Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Farewell Trip - Part III

Amelia is a Morocco RPCV from the stage after us; she was in the south and we were in the north, so we didn’t meet in Morocco. I went through her town on my post-COS southern swing and texted her, but she was away then – but at least we knew of each other. We’d been emailing over the course of the past few months for various reasons (Peace Corps Response, an artisan business idea, and more), so we had something of a relationship. She’s mid-career too. Her father’s a Princetonian and he read my article in the Princeton Alumni Weekly (; that inspired her to write an article for her alumni magazine. And, coincidentally, Linda had just been down from Seattle and seen her. So when she invited Rose and me to stay with her where she was housesitting in Sausalito, we said yes. Mind you, while in Morocco I had never stayed with a PCV I hadn’t met beforehand; I did it only once in the Philippines. But somehow it seemed okay to do it here!

She met us at the train and we went to Saigon Sandwich. Would it be as good if we weren’t really, really hungry – or even the least bit hungry? It was indeed good, and we did have to go. What next? I voted for crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and getting to Sausalito in the daylight. We hung out for a while, and then had the brilliant thought to go to a Moroccan restaurant! The food was great, and we had a chance to use our Moroccan Arabic. Pastilla (sweet chicken and nuts in pastry dough), zaalook (eggplant salad – I just talked about that too!), couscous, chicken tagine. And again, somehow we had the sense to go to bed early!

The next morning we had breakfast at Fred’s, a Sausalito old-time breakfast place. Three breakfasts cost the same amount as our split dinner of the night before. We took a scenic route through some neighborhoods begging for exploration, including a drive by Nancy Pelosi’s house (which reminds me, I may have failed to mention that this past spring, we passed Rahm Emanuel’s Washington, D.C. house!). Then we went – passing our favorite sculpture ever – to San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum. It has some great art, arranged according to the spread of Buddhism; that is, starting with India and branching north and east as you go through the rooms. We also saw a Japanese screen exhibit – part of which was in a room named for Amelia’s family! I had wanted to go there anyway, but that was a bonus, as is going to any museum with Rose.

And then it was time to go to the airport, where I waited out a flight delay. I was about to have a snack when Martha texted to come hungry – timing is everything! She and Susan picked me up and whisked me off to an Armenian-Lebanese restaurant. We had a bunch of appetizers so that we could try a bunch of things. Our Mexican waiter told us that all of the good things were Lebanese; Martha and Susan said that all of the restaurants they researched were Armenian-something rather than just Armenian – maybe to attract an audience outside the diaspora they need to add a more enticing cuisine! We had great hummus with fava, tabbouleh, aged cheese, a cheese-and-vegetable salad, cucumber and yogurt salad, and some other treats. Some of the dishes that were Armenian were a cheese pie, a meat pie, a spicy beef sausage and a red-pepper-and-nut dish. They were pretty good! We had enough leftovers to have some for breakfast the next day, too.

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