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Tourist for a Day, cont'd.

Sun, 1 Feb 1998, published in Nov. 2001, llandry

· Sitting with Mama
· Maria
· Nine Crossings
· Mama and Her

· Fallopian Chron IV
· Why I Toast, I
· Why I Toast, II
· Why I Toast, III
· Scooter/Dot-Com
· Fallopian Chron II
· Fallopian Chron III
· Strange Bedfellow
· Almost Equal
· A Difficult Day
· Phantom Lover:
    Ode to
    Leslie Cheung

· I Am Salad
· Fallopian Chron I
· Taiwanglish
· Childhood's End
· Psychic Friends
· Life in the
    Time of SARS

· Waiting for
      the Goddess

· Roswell My Eye
· Catisfaction
· My Laramie Project
· Stopping on the
    Street for
    Coltrane: A Real
    Latter Day Saint

· Whither Moocat?
· Happy Palindrome!
· Happy Tiger
· Tourist for a Day
· Geography
    as Destiny

· "Bastards"
· Watching the
    Pentagon Burn

· Communing with

· Milk
· Infinity
· Emailing the Dead
· Broken Water
· Sand Shark
· Grandma Said
· Golden Days
· Americat
· Moe Howard on the
Death of His Brother,

· Flashpoems
· Minyan
· Inside Scoop
· Nativity
· I Ask My Mother
To Sing

· Absence of Colours
· Island Logic
· Peepshow Kleenex
· Allen Ginsberg
Forgives Ezra Pound
on Behalf of the Jews

· Lacing Your Shoes:
Haiku & the Everyday

· Four Haiku
· Smoking Haiku
· Geary & Jones,
Monday, 8:23 a.m.

· The Keeper
· december 13, 2001
· Memento Mori
· Football's Birthday
· The Edward Gorey

· Arrival
· Victim o'

· The Origin of
Teeth and Bones

· Questions for
Martins Ferry,

· This Is Just
To Tell You

· Not-Cat (& whatnot)
· To My Unmet Wife

· Englishhua
· Dave for Pope
· Papa Loves Mambo
· A Culture Report

· The Louisiana
A Special Radio X
Historical Docudrama

· Krawkawkaw Gives
a Little

· Meet Dr. Klaww
· Letters to Dr. Klaww
· Letter from the
Hall of Justice

· An Invitation
to be Keynote

· More

All Things

· Gajandra Meets
    the Scatoman

· Gajandra and
    the Curse of the
    Six Monkeys

· Gajandra and the
    Eating Lesson

· A Moment of

· Gajandra and the
    Great Rumble

· Gajandra and the
    Problem with

· Mohamed Tahdaini
· John Guillory
· Berkeley Pier
· Bruce Dene
· Death of The Bayou
· Taiwan Food Vendors
· John Freeman
· Robin Liu
· Hector
· Dave's Corner
· Zuni Kachinas

· Mainland Murmurs
· Next to Heaven
  · Episode #8

  · Episode #16
· Crosswords Brunch


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I enjoyed running through the crowds. I had no purse ( I stuffed money, keys and license in my jeans pockets) and when this guy, who probably belonged to a cult, tried to sell me one of those "I LUV YOUR SMILE" stickers I smiled and said, "I'm local. I came down here to walk and I don't have any money on me." He said, "Keep on Smilin" and I said, "right on." I finally made it to some water and looked for the sea lions but there were none. I saw floating cardboard and gulls. I think the sea lions hang out farther down. I'm very intrigued by all the large glass restaurants where nearly everyone can view the bay. It's comical, in a way. On one pier, there was a WWII sub with a HUGE, HUGE line of people waiting to get on and crawl around inside. I got to go on a sub for free in Norfolk once when Dave and I visited my high school friends, Keith and Judith, who were living on the Navy base. It was cool. As my mother exclaimed about the USS Alabama docked in Mobile Bay more than once, "If you've seen one battleship, you've seen them all." I think she said this about caves, too. Sylvia could speak with a lot of authority on certain issues. When she made statements like this, we believed her. My desire to see battleships and caves is pretty minimal thanks to her.

I ended up going to one fish stand with outdoor tables. It was tacky and rickety and reminded me of places in rural Louisiana, so I thought it could be the best option. I got fish and chips with lots of tartar sauce and ketchup and ate quickly before the sea gulls could steal my food. Mildly tasty, though greasy. But the best fried food comes out of New Orleans. I think it's a combination of sweet tasting gulf seafood, spice and the perfect flour/cornmeal combination.

Or, maybe it's just something in the water.

I argue with Jack constantly about how much better New Orleans seafood cooking methods are than Maryland's: in particular boiled versus steamed AND how the Louisiana Blue Crab and the Chesapeake Blue Crab are the same thing. And, even if there is a slight mutation, the Chesapeake has been so fished out, nine times out of ten, the crabs you eat in Maryland restaurants have been trucked in from south Louisiana. He refuses to believe it. It explains why there are fewer crabs to catch in my home state now. Too many people started over-fishing and sending them up north. It was very noticeable when I visited the camp in Montegut a few years ago. We used to go there and lay traps down and eat crabs the entire time. Now, we're lucky to get enough for a boil by Sunday. All so people can go hang out on an Annapolis pier eating crabs that have been (gasp) steamed for about $300 a bushel.

One bad thing: tourists treat the places they visit with utter disregard. I noticed this in DC, too. They litter and complain about the locals and block traffic. I think Disney World makes people forget that cities are real places where people live and work; not staged attractions that cater only to them. Remember this next time you're a tourist. The littering really got me. I mean, people who come to San Francisco are probably not poor. It's expensive to get here and expensive to stay. So, you'd think they'd be more respectful in their middleclassiness about throwing their trash away. The ground was covered with food-smattered styrofoam plates, yet the garbage can closest to me (where I tossed MY dirties) was not even half full. I watched and figured out the trick. When the plate lightened, the wind would take a plate flying and the tourist would not get up to pick it up. It had some sort of domino effect where everyone thought that was OK to do.

The fog started to roll in about then and I had no jacket. I walked back the way I'd come and made myself go into one souvenir shop. I scanned the personalized items to see how many times I found my name. I ended up coughing up $2.50 for a tiny California license plate with "LYNN" on it. It's a zipper pull and I put it on my Daytimer. My California souvenir total is: 2. The first item was the charm bracelet from Chinatown with little SF emblems like a seal, Coit Tower and other things.

The drive home was traffic-heavy but I calmly waited my turn at all red lights. It was a great opportunity to watch people all the way home. There were people everywhere. It was really dramatic to take the Presidio and check out the Golden Gate Bridge. Like the excitement I never lost of driving across Memorial Bridge in DC toward the Lincoln Memorial, I don't think I'll ever tire of the fantastic views in this city. The wonderful thing here, too, is no one seems to be so jaded to take that for granted. I never could get over the amount of Northern Virginians I'd meet who were so proud of the fact that they NEVER went into "the district." They never saw the cherry blossoms in the tidal basin, never went to the top of the Washington Monument, never took advantage of the free national museums. I don't ever want to be like this. It's such a waste.

Next weekend, all of you, get out and play tourist in your home town.

It's all good.

— Lynn Landry

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