Someone asked me the other day if I’d ever found a city I could settle down in? Well, after visiting San Francisco I’d have to say, maybe yes; but, with two qualifications.
First off San Francisco is gorgeous. Built round the bay it has views all over the place. A city needs views. Apart from Primrose Hill, and a few streets in Crystal Palace, London is woefully short on viewpoints. SF has them by the bucket load.
Met up with my mate Mark who’s settled out here and we drove around a bit checking out some of the sights. He took me up Twin Peaks, where you get the best overall views of the city, and we also went across the Golden Gate Bridge to see it at sunset from one of the best viewing spots you can get.
Yes indeed, SF looks good from a distance, but it also looks good close up.
Much of the architecture is gorgeous. To be fair plenty of it is quite run of the mill, but the good stuff is really good.
And the food! OMG, the food. SF is a vegan paradise. Not only does it have a couple chain vegan places to eat – the Loving Hut and Herbivore – with 3 outlets each throughout the city, but there are plenty other little spots you can go to get something tasty when you’re out and about (like Ananda Fuara and Patxi’s Pizza).
But, even better than that, if somewhere does a vegetarian option chances are it’ll be vegan as well. For some reason more people who go veggie in the US go all the way vegan as well, so most places do a vegan option rather than just a vegetarian one (how it should be, in my opinion). I was never lacking for something to eat, and that is never a bad thing.
Thankfully all the hills you have to go up and down helped keep me slim. SF has plenty of hills, lol. But you can’t complain. It’s part of the city’s charm. What it also has plenty of is touristy stuff to do. My girlfriend Lena flew out to meet me while I was there and we did it all; Alcatraz, Pier 39, cable cars, Alamo Square (the one in all the movies). We even went icepo hunting in the San Francsico Public Library, an excursion which I’ve already blogged about elsewhere, in case you’re interested.
But the sights aren’t the only thing to keep you fit. There’s yoga too of course. We went to check out the SF Sivananda Centre on the weekend, as we were both in need of some reinvigoration. It was, naturally, a lovely place to visit, staffed by nice friendly people. The class was great, in a room on the first floor (second floor if you’re American) of their house near Golden Gate Park which they’ve turned into a yoga centre. We both felt great afterwards, and would have loved to have gone back if we’d had the time.
But, with so much to see and do, heading back there wasn’t an option I’m afraid. What we did manage to do though is get down to the beach on the last sunny day (it rained quite a bit when I was there) and do some asanas on the beach. We even managed to get a few photos of some postures, just for the hell of it.
If you think mine look in any way impressive let me assure you, all the balancing ones were taken mere seconds before I collapsed. Unsurprisingly, balancing on an uneven, shifting surface like sand isn’t the easiest thing in the world (as Lena discovered).
So I think, as you can see, SF is a lovely place to visit, and to live even. But what about those qualifications I hear you ask?
Well, first up there’s the homeless situation. It is ridiculous! There are so many homeless people it beggars belief (and I lived in London for 15 years, so I’m used to seeing homeless people around). They are everywhere, on every street and every street corner pretty much. How it is allowed to persist I don’t know, but anyone who thinks Capitalism works needs to take a walk down Haight Street and then we can talk.
The other thing is the impending earthquake. The whole San Andreas Fault is due a major quake, in fact it’s been due for a number of years. They come every 140 years or so, and the last really big one to hit was in 1868, so the people of SF are living on borrowed time. Things are going to get pretty interesting around there some time soon, and while part of me would like to be there when it happens, most of me wouldn’t. Heck, who knows, it could still hit while I’m in LA.
I’m on my way down to spend a few days in LA before I fly out to Oz. I’ve done the one week meditation retreat in the cabin in the woods, and I’ll be blogging about that next. Right now I’m on the Amtrak heading south. Once I’m in my hotel and settled I can get on to that.
Ok, that’s it. Ciao for now.