1. Rui Chen
You will be walking with me, hearing what I have heared, from Bushy Dell Creek in Piedmont, Pinole Creek in Pinole, San Lorenzo Creek in Hayward, Clement Street and Lobos Creek in San Francisco, Bay Area, CA. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to Professor Joel Wanek from UC Berkeley Geography department with helping me finish the work below.
Bushy Dell Creek
The park has several trials that we could walk through, and also a creek flows through - which will flow into the lake Merritt. The park also have a small children playground, and I have seen people hanging out with their kids while having a picnic with the family. The creek expose to daylight in the park as we walked along with it, and the surrounding environment is beautiful (with trees) but also full of human make noice (car engines, tennis pat sound, and also the construction sound).
One thing that I notice is there is a lot of police car circling around the community - some argue it brings the safe to the Pediment community compare to the Oakland. But in the geographic analysis, also for some people, the police means criminalization and might bring fear to some. It is undeniable that the police is watching the community, but the surveillance could also means some lost of the freedom.
Our next stop after walked out of the community is the Lake Merritt. On that day, the people as well as the traffic is less than usual - we don’t see many people in the park but haven’t figured out why. However, we still saw some lovely people - a man playing with guitar who refuse us to record his audio, a couple who’s sitting on a bench, a family who is having an BBQ picnic, also a father and his daughter playing in the playground. Not only the people in Lake Merritt are lovely, but also animals: goose that poops everywhere, birds that resting in the three island resort, also squirrel that is running by. It is a great experience to get know deeper with the Lake Merritt through sounds: sound of the bird, kids, food, and water.
We were walking on a trail, which is near to a creek, but we cannot hear much creek sound. What I notice is on the Pinole creek, the water flow of the creek is sluggish and little. Also because there are not many rocks on the river, so it is hard to record any sound of water (if the water hit on the rock we could hear the sound more clearly). This trail is leading to a highway, as the car sound is gradually louder and louder. While I was walking, me and my friend also playing with the environment as we throwing pebbles to a manhole cover - to make a crisp sound.
“Walnut”, as Joel mentioned in the audio, we could know along the trail where are walnut trees. Which reflects the plant diversity along the creek. But Joel also said in the audio that “Why squirrel not eating them?”, my guess is that because it is close to highway, so squirrels might will not choose to live near by. The noise of highway could be a hazard to local species and cause them to migrate. At the meantime, it gives walnut a chance to grow without some animals to eat them.
As I was walking toward the end, I running into a broken fence. I shake the fence to make sound so in the audio people could know there is a fence. But after that, I jump across the fence and getting closer to the highway. The sound of cars is hurting my ear, but I also see a mass that was caused by human - so many plastic bottles are being throw on the ground, and no one even notice. Thus, I kick some bottles to make sound to notify this situation. By the end, I walked back with the group, as Joel’s talking voice is more clear.
San Lorenzo Creek
The shop owner of a Persian Bakery invited me to try some samples, which gives me a feeling that “I am welcomed”. I don’t have any cash with me, but his welcomeness made me decide to buy something so I could show my appreciation. When I decide to buy two Persian cookies which only cost two dollars, I see the minimum charge for the card is 10 dollars. The shop owner mentioned to me that the bank will have a 3% surcharge on them: this could tell how the monopoly - banks - is hurting the small business by charging them extra. As I have heard from other small shop owners as well, each transaction the bank will charge $0.15 minimum, and that is a large percent if I don’t buy much. However, if the shop owner does not allow people to pay a small amount with a card, for someone who like me doesn't bring any cash, the shop owner will surely lose me as a customer.
Everything changed when the shop owner told me “pay me next time” as I ordered two Persian cookies. I am deeply being moved by the trust the shop owner granted to me. This also could tell something about Hayward: it is a lovely community that trusts each other, people are able to trust each other with no promises. The shop owner thinks you are living nearby and will come often, this could tell that Hayward is a community that might not have a often demographic change and also has not many visitors.
Clement Street is a culturally diverse place - from the beginning of the street to the end of the street - I have heard different languages from English, Spanish, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Mandarin. I see an old lady trying really hard to open the plastic bag but still not getting it, so I use mandarin to ask “do you need any help?”. The old lady replied to me with a sentence of Cantonese that I do not understand at all. I don’t know if she understands what I was saying, but sure I do not understand hers. I see myself somewhat awkward here: a lot of people are immigrants whose family moved here a few generations before, and sure I could not assume everyone will speak the same language.
Inside of the shop, I could hear the sound of coins, the sound of the cashier opening and closing again and again, the artificial sound of typing something into the cashier, the sound of checking cash out from the cashier, the sound of dropping a basket, the sound of picking up a phone call, etc. This shop is a miniature of culture mixture: in an asian food shop, immigrants from asia are speaking their home language to communicate with each other, and living this way. It gives me a feeling that they live in a little circle which they are comfortable with: buy food and things from their country, and speaking the language from their country. A lot of outsiders, foreigners or other ethnicity groups, come in to buy things, but they could not really get into that little circle.
Lobos Creek is the creek that we been at after the Clement Street. With a sand route taking us from the busy neighborhood toward where the creek end - San Francisco China Beach, we had experienced a lot of different sound on the trip. When we are walking on the sand trail, we could hear the sound of shoes stepping on sand, the sound of wind blows through grass, and the bird sound that are not so pleasant to me. As we getting closer to the beach, we could hear the sound of car engine, and then we have meet a group of people having a party near the beach - we could hear their cheering and music. What a happy day for them! Then as we are getting closer to the sea, we could hear the sound of waves crashing on the beach, and the sound of seagull.