Stalking the Strandbeest

I’ve long been fascinated with strandbeests but never dreamed i’d ever see one since they’re not indigenous to these shores.  Here’s one in its native habitat.


And then i discovered to my great joy that a pack of them had been captured and moved to a new temporary home on Pier 15 in San Francisco, so last Tuesday i mounted an expedition to go there and photograph them.

All went well at first.  The drive was uneventful and unimpeded, and i lucked into a parking place just a short block from the pier.  I strolled in lovely weather to the entrance, and then the problems began when i discovered that my Exploratorium membership had expired and renewal rates had escalated to $89.  Not a prob, really, as it’s such a fine institution that it deserves my continual support.

Inside, i was pleased that the strandbeest pack was situated at the far end of the hall, so i got to stroll along admiring exhibits and, hey, kid at heart, couldn’t help playing with a few of ’em.

And then i spotted ahead of me an enormous strandbeest hanging from the rafters.  Oh dear, one has already died, but at least they’ve preserved and displayed its skeleton.  Actually, there’s so little meat on ’em that it’s hard to tell the difference between a dried one and one that’s still alive, and i eagerly pressed forward to frame my first photograph.

Only to discover that i’d forgot to charge the battery in my camera.

You ask why i didn’t just snap pics with my cell phone?  Well, see, i’m in this program with T-Mobile whereby i give ’em $10 every six months for my phone service, but i’d neglected to do so and my phone was dead, too.  Besides, it’s the cheapest phone i could buy and i never learned how to take a pic with it…or whether it will even do that.

Stifling my disconsolence, i wandered among the pack.  Well, at least i got to see them, and better yet, one was walking about and the rest were standing close enough that i could have touched them.  Amazing creatures.

They’ll be returned to the Netherlands on the 5th of September, but if you have time, i highly recommend a visit.  Here’s a link.

Got back to my car and found a parking ticket, but even at that, there was a consolation:  my crime was so exotic that it was not included in the computerized list of stuff like overtime parking and yellow zone, so the meter maid was at least forced to write an addendum describing it.  Not sure how she came up with the fee of $64, but i didn’t know there was any violation you could commit in San Francisco for so little.

Meanwhile, since i got no photos of strandbeests, here’s one of a Dutchman’s Pipe (not Theo Jansen’s) at JoAnn’s.

Dutchman's Pipe - Aristolochia durior

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  1. David Ogden
    Posted 29 August 2016 at 07:51 | Permalink

    Beautiful Aristolochia californica

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