There are many good musicians out there, but I am particularly impressed and inspired by buskers. When I see and hear a talented musician busking, working hard and sharing his passion with anyone who will listen, I can’t help but appreciate, cheer him on and hope that he gets the breaks he needs to succeed.
Last March, while I was on holiday in the United States with my family, I discovered the cool music of saxophone player Justin Ward. My daughter and I were standing outside Macy’s Union Square in San Francisco, waiting for my husband and son who went to grab some ice cream. A young man was right outside the entrance, his back to Union Square, playing music on a saxophone. He caught my attention as soon as I realized he was playing “Let It Go” from the Disney movie Frozen. (At that time, the song and the movie were at the height of popularity, especially with my nieces.)
Together with about a dozen or more people, I stood there and enjoyed the free entertainment. I asked my daughter to put some money in his instrument case and get a name card. And that’s how I learned that the name of this talented young musician was Justin Ward.
I checked out this YouTube channel and found his jazzy rendition of Zedd’s “Clarity.” How I wish I had heard him play this too.
Today, we discovered three new things.
First, we finally found City Lights Books in San Francisco. Unlike Powell’s in Portland which was huge, this bookstore was cozy. They had many interesting books on local arts and culture. Not much for kids though so we decided not to stay too long.
Next, on our walk to the Powell BART station, we passed by Union Square. Outside the entrance of Macy’s facing Union Square, we saw and heard saxophone-playing busker Justin Ward. He first caught my attention when he was playing (Stevie Wonder?). Then Papa, K & R noticed him too when he started playing “Let It Go” from the Disney movie Frozen. By the end of the song, several passers by, including us, were clapping our hands in appreciation of his music.
To cap the day, we played bocci for the first time. My cousin and her family brought us to Campo de Bocci in Pleasanton, a place to eat Italian cuisine and play bocci. It was a great idea because the kids enjoyed trying to beat the grown ups and the grown ups enjoyed winning. Bonus of drinks and dessert on the side.
Isn’t traveling a great way to discover new things?
Today was a pleasantly relaxed day of familiar comforts.
We took the BART from San Jose to San Francisco. I was happy to be riding a train again, not worrying about directions, parking, gas, etc. It almost felt like being back on the MRT in Singapore.
We spent an hour in San Francisco. It felt nice to walk along Powell Street again, with its busy shops, sidewalks and cable cars. As we sat on a bench in Union Square, I just watched people sitting, walking by, or enjoying the art exhibit. I watched the pigeons strutting about, hoping for some scraps from bystanders like me. It was that same old vibe – artsy, relaxed and warm – welcoming me all over again.
Finally, we had dinner with relatives in Moonstar in Daly City. Same place, same faces from three years ago. And we felt the familiar warmth and generosity as we shared stories again over a hearty buffet.
I’m thankful that, in the midst of a pretty hectic holiday, we get slow and comforting days like today.
One beautiful afternoon during our recent family holiday in California, my husband and I were happily walking around downtown San Francisco. We were slowly making our way from the gorgeous Ferry Building to Union Square.
After husband got his cheese at Cowgirl Creamery and I got my chocolates from See’s Candy, we headed to indie bookstore Alexander Book Co. Husband saw some good book titles he hasn’t seen anywhere else and I picked up a cool California trivia book for a steal.
Outside the bookstore, we stopped to look at our map, get our bearings and figure out where to go next. While my husband and I were talking, a very nice couple (who I assume were San Francisco locals) approached us to offer their help. They asked if we were looking for a particular place. Unfortunately, they didn’t know where the Cartoon Art Museum was (the man remarked that that probably wasn’t a good sign 🙂 ). Still, they offered to help us find any other place and even suggested that we might want to visit Chinatown – which is probably a typical tourist must-see. Since we live in Singapore where most places are “Chinatown,” we said we’d rather visit a good local coffee shop. They did recommend Blue Bottle Coffee but we missed it at the Ferry Building and they didn’t know any other nearby location. They advised us to walk along Sutter and Pine Streets and around Chinatown, saying we may find some small cafes there. We bid each other goodbye and went our ways.
Of my many brief but precious memories of San Francisco, that very kind and helpful couple who took time out to stop and offer us help is one of my favorites. People in San Francisco seemed so nice and relaxed. I’m guessing that people fall in love with San Francisco because of the beauty of the place and the warmth of its people. I know I have 🙂