Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Streets of San Francisco

My wife and I were in San Francisco this weekend on a mini-vacation and having done all the really touristy stuff a few years back, I decided we would go on a tour of some of the more famous neighborhoods of San Francisco, particularly two iconic streets that couldn’t be more different in tone or atmosphere despite being less than a mile from each other.

Claim To Fame
Summer of Love and the counter-culture, i.e. hippiesCenter of the San Francisco gay community
Flag FlownFreakRainbow
Typical StoreTibetian handcraftsMen’s leather fetish wear.
VibeSeedy and crowded. Anybody heading west towards Golden Gate Park was carrying a bottle or can in a brown paper bag. The sidewalks were crowded with a mix of neo-hippies, wide-eyed tourists, and homeless panhandlers. While vainly waiting for a bus, we crowded under an awning with a group of women that spoke only French.Quaint and friendly. While there wasn’t a lot of street traffic, the bars and restaurants were doing a healthy early dinner business. In addition to the HUGE rainbow flag flying over Harvey Milk Square, the two or three block business district was festooned with rainbow flags all up and down the street.
Authentic Cultural SightThree guys sitting under a telephone pole passing around a pipe at three in the afternoon.Plenty of guys holding hands. And more.
Uncomfortable Encounter with a Random StrangerWhile trying to hail a taxi, a obviously homeless guy starts telling me riddles to try to get me to give him some money.After taking a picture of the sign for The Sausage Factory, a guy runs after me and asks if I took his picture. I said “No, just a sign.” He says, “You better not have been.” And then he stormed off.
Final ImpressionsNot a place to spend a relaxing afternoon at. If you aren’t in the market for obscure records or hemp-based products, not a lot to do.Has a small-town community vibe. Just don’t go there shopping for women’s fashions.

Neither place was quite what I expected, but Haight was the far more disappointing venue. While I was fine with perusing the shops, my wife couldn't get out of there fast enough. Castro Street was much more subdued and a pleasant place to spend an afternoon. My wife was even ready to leave me there if I was so inclined. Not that there is anything wrong with that.


Dave2 said...

You were in San Francisco and didn't drop by Dave Francisco?? How terrible for you! :-)

If you were on Haight on Saturday, you might have walked right by us!

Mooselet said...

And did you pick up any new fashions during your trip on Castro St.? Maybe your wife was trying to tell you something.

And I've just given myself a mental image I'd rather not have had... :-)