Sunday, January 03, 2010

Cirque du Soleil Ovo

Yesterday I went to San Francisco to see Cirque du Soleil.  I bought a ticket for a 4:00 show in order to get home at a decent hour.  Leaving much later than I should have, I drove to BART in Pleasanton and just missed a train.  I caught the next one about 20 minutes later and rode to San Francisco, getting off at Embarcadero station.  I found the Muni station and got on the T line.  I had map in hand, needing to get off at 2nd and King Station, just across the street from Giants Ballpark.  I asked a passenger if our car would stop automatically at the station.  He didn't think so.  I told him I wanted to make sure I pulled the string to let the driver know I needed to get off, and I didn't want to miss it and have to walk extra blocks.  He said he'd keep an eye out and let me know when it was time.

A few minutes later I could see what looked like the ballpark across the road.  I asked the guy if this was it.  He said yes.  I reached to pull the string, but someone else had already done so.  No problem.  I said thank you to the guy and got off the streetcar.  I crossed the street and walked along with about a dozen other fellow riders.  I asked one couple if they were going to Cirque du Soleil, and they said yes.  Good.  I followed the crowd.

It was several blocks till we got to the parking lot where Cirque was set up.  I made my way to the entrance, and since it was just a few minutes till the start of the program, I asked the ticket taker if I had time to go to the restroom.  She said I had plenty of time, so I took the time for that.  Thank goodness the line for the restroom was pretty short.

Necessities taken care of, I entered the big tent and found my seat.  Sure enough, there was plenty of time to get situated and relax before the show started.  While I waited I text messaged my daughter-in-law Laurie to ask about a good place to have dinner.  She and my son Robbie have seen lots of baseball games at Giants stadium so I was sure Laurie would know a nice place to eat nearby.  She mentioned Delancey Street Restaurant, about a block away--nice, yet not fancy--and staffed by former criminals.  (I've learned since that Delancey Street is a self-help organization for former drug addicts, felons and homeless.)  I recalled Robbie and Laurie going to the restaurant in the past.  I decided to try to get more information after the show.

The lights went down and the show began.  The show's theme was bugs and the costumes were great.  As usual, there were lots of acrobatics.  One of my favorite parts was a group who used their feet to spin in the air what looked like giant slices of kiwi.  Then half of them lined up like bugs on their backs, and each of them supported another bug on its back, the top bug spinning the giant slice of kiwi.   The top bug would kick the kiwi into the air while the bottom bug tossed her to the bug on her left--the "new" bug continuing to spin the kiwi as it came down.  And so they would continue down the line.  It was amazing.

Another favorite was a rock wall, maybe 20-30 feet high.  The bugs would bounce on trampolines and land on the rock wall.  Some bugs clung to the wall head side down like a spider.  The exciting part was when one bug would jump on the wall, move over a little, while bug number two jumped into the spot where the first bug had been.  Then the first bug would fall to the trampoline.  Bug number two moved over while bug number 3 jumped up.  There were several of these teams across the width of the wall, all of them jumping, moving and falling in succession.  If one person got out of sync, someone was going to get smashed.  I loved it!

I enjoy striking up conversation with strangers when I go to concerts by myself, and during the intermission I talked to a couple of young girls sitting next to me.  They were there with their parents and this was their first time to see Cirque du Soleil.  We had a nice conversation about different Cirque shows.

After the show I followed the crowd back out to the main road.  I called my son to get more details about the restaurant.  Since I was on foot, it was really important to know how far it was, and in which direction.  Robbie told me it was at Embarcadero and Brannan St.  I remembered passing Brannan station on Muni, just one stop before the ballpark.  Easy!  I called to see if I needed reservations, and it wasn't a problem if there weren't more than two in my party.  Wonderful. 

I hopped back on Muni and got off at Brannan.  Delancey Street was directly across the street.  It only took a few minutes to get a seat.  The restaurant was a nice-looking white tablecloth place.  The wait staff was dressed in black pants, white shirts and ties.  I felt a little underdressed with my tennis shoes, but I looked pretty good otherwise.  The prices on the menu were amazingly affordable.  I had delicious rack of lamb, a beverage and dessert--about $30 with tip.  I'll go again.
Delancey Street, San Francisco

After dinner, I got on Muni again and headed back toward the ballpark, where I had spied a Borders bookstore.  At the store I pulled a few books and parked myself in a chair for a half hour or so while I skimmed the books.  When I finished the stack I felt it was time to start heading home.  I caught Muni once again and headed back to Embarcadero Station where I switched over to BART.  The car was very crowded and I had to stand for a while until a seat became available.  I rode to the end of the line in Pleasanton, and drove an hour home.  I got home before midnight, relatively early for me.  I had a great day.

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