San Francisco, California
When I need to get away from the smog and stress of Los Angeles and don’t want to spend too much money on a flight, I head up the 5 towards the Bay Area, or fly from Burbank to SFO. One of my favorite things about arriving in the bay area is that first inhale of fresh bay area air the minute I open my window which is magnified the minute I step out of the airport or the car. I love that initial feeling when the crisp, cool air hits me and welcomes me to the bay. It greets me upon every arrival and I always return it with a smile.
For over 10 years, I have been a frequent visitor to the bay area. It is the second region in the US that I have visited the most outside of Los Angeles, with New York being the third. It started off with visits to Berkeley in college while a good friend of mine was attending school there . My time there has been a good balance between the east bay and “the city”. I’ve been to the bay area so many times but haven’t taken enough digital pictures to post. I will have to make it a point on my next future visits up there. I love the different regions of the bay area for it’s different characteristics from San Jose to Oakland, from Fremont to Daly City, to “the city” of San Francisco.
San Francisco to me, is a romantic city, that starts when the sun sets. Each neighborhood, like all major cities, has it’s own unique personality traits from: the Richmond district to the Tenderloin, the Mission district to Hayes Valley, Haight/Ashbury to the Marina, the Fillmore to the Sunset district, Chinatown to the Castro district, etc. all these neighborhoods define San Francisco’s diversity but they all share that San Francisco pride and love for their city. You could see it in their 49ers jerseys and their Giants baseball caps and jackets, to the way the youth rock their hoodies and kicks while riding on the Bart. San Francisco has it’s share of art from the De Young museum to the San Francisco MOMA and it’s share of beautiful sights from the famous Golden Gate Bridge to the Palace of Fine Arts. Just the mention of these places is merely touching the surface. All the good restaurants from their famous clam chowder and seafood from Pier 39 to Burmese food from Burma Superstar and let’s not forget San Francisco’s Chinatown district which is the largest outside of Asia.
San Francisco is very environmentally conscious and the bay area itself is probably the most progressive region in the nation with city composts, where you could drink tap water from the faucet and where the hippy legacy and the 60s has it’s roots in the Haight/Ashbury district. Young high school students are politically conscious about the social ills that plague their city, the nation and the world as this is expressed through their poetry and art. It’s easy to navigate through San Francisco with accessibility provided through public transportation via MUNI or the BART. In fact, it’s better to not have a car in most districts due to the expensive lot parking, street signs and meters. Most people travel the city on foot and unlike Los Angeles, I feel that this creates a stronger sense of community.
There’s so many great things to say about San Francisco and I will add to it in the next few days. In being a frequent visitor, I could appreciate Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” and Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” much more with a deeper appreciation and respect for a city I love to return to.