Sunday, 19 July 2009

Flowers in my hair

San Francisco is considered a great place to be, rather than necessarily to do things. And so I'm doing my best to tune in to the vibe, man, and be one of the dudes. Which isn't really me, to be honest, but I'm trying.

A criticism the city gets is that it can seem self-satisfied, and I can see something in that, a typical example was all the whooping and hollering that went on at a bike film festival I went to. It seemed cliquey, and not especially welcoming if you weren't part of the clique, though lots of the short films were good. But it's much the most interesting city I've been to on these travels for just wandering around, there's such variety and character, though far too much facial hair, even on quite young guys. But even the oldest are keeping up with the times - photo was taken at a very well attended free concert by Sergent Garcia in a park to the west of the city - though most of the crowd were a bit livelier than these two.

There's far more begging than anywhere in Oz or NZ. I've no idea how SF's homeless percentages compare to elsewhere in the US, but I suspect they're quite high, as a lot of people who feel they don't fit in elsewhere (not just homosexuals, though inevitably that's quite central to the culture here) gravitate to SF, and just as inevitably, a lot of them don't fit in here any better than they would elsewhere.

Note: I subsequently read that SF is fairly relaxed about people sleeping on its streets - the local Big Issue started here too. Other cities tend to run the homeless out of town, or at least out of the town centres.

This is turning into a social critique, which will bore people faster than - er - well, even faster than the rest of the rubbish I write. So will get back to what I've done and what I'm doing. Fisherman's wharf yesterday, Asian Art Museum today, Alcatraz on Monday. And heading north a couple of days after that, though this may depend on the weather. It's perfect here, but inland California is having a heatwave, and I won't be walking far in Yosemite in temperatures of 90 degrees, so will give this a miss if it stays this way.

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