Dear San Francisco,
You have an interesting shape: two bridges coming out. You are small in stature, and dense in population. Home to hipsters, researchers, and financiers. Not everyone is well off: there’s the sick woman at bloomingdale’s, who comes to work with a cough and sneeze, to pay bills, even though her sneezing up a storm frightens customers.
Your churches are empty, tech conferences full. The tech meetups are full of merry people, eating free pizza and drinking free beer. The homeless people stumble outside. Many of the tech people are newcomers who relocated for a better job, while the homeless are true locals. It is a visual disparity: the more privileged class doesn’t need to pay for food. The new seems to displace the old.
The people appreciate culture: on sunny weekends, crowds gather at outdoor comedy sketches. People even frequent art museums. Although the science museums are more crowded. You like local art, with local artists showcase at multiple times in the year, yet time and money to make art still comes from the main three industries: tech, finannce, and medical. For all the paints and sculptures, it is difficult to make a living as an artist.
United states, translated into Chinese, means ‘beautiful country’. It is a young country, like a teenager, and filled with expendable cash and optimism. The Teslas on the road confirm this. As for driving, since people are getting paid at the top dollar, diriving is rushed. Pedestrians are almost swiped, and some drivers turn without shoulder checks.
San francisco is a baby in a grown man’s clothing; there’s so much growth in tech, it is bursting at the seams. Yet other industries aren’t growing; there’s still a whiff of hippy vibe on A– street, even when the yuppies have edged out the hippies for housing. As for housing, the real estate is priciest in the country. Old houses are packed like canned sardines. Paint flicks off the walls, yet these properties still sell for millions.
There is contrast in the city: the glamorous vs. the sketcgy, the new glass skyscrapers vs. old victorian houses. The herd-common hipster in tight jeans, and the eccentric in leather and corsets. Big companies like Yahoo, and cohorts of startups a street away.
San fransisco is like Whole foods: the food is pricey, yet justifiable. The famrmer’s market can be pricey, but it is made local.
You are not as you seem. Thanks to big marketing and word of mouth in the tech community, it is perceived extremely well. Under the perceived veneer of tech prowess, it has remnants of a humble, diverse city in the bay. It remains a great example of the American melting pot. Love the music at the bars/saloons. Especially in north beach. The aged musicians play for young tech workers (3 places). The music is warm, and reaches the soul, further than alcohol can. While I was in san francisco, everyday when I woke up, I thought it must have been a dream At parent’s home in Vancouver, I think about you every day. I guess I am smitten.