Ok I promise this will be the last entry about my trip to San Francisco.
The last Saturday was pretty quiet. James and I took the bus down to the famous Haight and Ashbury neighbourhood, which is the root of hippie culture. We were not disappointed. It seemed just as wild and teeming with counter-culture as it must have been in the 1960’s. Although there were plenty of tourists, there was also a healthy population of hippies and potheads of all ages. I wish I had more photos of the place, but when I pulled out my little Canon to take a few snapshots, I discovered that the screen would only display bright white. Something had happened to it and it no longer worked.
We walked the length of the neighbourhood, checking out some of the wild stores that sold everything from fetish boots to hookah pipes. There were some pretty cool stores selling vintage clothing at exotic prices. I imagine that these vintage stores must have insiders working at the Salvation Army and Value Village snagging all the good stuff so it can be resold at prices like $38 for a well-worn 1970’s t-shirt.
Eventually we ended up in a lush park, filled with rolling hills, shady old trees, ponds, and hippies with guitars. There were lots of guys selling dope. We walked by at least four or five dudes offering “buds” and “skunk.” They weren’t hard to spot. They were the dudes wearing their backpacks under their jackets.
Further into the park, we found a hillside, where people were relaxing and listening to a drum circle. People were showing up with drums and saxophones and trumpets and just jamming in the park. Hippie chicks were dancing with streamers on the grass. There were little puffs of smoke going up all over the place. I took a couple of pictures with my camera to see if it was still working. I couldn’t see anything on the screen, so I couldn’t change any of the settings, but I figured I’d snap a couple anyway. It was a bit like using a film camera.
The guy on the bench closest to me put his hand on my arm when he saw me taking pictures, and said, “Hey man, you can’t be takin’ my picture.” He wanted some money or something. I played the role, and said, “Hey man, why are you layin’ down all these rules on me, man? It’s a beautiful day. I’m just tryin’ to make some art here.” He laughed and said, “Take all the pictures you want.” I told him my camera was broken and we laughed about that. Good times.
After the park, we headed back to Alex and Diamond’s place. Diamond was hard at work cooking something delicious. It was bÃºn bÃ² Huế, a Vietnamese soup noodle dish with beef shank stewed in lemongrass and chili. I didn’t take pictures of it, but she’s got a picture and description in her blog.
We relaxed for the rest of the evening. It was our last night there, and we had to get up early in the morning to catch our flight home.
The trip home was uneventful. James and I were on different flights, but caught up with each other in Toronto again. His mom gave us a ride back to their house in King City and fed us some delicious ravioli with homemade meat sauce before I hopped in my car and drove back to Hamilton.
San Francisco was a different kind of trip for me. After a number of solo photography trips, I’m used to traveling alone. There was some adjustment to make being surrounded by people all the time, but I was fortunate that the people surrounding me were great. It was a pretty social trip for me, and I have lots of warm memories of fun times to go with it. James is a good and steady friend, and I feel fortunate to have made some new friends in Diamond, Alex, Colleen, Shane and Dr. Kim. I hope to see them again some day. It would be cool to see the wonder dogs Bear and Petrone again too.
Anyway, that’s it. Now back to the present…