North America | United States of America (USA) | California | San Francisco – Goodbye to the city
As if setting up for the cultural shock I’m anticipating for the next 3 months, I decided to take a goodbye tour SF. A homeless mans at in the rush hour traffic, holding a sign that says ‘This gentleman appreciates any gestures of kindness, even a smile’. I offered him a smile ans some change, but felt cheated a few minutes later when i saw another man with the same sign, and another one a few blocks down. The most orignial street sign still belongs to the two Berkeley girls I saw a couple months ago that said ‘Please help — out of work porn stars’.
Heading into the Mission, a wave of Hispanic culture came blazing at me. Although the shops and restaurants were mostly closed at 5pm, the streets were vibrant with colorful murals. Walking down Balmy St, between 24th and 25th, is like opening a scroll of Goya-isque paintings. Mother giving birth. Man driving a truck. The virgin Mary in four forms of modern women. All bright images shrouded in a subtle scent blooming roses. It truns out taht this is part of the precitas Eyes Mural Arts Project, aimed at beautifying the urban neighborhood.
Displays of sultry outfits hung at store windows and restaurants signs are completely written in Spanish, yet there is a Chinese restaurant on every block (one of them named ‘Punjab’). Mexican immigrants, hip young white girls in Gothic attires, and teenage boys hanging out on street corners with their scooters went on about their lives without paying heed to passersby. I know this is a scene I will miss.