April 26, 2010

Welcome Home

Sweeping through SFO's immigration (non-) queue for citizens and residents I get asked the usual rote questions, then the guy behind the counter says "glasses off for the camera!". I say "Gawd, I look dreadful!" and for the first time he smiles, looks at the screen and then back at me, and says "No, not dreadful — ascetic. Oh, and welcome home!"

A short while later the airport shuttle hurtles down 101 as the driver talks loudly into his phone in Russian. I marvel at how San Francisco shares with Sydney the combination of a beautiful physical setting with some of the most banal, undistinguished, and just generally-depressing architecture on earth, especially so on the ride in from the airport (of both cities). I look on from the back seat and guide the driver towards my place. He misses the first turn then misinterprets my directions and stops outside Kefa Coffee (of all places) to get his bearings. I have the bright idea of getting out there instead and struggle into Kefa with all my bags in search of coffee and food. Behind the counter T. looks up and says brightly "Huh! You're wearing a real shirt!" as one of my bags knocks over a chair and nearly crushes a small yap dog. "Oh, and welcome home!", she says.

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