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 todayin 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 every two weeks.  

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

9. Fog in My Pocket With an American Touch 🇺🇸 part 1

Unloading the sugar took about 3-4 days this time; it all depends upon the volume of product and how many hands were present for any specific ship.  Once the ship is cleaned, the lumber gets loaded.

Man I tell you, when I see how hard those guys worked, I was so glad that this process wasn’t part of my job.  I don’t mind saying that I was young and having fun!  In order for things to run smoothly and safely it’s common sense that everyone should have their specific duties, doing exactly what you’ve been hired for; nothing more, nothing less.

I now give a moment’s thought to fact of the United States being just within reach across a border that-a-way, and so myself and a few of the guys decided we would rent a car and cross the border for the day just so we could encounter a taste of the USA.

We departed Vancouver 🇨🇦 in the early morning, marveled by pine tree inspired wonderment throughout the scenic drive, spent the day people watching, eating, and just the basic looky-loo stuff, making our way back by about midnight.  Chalk mark my first American experience.

That next morning I saw on the planner that our ship would be making an additional pick up of lumber as there was just enough room on board; the load would come from Coos Bay, Oregon.  How about that? back into the USA and this time by way of ship!

This detour would take us nearly three days.  Now I refer to this stop as a detour because as the normal route spelled out for the SS Lakemba and its sister ships; SS Suva & SS Lautoka, they do not stop in American ports at all.  🚢 The posted route was Suva to Honolulu to Vancouver and back to to Honolulu, Suva and the various Australian ports.

In fact this stop was quite significant in that it was actually the very first time this ship touched an American port at all, ever.  That’s what I heard, it was all over the crew’s conversations  – it would seem I lucked out!

⚓️  The loaders worked ‘round-the-clock, 24 hours a day; one shift ended, another took over.  The expense is great when a ship is docked in any port and so the faster the ship can be loaded/unloaded, the better for the shipping company.

When my duties were complete I would venture into the port town, in this case it is Coos Bay, and of course some of the guys would tag alongside for a sampling of the local cuisine and well maybe a beer or two.

I can still taste the deliciously fresh, steaming clam chowder and oh yes, the hot and crispy fish & chips too, which we obtained from a food stall on the nearby pier – sensational!

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