Tuesday, December 13, 2011

santa clara street, pt. 1

I'm strolling down the sidewalk of the main street that runs through my present life situation. That street is called Santa Clara. The Catholic saint's story can be read here. Interesting. But my attention is drawn to the street itself, not the name sake. More specifically, I am interested in the stretch that runs from the highway 101 overpass to the center of the city of San Jose, California.

How I came to be here is a story unto itself. Suffice it to say that a kindly gent had picked me up on the Embarcadero  ramp of the 101 in Palo Alto, and deposited me on the El Camino in Sunnyvale, with five dollars for the bus. And true to the map in the little rider's shelter, the 22 bus trundled to a stop and then bore me forth to my destiny. This crowded contraption was the first bendy bus I had ever seen, let alone had the privilege to be a passenger on. I had a freakish moment as it approached the city of San Jose and a woman that was the spitting image of my most recent ex wife boarded the thing. She even sported her specs upon her head in exactly the fashion of my ex. Talk about a heart stopping experience!. Thankfully the woman in question took a seat nearer the front and struck up a conversation with the driver. It was such an uncanny thing. Perhaps I should have taken it for an ill omen. But instead I silently marveled at the fact that there really are more than just the single copy of any of us at any given time on our strange blue world.

In good time the noisy carriage deposited me on the Alum Rock side of the 101 and I had the pleasure of wandering back across the overpass and back to the Santa Clara. If you ever happen to take this same stroll you will perhaps take notice of the strange temperature effect that happens here. The Alum Rock side is always colder in winter and hotter in summer. This effect stays in place all the way to the Coyote Creek bridge where one transitions into the downtown area. Interesting.

After a cursory examination of the ramp I decided to take a break for the remainder of the day and seek a place to camp, the day drawing down. Right upon the overpass is the magnificent Five Wounds Portuguese Catholic Church. A truly magnificent structure in its own right. After attending the local Catholic school back in my old hometown, I have an old fondness for the catholic churches. And this one does not disappoint. It has a style to it that is reminiscent of Spanish architecture, seen in its reddish roof tiles and white stucco finish, so very California-esque.  But there is a somewhat odd touch to it as well. Something that reminds one of the Orient. It is surrounded with magnificent palm trees and a large oak that I know from personal experience bears very sweet acorns that could easily be used in recipes. The Padre's rectory is surrounded by magnificent rose bushes bearing flowers of many hues and colors the whole year round.. Through some of those bushes approached the first person to greet me in San Jose.  A thin woman, Hispanic from appearances, but with cropped reddish hair, asking if I had a smoke. From her I learned that the Five Wounds is also notable for another important reason: they serve a lunch to any and all every single day of the year, holidays included. Bless them.

And so began my relationship to the Santa Clara.

To be continued......

Travel in peace.

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