Friday, June 05, 2015

The Bison Are On 30th

A friend suggested going to San Francisco for the weekend. So I went. Mostly so I could say "I went to San Francisco for the weekend."

I can recommend it. Mostly because, if you're ever worried you drink too much (and I am), fly to America for the weekend. The resulting jet lag guarantees that a glass of wine is really all you need.

San Fancisco is wonderful for so many reasons. For a start, you have to love a city that looked at the available models for a public transport system and went "ooh rollercoasters". Even buses require a strong head.

I should, at this point, tell you something about the wild gay scene. I walked through it one night trying to get home before I fell asleep. Some gays with fantastic arms and amazing chesticles staggered out of a bar. One tripped over a bike.
"Get her!" seethed one.
"You go girl!" cried another.
"I am Miss Thang," said the one who had fallen over. "Oh boy."
I believe that's sass or something.

The people of San Francisco were amazingly helpful and polite. Sort of like an interesting Canada, or a sincere LA. If we looked lost, someone would always offer us directions, or a lift. It is the kind of city where you can walk up to a total stranger and ask for directions to the bison in Golden Gate Park and be told "Oh, right, yeah, the bison are on 30th." Even the tramps are terribly polite. While we were filming one of them called out "Let me know if you'd like me to get out of shot, wont you?"

In amongst it all is a weird fading hippie chic. You can walk into a shop and buy Guac-Kale-Mole. You can also be sat next to a walking Robert Crumb cartoon on the bus. "My landlord wants me out. My lawyer, I got a lawyer, he says I'll get six months rent free. So I'll buy myself a winnebago with a shower. A real nice shower. Then I'll go see my friends in Mexico. They moved out of Haight last year. Over the border and back to pick up welfare once a month. They live like kings there, they live like kings. They have servants. I want servants. I'll drive my Winnebago to Tijuana." And so on. Possibly to the man opposite him. Possibly to himself.

The only rude people were at passport control. If getting into America is hard, leaving it is even harder. The border guard excelled at a unique form of aggression, seizing on incomplete tickets with a joyous "Uh-oh, we have a problem here!". As we left, she'd found a baby's ticket was missing her full name. In vain did the family try and explain the baby hadn't yet been christened."Uh-oh, we have a problem baby here..."

Here's a photograph of some shoes we found outside our house. Someone had built a bus-stop overnight and someone else had left some shoes at it. No-one could work out if it was art or rubbish. I took a picture and a woman leaned over. "You didn't take a picture, did you? What will they think of us in England? Do you want to take the shoes - in case anyone over there needs them..."

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