San Francisco

A few days ago I spent the obligatory couple of days in San Francisco. I’ve visited before, and this time I wanted to explore some new areas, so you won’t see any pics of Golden Gate Bridge here I’m afraid!

The city smacked me between the eyeballs with blue, blue, blue sky, shiny tall buildings, loads of traffic at scary 4 or 5 lane BIG junctions and roadworks with cranes.

Then I explored the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I recognised some real treasures here, alongside plenty of stuff that was new to me…It was also a great place to notice the sheer variety of people who live in or visit this city.

Then I hopped on a bus up to Haight & Ashbury. It’s quite a long bus journey. The closer we got, the stronger the smell of weed became. A mix of old men looking like faded hippy rock stars, young children and their parents and young adults wearing psychedelic clothing and interesting body jewellery got on at various points. When I got off, the smell of weed actually increased.

Police loitered with intent near people with dogs selling stuff from rugs where they sat on the sidewalk of the weird and wonderful shop-lined streets. Emporia selling all kinds of weird stuff and shops selling vintage clothes of every era jostled for space with Jimi Hendricks’ house (now a vape store), pizza places, bars and music and record shops.

Up Ashbury and various other side roads there were some impressive looking houses, including Janis Joplin’s rather ornate pink house.

Actually on the junction of Haight & Ashbury I found the Ben & Jerry’s café, where they sold me a chunky monkey ice cream approximately the size of my head! Delicious 😋 After a bit of aimless wandering up and down I finally found the iconic lady’s legs apparently sticking out of a boutique upstairs.

This is the place where people agreed to let the kids hang out as much as they wanted, where nobody would be disallowed. And where the drugs and good times rolled, back in the day.

From here I walked the relatively brief journey through the “Pan handle” (a thin strip of parkland) to Golden Gate Park, munching a packet of cauliflower crisps I’d purchased from the Haight market (after goggling at the crazy prices for virtually everything).

How anyone can afford to live in San Francisco is a mystery. Actually there’s loads of homelessness in evidence throughout the city, and some areas downtown where poverty is pretty evident, though there are also some big projects trying to provide places for people to sleep off the street, I think it’s difficult for supply to keep up with demand.

Then I had a bit of a mad dash through the park to find a bus to take me all the way back to the Caltrain terminus for my train home which I missed! While I waited the hour for the next one I enjoyed some tacos in a Mexican place near the station. A real taste of San Francisco.

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