I realized when I got to the ticket counter that I had grabbed the wrong printout, didn't have my email from Co-op America giving me a discount to the festival. But the woman was sympathetic and gave me the discount anyway. Further, she said she didn't know what the children's price was so she let Joey in for free. A good beginning.
The festival is just huge! Row upon row of booths plus various speaking locations. I didn't even attempt to watch any of the speakers. We managed to cruise by quite a number of booths, gaining a lot of freebies in the process. I have never been to another festival where so much was free. Right at the start one of the booths gave us free bags, thank heaven. Soon they were loaded with magazines, tea bags, candy bars (all fair trade and organic, of course), various materials and other free goodies, including a paper disk that has wildflower seeds stuck in it (you water it, let it swell, then plant it).
There was too much to absorb but we managed to choose a few things to buy as well. I got a hemp-and-cotton polo shirt with Earth Justice printed on it, and Joey got a baseball cap, same name (he also got a free cap from the SF Guardian, a newspaper). We were pretty worn out by then and headed back to the hotel.
It seemed to take forever to get to the hotel, which was about seven blocks away. Only because my legs - and Joey's - were worn out. Here we were in one of the greatest cities for restaurants and especially vegetarian restaurants and all we did was order pizza when we got to the hotel. No time for regrets. We did what we could.
The next morning we went downstairs for our continental breakfast, which did not amount to much, then returned to the room to pack. Packed up the car, checked out, but left the car there. It was about 8:30 when we took off for Market Street in an effort to get on a cable car or two.
Joey on the bus
One thing I learned that I knew before but forgot: don't attempt to get anywhere on cable cars on weekends.
We took a bus to a cable car terminal and got on a cable car that took us to Powell. We had to change to another cable car to get the Fisherman's Wharf, which we had decided we had to get to. Such a mistake. At least six cars passed that would not let us on because they were full. We kept walking back a block, back a block, in hopes of getting on one closer to the start, with fewer people, and finally, when we were about to give up the whole enterprise, we got on one.
Waiting at one of the cable car stops
I actually got to sit down. Joey grabbed a strap.
And got to Fisherman's Wharf. In the misty rain.
Doesn't this look like a good idea?
I was pretty well done in already by this time. We wandered a bit, went into Burger King so the boy could use the restroom and I could leave a book, wandered some more, got some postcards and souvenirs, stopped in Starbucks for hot choc and peppermint mocha because we were cold, left my last book, finally headed back to a cable car terminal.
We were anxious to get back to the concourse by 1:00 because a children's event was scheduled to begin then. There was a line to the cable cars and a man came around to say that "shuttle buses are on their way". Apparently something had gone wrong with the cable cars because they were just sitting there and nobody was getting loaded on them. We stayed in the line a bit and a bit more and a bit more, getting more achey and getting a bit more antsy because of the time. Finally at 12:40 I pulled Joey out of line and said we would find a taxi.
We made some attempts that did not work but then spotted one discharging a passenger a bit up a block and rushed up to it. Fortunately it took us on and we whizzed over to the Concourse, arriving at the children's event at about 1:15. Not so bad really.
Joey in the cab
The event? It was a group called Tree Frog Treks. The leader was an energetic man of indeterminate age who shared the group's many animals - snakes, lizards, turtles - with the children, getting them to chant various "scientist chants" along the way, and injecting a lot of humor (which Joey said appealed to adults but not to him). Joey got to come up front to feed the turtle, an enterprise he clearly enjoyed, and he petted snakes and spent a while talking to one of the teachers about some animal or another. It was a lively group that let huge snakes wrap around them as they lay on the floor and that investigated actual tree frogs when offered. I thought what a great organization and when can they go to Las Vegas, but I learned that they operate out of SF only. At least for now.
Baking soda and water explosion
The only down side for me was that I had to stand during this whole presentation. I was dying on my feet. I managed it and finally ended my time in a nearby tentish place where people with laptops seemed to be operating and communing with each other. When the event was over Joey and I investigated more booths and looked at the food area but the whole thing was so crowded that it was too much. We got out and headed back toward the hotel and my car.
The food area
On the way back we stopped at a cool market that serves food. We each had some white bean and spinach soup with bread, Joey had some pineapple as well, and when we left I grabbed four little bags of kettle chips of different flavors.
harvest urban market
Traffic was heavy on our way out but loosened enough soon enough that it didn't add too much to my exhaustion. We made it home a bit after eight, not so late.
My bod is stiff and hurts and I'm thinking this will be a quiet day. A craft day.