Walking north on Telegraph Avenue, past the Bath and Body Works on your right and the Gap on your left, you cross the street and find yourself confronted by a band of chanting Hare Krishnas. They smile and dance around you, and hand you a pamphlet as you go on your way.
As you walk a little further up, past the ASUC calendar, you realize that someone is serenading you. Badly. You turn, and see that underneath the familiar straw hat, it is none other than Rick Starr. He winks at you. You shudder, and keep walking.
You pass under the shade of the rows of trees that line the plaza, and cross in to the open space in front of Sproul Hall. There's a protest going on today, it would seem, just like every other day in Berkeley. A speaker screams from the top of Mario Savio Steps. You wonder what the topic is today: Affirmative Action? Saving endangered species? Sweatshop labor? Freedom to be nude in public? The crowd applauds; it's all the same to them anyway.
People line the pavement, talking, laughing, watching. It's like a composite portrait of the university; the diversity is overwhelming.
Pressing further north, you encounter the student group tables, staffed by alternately bored and zealous looking students. The Indus boys usually congregate near the fountain, the Young Republicans closer to Sather Gate, and the Christian Koreans somewhere in the middle. Sometimes you get lucky and the Army ROTC forces are out, shadowed by the silent figure in the fatigues and the gas mask. Sometimes he carries a sign, but more often he just stares ominously. They largely ignore each other, and so coexist in harmony.
The student bulletin boards on either side are plastered with flyers of all kinds. People looking for a roommate, cheap airfare, rallies, or Friday night entertainment would do well to look here, you think.
But not you. You have better things to do. You cross under Sather Gate, and leave the plaza behind you.