Visitors from planet BO

Visitors from planet BO

Sunday, July 29th, 2018

Not long after I returned form Bologna (BO) I had the pleasure of having two good friends from there come to visit for about two weeks; the sisters Liu’ and Monica. I tell people that they are both my bosses there. Liu’ is responsible for the principle volunteer work that I do at the Biblioteca Salaborsa and I did a fair amount of volunteer translation of tourist pamphlets from Italian to English for Monica.  Actually most of them weren’t translations directly from the Italian but often corrections of translations done by non-native speakers. It is always best to have native speaker do the translations to the target language as I found when needing to make major changes to existing translations.

The threesome me, Monica and Liu’

Anyway Liu’ is the organizer and had an incredible list of activities for San Francisco. She had done a lot of research about the subway (BART here) and free guided tours in the city. From my house they could walk a 100 yards or so and take the bus to a BART station, freeing me to join them or not. I did join them a couple of times in the city and it was really a pleasure to the city as a tourist. It really does have some interesting neighborhoods. I met them for lunch in the Mission district one time and strolling from Bart to the restaurant I found the diversity of the neighborhood fascinating. We went to see the sea lions at one of the piers on the bay, took in a museum, went to some great view points and had a dim sum lunch – an experience unlikely to be available in Italy.

Gawking at the seals (sea lions?) in San Francisco

Atop the de Young museum

The magnificent view from Twin Peaks – always windy.

dim sum lunch


The activities included a session of “lindy” dancing (swing dancing) in Golden Gate park. Both sisters take lessons and dance in Bologna (who knew!?). So this is the 40s era dancing which is much more stylized than I had ever thought (like tango) and the other dancers in the park were all ages and ethnicities. Unfortunately I made a major mistake with photo handling so have no pictures of some of the adventures but…

Goofing around at the Marin Headlands

We also took a trip to Monterey  where they had other American friends that they had met in Bologna. Of course we went to the amazing Monterey Bay aquarium. These friends had a bocce ball court in their back yard and I, ahem, won the championship of this relatively small group.

Arriving in Monterey – three people in a FIAT 500 is amazingly comfortable.

The winning form of the bocce champ.

I remember just a couple of their observations. One was their being appalled, as I am, at some of the homeless in San Francisco, even people shooting up on the sidewalk. It really is something that I find truly shameful in the city but a hard problem to tackle.  The other was the willingness of Americans to start conversations with complete strangers. Still I think that they had a great time and I loved having them here.

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