Being in San Francisco on the final weekend in May brought us a unique experience not many tourists would’ve had the opportunity to do. The Carnaval is a unique festival in San Francisco, comparable to their Pride festival, which is held along Mission Street. We walked along Market Street prior to joining onto Mission and saw the best and the worst of the city. A mixture of influential skyscrapers were overshadowed by copious drug abuse and poverty throughout, with a seemingly blind eye being cast on this situation. A topic for another day perhaps. The festival however was a combination of various Latin American & Caribbean cultures who perform with the sole purpose of healing and uniting people via music, dance and art. Don’t forget the hydraulic cars too! With over 40 years of parading, these guys know how to throw a party!
They hit the nail on the head though. There was such a diverse range of people of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds and everyone was seemingly there to have an amazing time. We went with our newly adopted San Franciscan friends who showed us some edgy street art, told us about must see’s and went dining with us at Puerto Alegre, a local Mexican restaurant with fantastic margarita’s! Alcohol really does bump the price.
We meandered around the Mission District before stumbling along Dolores Park, a “Leave No Trace” city park, which apparently means take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints. Deep… The close proximity of this park to some of the cities popular cites such as the Castro district and Mission Dolores Church make it a phenomenal spot to sit back and enjoy the view with a beer or a smoke! This linked us to our next stop perfectly….
Haight Street was the epicentre of the hippy culture and still could be perceived so with it’s 60’s shops and vintage outlets. The new era of hipster may well have taken over but that presents unique wining and dining, including fast food outlet Veganburg, which is the first plant-based burger outlet, founded in 2010. They take their stuff so seriously that they panicked in serving me due to my allergies. We appreciate their attention to detail, even if our stomachs didn’t! Wander down the street in the direction of the Golden Gate Park whilst stumbling into various coffee shops and dispensaries, as to partake with the locals on Hippy Hill 😉
Golden Gate Park is a humongous plain that spans throughout the West of the city. It covers over 1,000 acres of land and is perfectly rectangular, completely parallel with the concrete jungle to the East. Arriving after 3pm isn’t the wisest idea, as the majority of the attractions start to close. If only someone would’ve wrote a blog about it, ey?! We spent a bit too long taking in the sights and scents of hippy hill before arriving at the Japanese Tea Garden, Science & de Young museums a bit too late. Each have an entrance fee and each are only in the opening perimeter of the park, with plenty more to explore, including buffalo and bison on the west side.
Nothing cures tired legs then a slump on the bed and some local television, which happened to be a program called Watters world. Not one’s to normally comment on tv however how is this stuff televised?! Modern day propaganda, one which we thought was one of many pumped to our eyes by the government, yet we later found out that it’s one of very few programs that currently defends the president. Whatever your beliefs, surely having such strong, reckless, political promotion on either side is facilitating animosity between different backgrounds? A country more divided is easier to control & all of that…..
We remembered we were then on holiday and headed out for a booze and boogie, in the hope of finding a traditional “dive” bar. One, as they’re cheap and two, they’re a great way to meet locals. A ten minute walk from our hotel guided us to Tempest Bar, where they had American sports blaring and phenomenal drinks offers. If the mantra of “bigger & better” is a thing in America, it certainly applies and is a benefit to their shots. $5 for a beer and a GENEROUS shot of Jim Beam certainly got us on our way. We ended up meeting some extraordinary people, including Charlie, who lived his life by his saying “never below, never above, never beside.” This chap has been caught up in some of America’s hideous gun crime, losing friends to it & it was really amazing to hear this side of the story. Then there was a random guy from Louisiana who was pro guns and in San Fran to sell them. Not really my cup o’ tea that lad.
Another successful day in the States with the intention of rinsing the buffet breakfast and swimming pool in the morning!