Sunday, February 05, 2012

too rich to be poor

I have always loved San Francisco.  It may be the most beautiful city in the world.

But, like many beauties, San Francisco’s assets get a bit skewed.  Almost like a monarch who is never thwarted.

And I am not talking about the low-lying fruit -- the city’s politics.  Where good intentions result in unintended consequences. 

Street people are a perfect example.  San Francisco wanted to show its compassion by repealing trespassing laws -- and ended up with streets that look as if touring companies of Les Miserables are stranded in town.

But that is too easy.  What fascinates me about San Francisco is the contradiction you will see at every corner.

And nothing could be more symbolic than the statue that stands in the courtyard of the old ferry terminal building.

That is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi -- in the photograph at the top of this blog.  The very symbol of inner peace.  He is there because every liberal (and many conservative) Americans would like to believe their soul is one with his.

But Gandhi was also a proponent of self-sufficiency.  And there his statue stands in the midst of food crates and stalls overflowing with food that none of the buyers produced themselves.
And at prices that would make Bapu weep.  A pound of these beautiful greens cost more than a poor India family makes in a week.

But they are beautiful.  The city is beautiful.  We are beautiful.  And the day was beyond beautiful.  One of the nicest I have spent in San Francisco in years.

My friends, Nancy and Roy, drove me around town for an hour or two.  We then headed over to Sausalito to dine on clam chowder and mahi mahi tacos while watching the sun light up our bright Babylon by the sea. 

I often mention how nice it is to dine slowly in Mexico.  To get the rhythm of the culture.  And that is what we did today.  No rush.  Just eating in the sun and chatting about our lives and their part in this great world.

Driving back across the Golden Gate bridge, we decided to take a detour to the ocean beach on San Francisco’s western shore.  It has been a long time since I was there.  In fact, the last time I was there in the 1970s, I camped on that beach.

As some of you know, I like collecting photographs of signs.  Especially signs with odd communications.  This one falls into the blunt message category.

If it had been posted in Mexico, it would most likely have included a pictogram of a series of swimmers sinking immobile to their deep dooms.

But later this morning, we leave behind the particular beauty of this city and its contradictions to hunt for new signs in China.

See you on the other side.


Felipe Zapata said...

Lovely city. I was stationed not far away in the military in the early 1960s. Wanted to settle in San Francisco when I got released, but it never happened. I envy your visit, but likely not what it's doing to your wallet's contents.

Steve Cotton said...

 When it comes to budgets, one night's hotel stay is about my monthly rent in Melaque.  But beautiful it is.

John Calypso said...

Great town! Really like the Saint Francis Hotel - lovely - and expensive. But now you are off to China where I understand thing also are not cheap (except factory labor).

Steve Cotton said...

 This trip is one of the least expensive I have taken in my life.

Laurie Matherne said...

I was in SF only once. I loved the city. I want to return. Glad you enjoyed your day. 

Speedy said...

There is a Mexican restaurant in Sausalito that I quite enjoy.  If you are in the San Francisco area again, you may want to check Saylor's on Bridgeway.

Christine said...

ah! you were 'kind of ' in my territory..I live about an hour north of SF.  I wish I'd just happened to be in the City when you were there.  After reading your blog for years I would have loved to see you--even if I just happened to be eating crab at the next table...Christine

Steve Cotton said...


Steve Cotton said...

 I am back  for the night.  But no touring.  I fly to Portland in the morning.

Steve Cotton said...

 And here I am for one more night -- but just passing through.