Our latest aventura was today's visit to the San Francisco Zoo, continuing our exploration of Bay Area public transportation. We took the newly re-routed AC Transit bus from near our house to the Fruitvale BART station, about a half hour's ride, then boarded the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train to the City. Once in San Francisco, we San Francisco Muni bus Our Muni car purchased coins for the Muni train which took us underground along the same route as BART through the center of the city. Then the Muni climbed into the sunshine and headed toward the ocean. At the end of our line we walked about two blocks to the entrance to the zoo.

It was a perfect day for a zoo visit: bright and sunny, gentle breeze, cool windbreaker temperature. We particularly like zoos in the spring because of the baby animals. Our favorites this day were the two sister grizzly bears, about four years old but still cub-like in their playfulness. We reached their enclosure in time to watch them feed: one pool, fenced off from their main habitat, had been stocked with two fish plus apples, celery, and carrots. At feeding time the bear cub One of the grizzly bear sisters bears galloped into the pool hunting fish (a heron appeared but was chased off -- the docent said he occasionally scores one of the fish).

We ambled along winding paths all nicely landscaped and blooming, and took our fill of hippos, lions, zebras, giraffes, penguins, otters and the bizarre anteater. We found the zoo a pleasant and friendly place.

Our return trip provided a bit more adventure. Transferring from Muni at the Powell Street station, we stopped for lunch at the food court, then went to the BART platform to wait for our train. We soon discovered that, because of a severed power line which had fallen on the track in San Leandro, the trains on our route were severely impacted. Our first notice was the appearance of the Macarthur train, a train we had not previously seen. Then we realized that, while the notice boards listed A sleeping lion A sleeping lion the usual next four trains, none of them were going our way! The public address announcement simply said, in effect, they were doing the best they could to fix things.

After waiting a few minutes, we decided to continue exploring public transportation and climbed on the next train which was going more or less in our direction. It got us across San Francisco Bay. We left at the first Oakland stop and found a bus which would take us to our Fruitvale BART station. Route 62 at first followed the path we had expected, but just as we thought we knew the route it veered off around the Oakland Museum into residential, hilly Oakland side streets, past Lamey College and the County Hospital before heading back to more familiar territory. Our fellow passengers included a beautiful young woman, a fellow BART refugee, on her way to a job interview; several elderly Chinese women with shopping bags, a few businessmen, and many high school and college students. Bus Route 62 Bus Route 62

We have been struck by the politeness consistently shown by passengers and drivers alike. Today, for example, a woman boarding the Muni bus found her two cartons of orange juice tumbling out of her paper shopping bag onto the ground. The young woman behind her and another fellow passenger scooped them up and carried them onto the bus, got her a seat and gave them back to her. The paper sack lay at her feet until another passenger picked it up, folded it and put it in a trash can.

And when the job-seeking woman left the bus, the driver made sure she found her way around the corner to the correct stop for her next stop, tapping her horn and gesturing to make sure no mistake was made. We could tell from the driver's comments that she was tickled to be helping passengers who had fled BART. Even in the world of public transportation, there are hierarchies!