Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My slant on San Francisco

"Stand there and let me take your picture so I can upload it to Facebook and let people know you're in San Francisco," the father said as he thrust his unwilling child in front of his smartphone.

I wonder how many followers this child has on Facebook.  Probably more than mine I'm guessing.

It's also alarming to think that no one in the world would know this child's whereabouts without his regular Facebook updates.

But this father and son scene is just one of vignettes unfolding at the bottom of Lombard Street, San Francisco's famous "crooked street".  

People are risking life and limb standing in the middle of the road to take a selfie with the windy street in the background, while a conga line of rental cars slowly snakes its way down the steep 200-metre stretch.

The ridiculousness of Lombard Street
While it has some nice views and pretty gardens, it's slightly bizarre to be standing there just looking at... a street.

Lombard Street joins the Golden Gate Bridge, the seals at Pier 39, Alcatraz and the host of other attractions San Francisco is renowned for.  But in my little trip to the Californian city, I've discovered a few other sights that caught my eye.

The Age of Enlightenment
There seems to be a high concentration of spruiking Christians around Union Square.  This guy came armed with a headset mic, views about the "evolution lie", and evidence that dinosaurs weren't real.  I didn't stay for the whole show, but I did catch one point he was making: dinosaurs weren't real because "the word dinosaurs was only coined in the 1800s".  Compelling.

The Arts
There really is nothing like the theatre to broaden... the mind.  Sadly, I didn't catch this show but I'm hoping it comes to Brisbane.

The Firies
These guys and their trucks are all over the city, but even more so when I was there thanks to a magnitude 6 earthquake.

Cable car craziness
I wonder if any locals actually use the cable cars that run up and over San Francisco's hills?  During the day they're clogged with tourists clutching a rail with one hand and a camera with the other.   At key stops, people wait in massive lines just for the chance to take a ride.  It's the amusement park ride you take without going to an amusement park.

Steep and deep
The San Francisco street map is deceptive.  A "short" walk a few blocks may mean having to scale a thigh-burning street or two.

A touch of Europe in California
The Palace of Fine Arts makes me temporarily forget I'm in America at all.

Global warming come early?
The folks at this houseboat community at Sausalito (the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge) clearly aren't climate change sceptics.  

Serenity now!
When the (ahem) friendly and sane San Franciscans get a little bit too much, the tall coastal redwoods of Muir Woods offer a touch of nature and a chance to escape.

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