There have been a lot of good things that have kept me away from this blog. This has been a busy year, it seems like time slips by so quickly, even though I desperately try to live in the moment each day.
I recently came back from a trip to the Bay area in California. I spent most of my time in Berkeley and Oakland, and got a few hours in San Francisco. It was a amazing. I was there for 9 days and it was a trip that will remain with me for the rest of my life. It was life changing, mind altering (haha), and just a great way to experience the way people live there. It truly is a shift in culture. A very do-able shift, in my mind.
Immediately when I got of the plane (which was full of hiccups along the way--- delays, lost luggage) I noticed a much quieter state of being. People were not rushing around, not loud. I found everyone in the airport to actually BE friendly... maybe it was just me, elated to be there, or the extra cloud of happiness that was in the air (it was 4/20 when I landed). Either way, the sun must be what does it. Because it was in full force. I took the BART (subway/metro) all the way to Berkeley and witnessed all kinds of kindness-- from giving up chairs, random conversations between strangers, a reminder to someone who needed to tie their shoes. I was all set for this trip to be simply amazing (even without my luggage).
That night I got to my hotel later than I planned, but I decided to go pick up some toothpaste, a toothbrush, and maybe something to sleep in, instead of my airplane clothes. Just walking around was intense, however. It is a college town, and it was 4/20, and a Saturday. There was tons of people everywhere. Street musicians, teenagers, couples, older people, homeless people. Everyone pretty much doing their own thing in this seemingly perfect evening. I grabbed a quick dinner and decided to head back. This week was going to be full.
Sunday morning was a free day, pretty much. I made my way into San Fran in the Mission District to meet my friend Kristin. Kristin and I do the after school art/yoga program after school together. She as the one who told me about Off the Mat and this Empowered Youth Initiative. And I was so glad she was there. She had done this training in LA last year.
I walked around, it was Sunday so there were lots of sidewalk sales going on. So I bought some old maps from a friendly guy who thought it was funny to buy maps of DC when I was coming from DC. Either way I told him that I was going to elevate these maps into art, and he thought that was "dope". This area is an artist area for sure. It was originally built around the Catholic Mission of Delores, so the place is really influenced by Latino culture. The interesting thing is that you get off the subway and it seems like it's in a really torn up part of town, but you simply cross the street and around the corner on Mission Street there is a plethora of trendy shops, restaurants, yoga studios, bars etc... This street clearly has been gentrified. It was interesting to know that parallel to this street people were living in dire conditions. I was beginning to notice the darker side of the Bay area, and soon it would be showing up even more.
I took some pictures of the architecture and art, and then met up with Kristin for brunch. A VEGAN brunch! It was one of the best brunches I've ever had and I NEED to re-create it some day. That's the beauty of California, isn't it? The FOOD! So fresh, so diverse in flavors, organic, pretty, and above all Tasty. The place is called Herbivore! So if you go the Bay area, check it out.
After I finished brunch I decided to take in some site-seeing. I just decided to walk. I mean, I was kind of scared of all the hills..but, why not? Isn't it just like walking up a mountain? I had my camera in tow (unfortunately not my big lens), and started my big circle around around a huge part of San Francisco. AND I SAW A LOT!
I basically started on 16th street where there was a huge alley of Murals, and then walked up to the Dolores Mission and famous Castro Theater. Then-- made the great walk up and up and up into Dolores Heights, Cole Valley, Haight Ashbury (of course) and then back down the Pan Handle into lower Haight and back to the Bart station. My goal was to make it all the way up to the Golden Gate Park, but I fell a few blocks short. Oh well. Next time!! A lot of people asked me why didn't just take public transport, but I just wanted to walk, see the neighborhoods, say hi to people etc... I ended walking all the way down to where the painted ladies are (the opening credits of Full House). It was a great view, my sister really appreciated that picture since.
That evening I finally got to meet all the people I would be spending the rest of the week with in a park close to my hotel in Berkeley. And for not I will pause there, to share some pictures from the first day.
|Want to do this.|
|Brunch view. Just lovely.|