Amblin' Alameda: The heart of the Bay Area

Amblin' Alameda: The heart of the Bay Area

Morton Chalfy

This season of the year, entertainments that skew toward the outdoors increasingly pop up on our radar screens. The weather invites us to enjoy the outdoors even if it's only in passing from one place to another. We have been taking advantage of the fine weather to gallivant around a bit, to San Pablo for a spot of traditional jazz, to the Embarcadero to lunch with a friend during a stopover of a cruise liner, to Orinda for a medical visit and to several spots in Berkeley and Oakland to dine.

What has struck me about all these trips is how near everything is to Alameda. One might almost be tempted to say that Alameda is right in the heart of the Bay Area. Since my sweetie chose to make Alameda her home, I consider it the center of the universe, though others, not so enamored, might disagree. Still, if everything important to us is within a 30-minute drive, how far off the center can it be?

The Warriors want to move to San Francisco from Oakland. That would affect fans who live in Oakland and fans who live in San Francisco, but fans who live in Alameda can safely shrug. One venue will be as close as the other, though lying in opposite directions. It took me a while to learn the roads from Alameda since crossing a body of water (the estuary) seems like a big deal, what with the bridges and tunnels clearly marking the passage from the Island city. But once I got used to the "80s" (80, 880, 980, 580), it all became clear. Alameda has the most central position in the Bay Area.

As it should since it is the most beautiful city, the calmest and nicest and most courteous city, and is inhabited by the nicest people, smartest children, handsomest men and most beautiful women in this part of the country. Okay, I can't substantiate that with photos, but just take a walk around town and you'll see the truth of my contention.

Perhaps it's the wind that is making me this crazily boosterish. Walking around this past week has been walking through a patchwork of sun and shade, wind and calm. In the sun with the wind blowing one is warmed and chilled simultaneously, one squints and holds the hair back out of one's eyes and feels the nip of winter on one's cheeks and nose but at the same time is warm under a long sleeve T-shirt.

The winds of March have blown many of our avian visitors northward with the warming earth, heading for the safety of their breeding grounds in the Arctic. Those same winds are busy sweeping dead leaves off the trees and out of the way of the new buds.

Here, in the center of the universe, spring is announcing itself with every budding bush and tree and celebrating its arrival with the roses that nod on every street and fill the air with sweet aromas for the strolling passers-by.