Friday 3 September 2010

Haighting on San Francisco

I recently made a whirlwind trip to San Francisco, and caught up with some friends that have entered the smug cloud.  We had lunch in the Haight, near where they live, which was fun.

Haight-Ashbury used to be the grungy alternative part of San Francisco, and although it has retained some of that feel, it now has a more touristy flavour.  Still, there are heaps of bars, restaurants, and random wafts of pot smoke to be experienced.

I also spent a bit of time wandering around Golden Gate park.  It is an amazing place, and a real treasure for those living in San Francisco.  It is huge, bigger than Central Park in New York, and runs all the way from the Haight down to the Pacific Ocean.  Flowers were in bloom, and people were walking, playing frisbee golf, and playing volleyball in the sunshine.

The next day we headed up to Lands End, which was really pretty.  It reminded me a lot of the Monterey coastline - lots of pine trees and cliffs.

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The camera obscura at the cliff house was surprisingly good.  Light enters through the funny little pyramid on top, and is reflected and focused with a mirror and lens onto a concave table inside the structure.  The result is a live, moving, colour picture of what is going on outside.  It is actually a little creepy - we felt like sorcerers standing over a magic pool, or gods looking down on our minions.

For some reason, the Lands End conservationists thought it was a good idea to place little blue plastic flags everywhere that a seedling has been planted as part of their vegetation restoration effort.  What the?  Way to pollute the environment you are trying to save with a whole lot of plastic and rusty metal...

We walked around the Lands End trail to the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, which sounds like a war memorial, but is actually a beautiful French-style building containing an art gallery.  While we were there a bunch of people were dancing what looked like the tango in the courtyard.  I <3 San Francisco.

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