Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Camel Crossing

A few months ago Afshin and I accompanied some friends to the de Young Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco. I wanted to see the Vivienne Westwood exhibit (which was excellent, by the by), and we figured the boys could run around on their own while the ladies checked out the insane fashion. Afterward, we'd all have tea in the Hagiwara Japanese Tea Garden. I hadn't realized it until I was there, but I'd been to the tea garden before, as part of a tour I took while vacationing in San Francisco in 2001. I remembered this one bridge immediately—it's kinda hard to forget a bridge with such tiny, vertical little steps. Not steps, really. More like ridges. It's like climbing an inverted U–shaped ladder, as you can see from the picture below. But Afshin had never crossed the bridge before, so we got in line.
The bridge
While we're standing in line, we pass a plaque bearing some sort of description of the bridge. Afshin glances at it and then tells me, "You know, this bridge was built specifically for camels."

I looked at him, agape. "What?"

"Yeah, they're particularly suited to this type of bridge."

"But how...?"

He burst out laughing. "You seriously believed that this was built for camels?"

"Well, I saw you look at the plaque, and then you said it all authoritatively...but I was going to ask you how that was possible that camels could get a foothold on this. And why they'd have camels in Japan to begin with."

Camels are the new jackalopes.

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