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Casa Dulce Casa/More Pix New York City/Caffeine, Wi-Fi/Rapper/Jewish Wedding/Urban Basketball/Otis Redding/Patti Smith/Paris Hilton (not really)

As good as trips are, and this was a good one, I love getting home. The first hit of San Francisco air. The temperature, the humidity, the smell of my part of the world (universe). I went running with the boys last night, all of whom are obsessing with the annual Dipsea race, which happens to be this Sunday. The oldest cross-country race in America, right in our backyard, 7.2 miles from Mill Valley up over a flank of Mt. Tamalpais, down into Muir Woods and up and down to Stinson Beach. It's tough and romantic and joyous and heartbreaking. I'm not in contender shape this year, but it's still a big deal in my life. I got up twice in NYC last week at 6 AM to run in Central Park to avoid getting too far out of shape. (In the park I run on the grass and in fields, never on pavement or paths, it's amazing no one does this, you can criss-cross thru fields, windy paths and up and over granite outcroppings. Central park is actually magnificent.)
Last night I jumped in the creek after running (submerging in California water to tune back into this part of the planet). Picked a bunch of little sweet wild lingonberries on the trail and had them with millet-oat pancakes this morning.
I am so excited to be back. I walked into the office and saw the photos and layouts for my book Builders of the Pacific Coast strewn around on layout tables, and got excited all over again by this unique body of work by coastal builders.
My big problem these days is content — too much of it! I came home with 300 photos, first from the woods in Alleghany county, the work of master builder/woodmeister Bill Castle (and his Amish friends); then dazzling sights + adventures on the streets of Manhattan. What am I gonna do with all this stuff? (Actually after another 3-4 trips to NYC I'll have a book, kind of a west-coast boy's view of the Capital of the Universe.)
On Sunday, after the book expo ended, the clouds came in, the air got refreshingly fresh, and the rain started, light at first and then gust-blowing heavy. I had a great few hours with caffeine (+ killer piece of carrot cake, heh-heh), good music, a great view of the street, rain pouring down, cozy inside, a good wi-fi connection at what has just become my favorite cafe in the world:

The Esperanto Cafe, 114 McDougal St, a few blocks south of Washington Square, Wi-Fi + open 24 hrs.

I almost filled a steno notebook on this trip. Tons of things to do when I get home:

I take one of these on each trip. I keep a small role of Scotch Tape in my backpack and paste in cards that people give me, with notes on what to send, or do. Plus I fill it with ideas, writing, notes, thoughts.

A few photos from Saturday night (warm, sticky temp):

Rap group in Washington Square with a couple of lead rappers surrounded by 15 or so compatriots rocking and gesticulating to the music. It was being filmed. I later saw what I think is a photo of this guy and he's well known, something like Big Boy or Big Joe. This is a fascinating art form to an old guy like me, these guys are lightning fast with extemporaneous lyrics. Amazing.

Jewish wedding party in Washington Square. I mean, I assume this is her Dad.

Hey dude, keep your eye on the ball! — High-quality tough basketball, probably a city league. There was a ref, maybe 100 spectators. These guys were good! In a way, this is the real thing, because you don't have to put up with the TV commercials or dumb personal segments of the NBA. Organic basketball. There were some great handball games going on next door. Once again I'm stunned by the richness of Manhattan.

Music du jour
As I post this am listening to Patti Smith's Trampin'. Earlier today I listened to King and Queen, Otis Redding and Carla Thomas, with their classic "Tramp"
You know what Otis, you are country, you straight from the Georgia woods…
and a beautiful version of "Are You Lonely For me Baby," these are duets made in heaven.
All these pix were shot with an Olympus Stylus 800 which I carry in my fanny pack along with wallet, Swiss Army Knife, little notebook, flashlight, pen, glasses, magnifying glass, lighter. Hey, ready for anything!