American public transport is always a mixed experience. The vehicles themselves are usually great: the massive silver AmTrak trains, the practical buses with their clever bike racks jutting from the front bumpers; the occasional light rail or tram system. But given the country’s endless sprawl and the disappointing level of demand for public transport, it can be a challenge to get from A to B. On Sunday I landed in San Francisco at 1.30pm, and five hours and two buses later (the train not working at weekends) I was picked up in San Jose and finally reached Emerging Man. The population stood at Danny, Quinn, Gilbert, Ada and Gavin, with Ben arriving in the Jones-mobile later.
Yesterday, Gavin and I set off from EM back to San Francisco, taking three hours, two buses, one train and a long walk to get to Burger Joint. But it was worth the trek to meet up with Matt, Tom, James and Charlie. It was quite a relief to be in the familiar cityspace of SF rather than the sanitised anonymous sprawl of San Jose, and we spent the afternoon wandering, browsing favourite shops and slowing down in the quietly magical Aids Memorial Grove.
Then, after raiding a donut store for any remotely healthy food, it was back to San Jose via a train and two buses. One of the buses, connecting Santa Clara train station with the bus that is replacing the light rail system, is the Santa Clara airport shuttle which wends its way slowly around the facility giving the visitor an excellent opportunity for viewing its many expansive car parks. But a great day, despite the travel, and we got back to find the population of Emerging Man had grown by two.