephone number so I should call if I needed anything.  That was so kind.

I spent that evening walking my neighborhood stretch of San Francisco, observing this part of America, my current residence, so far away from my youth and my previously known comforts.  All this would now have to become part of the graduated me.

I would serve myself warmed leftover Chinese for dinner.  A nice hot shower would lead me straight to bed and it was lights out.

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