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I turned into the little road near an historic Mediterranean-style building and parked at the curb.
|Old postcard showing the bridge circa 1935|
I locked the car and took my camera, and walked back to the foot of the steps leading to the bridge. Here the hillside has crumbled, and reddish dried mud from October rains crusted the steps. Overgrown oleander shrubs billow over the wall. Near the first landing, I suddenly smelled the sharp pong of urine, and realized that the sheltered landing had become a camp for a homeless man. "Hello," I said, and continued up the steps, trying to avoid treading on his blankets.
I crossed back to the other side on the bridge. At the top of the stairs, I said "excuse me" so not to surprise the homeless man, smoking his cigarette. I wished otherwise, but I had nothing to give him, since I'd left the car without knowing he was there. Even so, "Good night," he said to me as I passed and continued down, leaving him in the shelter of the oleanders, beneath the pink sky.