San Francisco - 40 years on
Oct 5, 2017
|I can't believe we were here as backpackers 40 years ago! I recognise very little most certainly Fishermans Wharf and the old trams, many hills but not much else.
Apart from in the downtown CBD area, I'm surprised at how run down the suburbs are, so many homeless around in really dire circumstances (very dirty as there are no communal bathrooms for them, many mental cases probably from drug use, many druggies and drunks, and of course many homeless who are just down on their luck).
Having said that, I believe the government have set aside neighbourhoods particularly for the homeless with cheap housing etc to help the ones they can and we did see a mobile shower van set up outside a church. I believe San Francisco became a dumping ground for the homeless with other states providing their homeless folk with a one way ticket to SF to get rid of them. Hence the many homeless on the streets.
San Francisco is incredibly expensive, especially property, we are paying way too much for our AirB&B.
We had a good day yesterday, beautiful weather, sunny though we can feel the Autumn chill in the air.
We started off with a free walking tour of downtown SF which as usual was excellent, it gave us a great understanding of what the people and the city are about. These walks are so good as they don't take you to all the famous churches in the city and reel off a whole heap of forgettable dates and history. Our guide explained why the city looks as it does , the buildings, layout etc, the effect the earthquakes had on it and of course about the people, including the homeless.
We took a delightful old tram up the crookedest street in the world, up and down all the SF hills and down to Fishermans Wharf for a crab roll on the wharf at lunchtime. Fishermans Wharf was a bit of a disappointment, so run down and just masses of cheap shops, though the atmosphere actually on the old wharf was good. It reminds me of Blackpool in the UK.
We caught the tram back to Castro, the gay area of SF for another free walking tour in the area and learned how and why SF became the gay capital of the world. How the rainbow flag became the Gay flag and saw the famous original rainbow pedestrian crossing. It was really an interesting tour and we learned so much and saw some interesting places. I have never seen so many gay men in one place before (not even in Kings Cross during Mardi Gras).
There were many Nail Bars which were full of men having their pedicures and manicures, the clothing shops were all different with gay outfits as very few women around.
Nudity was banned recently so as you are now only allowed to wander around naked on certain days of the year (Margo, I shall let you know the exact dates in case we decide to come over for their nude day instead of our nude swim next year) so now some of the men wear just a colourful sock to hang out in, which is acceptable.
It was such an interesting and fun suburb, that we decided to go back to Castro in the evening and sat in one of the oldest and most famous gay bars watching the world go by, which was fascinating and we are always made to feel most welcome. Also had excellent dinner in one of the oldest little Italian restaurant in the area.
Today is a good day to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, so time to go.