Day 4: San Francisco where the hippies live


Beautiful mural we spotted randomly walking down some street

One whole day spent in San Francisco. Where do we go?

Where the hippies live. Or used to live. Maybe even still live. Although now it is super commercialised and main stream. Not surprisingly what happens to ever counter-culture that gets co-opted.

M with a lovely purple dino on Haight-Ashbury

M and I make our way to Haight-Ashbury. Also known as The Haight, or Haight and Ashbury. For the longest time I had no idea what this was. But everybody talked about it as an area worth seeing. I also didn’t know why they would name it that, until I found out it’s the name of the cross streets! So The Haight is famous for hippie life especially during the late 50s to 60s. In particular, the summer of ’67 was the Summer of Love where hippies for all over North America (LA, Seattle, Chicago, Washington DC, and more), including Canada (Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto) and even Europe came to stage a hippie revolution. It was filled with people, drug (ab)use, free free love and psychedelic music. There was communal living and rebellion against the status quo, the culture and political system of the conforming 50s I suppose.

Whatever their revolution was about seems to have trickled down and left remnants on the buildings and streets of Haight-Ashbury today. The buildings are bright and multi-coloured with rich pinks, blues, purples, and generally any colour you’re highly unlikely to see on a respectable street you can find here.

They have the strangest shops, but in a cool way. There are a bunch of 2nd hand clothing stores. One store was huge and strangely enough organized by the year and style e.g. prom dresses 1980s. Sure enough, the dresses under that category were all dresses from the ’80s. There was a clothing store which looked like a costume store (there were a couple of these around actually) except on closer inspection, it was more of a hooker/stripper store with bright bright neon pants, assorted bikini things and the general go-to for any drag queen I’m sure. It was in other words, FANTASTIC. I’ve never seen these types of items in shops before. It was a refreshing experience to see these items proudly consolidated in one place. And at least I know where to go if I’m ever invited to a crazy ’80s disco party or a marilyn monroe party, etc.

M and I spent the rest of the day casually strolling down the streets in the residential areas. I can’t really call it the “hood”. Because it doesn’t feel like a neighbourhood. As in there is no real communal feeling in the area as if when I walk into an area, these people are friendly neighbours who identify with each other. I mean other than being a hippie. But that doesn’t really count since that’s most of SF.

Some interesting observations: crazy coloured apartment buildings. Love it!

A familiar paradox. A run-down, somewhat old looking building with a BMW car outside. I mean, fine, the car isn’t the newest model. But it’s still kind of funny for me to see certain places that are trying to look kinda of authentic, hippie and whatever  and then it has a nice European car outside. Isn’t that the exemplar of the hipster sell out?

And we noticed how expensive and rich everybody in SF is. It’s funny the city thrives on this idea of environmentalism and eco-friendly products, intense liberal politics and an open-mindedness to just about…anything. And yet it all comes at a price tag. It really reminds me of the episode of Southpark, “Smug Alert!“, about people in San Francisco who drive Toyota Priuses. Very funny and pretty accurate I reckon.

Quick stop at a crêpe shack (can't even really call it a café) for some quick lunch. There are so many places selling crêpes in SF. Wonder if it's the supposed European influence or people just like that.

This sign was kind of a hahahah…FAIL. There are also some pretty racy ads in SF you’d never see in comparatively conservative LA (and that’s saying something cos LA ain’t so conservative compared to the Midwest, the South and other places in the US).

By the way before you look, WARNING: may offend some people. And the rest of this post may also offend, so um well I already told you, so read at your own peril.

And finally a peaceful stroll in Golden Gate Park. This man is walking his cute dog. The rest of it is all just green and trees so I didn’t bother including more photos. One thing I wish I could’ve taken a photo of is the smell. It smells like some serious grass action is happening there all the time. People even blew plumes of smoke in my face as they walked past. M and I actually were used as bait to bust up some people who were dealing supposedly. Can you believe I got used by the San Francisco police as bait? Lol I find that hard to believe since I’m probably the last person you’d approach. But whatever, it gave us a cool story to tell anyway.

Golden Gate Park

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One thought on “Day 4: San Francisco where the hippies live

  1. I think I took a photo of those same three buildings! Some of those streets were very cool.

    I was also confused by the name. I’m not convinced that the San Franciscans pronounces Haight “correctly”* to be honest.

    *For values of correctly that equal BBC English. Yay English… !

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