The past weekend was super hectic but fun. I had family: my uncle and aunt, parents of my cousin in the East Coast, visiting me. As I was supposedly the seasoned West Coaster, my cousin had entrusted the task of showing them around the various sights and sounds of California (or how much ever sighting and sounding is possible in two days) to me.
I was all up for entertaining them. However I was not too thrilled at the thought of yet another visit to San Francisco's Pier 39 with a ride around the SF bay on the "bay cruise adventure" ship thrown in. However, it is cruelty to send away first time visitors to the Bay Area without showing them the famous Golden Gate bridge and the famous Pier 39. So I put my chin up - besides, simply being in San Francisco is so energizing!
So on Saturday morning, we all set out for San Francisco on the Caltrain (I would rather be sitting on a hot stove than be forced to parallel park my car on a slanting slope in San Francisco :-)). The Caltrain was unusually crowded. In fact, as we approached San Francisco, owing to lack of sitting space, people were standing in the aisles and squatting on the floor near the seats. I thought the crowd was due to some baseball game.
Then we took the bus to Pier 39. Once again, the bus became slowly crowded and was soon filled to bursting point. Which was when my aunt pointed out, "Hey! Look at those planes in the sky! They are doing all kinds of maneuvers!" Sure enough, two planes were flying in close formation. Then they split and rose vertically. And did beautiful vertical spins. I watched spell bound.
Watching the thrilling antics performed by the planes kept us entertained all the way up to Pier 39. Meanwhile I wondered what airshow this was. As soon as we landed at Pier 39 we found that this was the air show performed by the famous Blue Angels - about which I had heard announcements the previous week on radio.
The crowd on Pier 39 was to be seen to be believed. It would have put Ranganathan street to shame. People lined the dock, lined all elevated points, filled the interior spots and milled around. Everyone was watching the show. And during especially difficult-looking maneuvers everyone applauded.
We bought tickets for the bay cruise adventure. My uncle and aunt understood completely when I said I would wait for them on the dock instead of going on the boat-ride for the 11th or so time! After seeing them off on the one-hour boat-cruise (from which the airshow views were apparently even more awesome), I settled myself down at a vantage point and focused completely on the airshow.
It was, to describe in one word: amazing. I wondered just how much amount of practice it must have taken to fly so perfectly. At some point two planes traced out a gigantic heart in the sky while a third one went through the center of the heart like an arrow - so cute! The planes made huge loops and spirals in the sky. Two, four and six planes flew in close formation and executed various patterns in the sky.
At some point four planes took off in close formation from a place close to where I was sitting. As the planes thundered past overhead, I saw just how huge they were. The sheer majesty of that scene took my breath away. I watched open-mouthed.
After some more time I saw the planes make the Fleur de lis (I found out just this morning that that probably was what I had seen) pattern. After that, after a few more maneuvers the show was over. My uncle and aunt returned from the cruise around the same time and we spent some more time in Pier 39.
All of us were thoroughly excited at having the airshow added as an unexpected bonus to our San Francisco visit. It totally made up for the 2 hour ride (which usually takes around 35 minutes) in the almost non-moving traffic from Pier 39 back to the Caltrain station and the ride back home in the uber-crowded Caltrain.
Blue Angels rock :-D!
p.s. I also found that some girls are capable of talking loudly to their companions without a single pause for one and a half hours straight. Yeah, I am sure about this - we had one such specimen accompany us right beside our seats on both the onward and the return journey. Talk about being lucky :-(!