Thursday, February 19, 2009

San Francisco - Day 4 - Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park

Saturday, 13th December 2008

Another day, another dollar. Well, not quite as I think you need to be working to make a dollar. You definitely don't need to work to spend a dollar though!

Today we left Barry to it with her studies and headed to the land of Haight-Ashbury, which is only a few streets away from where Barry lives.


Wow, those legs are huge!

Haight-Ashbury was very popular with Beatniks 'back in the day' as well as the hippy counter culture. I never quite understood what counter culture was all about - surely culture is culture, no matter if it is counter to the cultural norm of the day or not? I feel that culture evolves and changes, although I guess sudden events can cause change to occur much more rapidly than in the past. Anyhoo, we did a little shopping (Dad, that book on Freddie Mercury was from here), checked out a few op/thrift shops and took in the interesting sights of the street.

This included an art installation in a former shop front. It was like the aftermath of a drug fuelled frat party, littered with all the detritus from said party. Inhabitants in this monkey house included Bart Simpson, an alien, a karate kid, weird creatures and of course some monkeys (or perhaps ape is the correct nomenclature). Alas the photos don't really do it justice (due to the window reflection), but I'm sure you get the idea.

Frat Party #1

Frat Party #2

Following on from this installation, we saw a huge gaggle of Santas walking down the street.

Santas...some naughty, some nice

Hmmm, wonder what is the collective noun for Santas is?

Other things of interest - a huge number of Head Shops, people begging seemed to be more common, people rambling to themselves in the street, older hippies trying to educate the younger more 'punk' hippies, trendy modern hippies, a few wasted people (one guy throwing up) and another hippie reprimanding some young people for not helping the fellow brother who was puking...I guess it was all about the hippies. Maybe I am focussing on them too much - there were many other people out and about, so it wasn't like the streets were swarming with hipsters but there were more than you would normally see. I guess this goes to show the history of this area.

We made our way to Golden Gate park and there were circles of more hippies...I think there was a didgeridoo being played and certainly some drums. It was here it started to rain, so we managed to shelter under a tree for a bit and find a restroom (always good to know the local lingo - don't ask for toilet, ask for the sounds nicer too).

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate park is huge. It's roughly 3 miles long and half a mile wide and covers 1017 acres. On the map above (clickie to see better), we travelled from the red dot (left side) to the orange dot (right side), which took quite some time, perhaps 4-5 hours.

Me having a sit down

The park is full to the brim with interesting things to see and do: statues, the De Young Museum, the Academy of Sciences, botanical gardens, a couple of little lakes...and much more. To see the whole park is probably not possible in one day and to cover it thoroughly would take two or more days.

Statues - The Star Spangled Banner

From a time when men were men...

...and moustaches were king!

Statue from 1894

Not sure what it was presented for...

So much detail

This is only a small part of the whole statue

Mr Lion likes a scratch

Cool statue

Brings a whole new meaning to the term 'going horse riding'

How do I make fire again?

We had taken a packed lunch and stopped to eat in the botanical gardens. It was here that we were besieged by many squirrels all wanting a piece of the action. They were cute to watch but at times it really did look like they would launch themselves at you to get their meal ticket. It made me laugh how they clasp their hands together as if begging, which I guess they are. So human!

Please sir, can I have some food?

After lunch, we continued our ramble through the botanical gardens and then headed across Stow Lake (a cute wee lake surrounding Strawberry Hill).

Quaint bridge over Stow Lake

We came across a giant cross many stories high. Hopefully the photo with Sha below gives an idea of how tall it was.

The Cross

It was huge (either that or Sha has shrunk)

Continuing west, we reached a frisbee golf course, although most of the participants seemed to be drinking beer as well. It was fun to watch and great to see people out and about. I think San Fran is a lot more health/exercise focussed than LA and have been told they are more so the more north you head - wonder what they are like in Canada? A land of fitness freaks perhaps!

Frisbee golf

Nowhere in the rules do they mention the compulsory drinking!

Nearing the end of our park wander, we encountered a buffalo park with about a dozen buffalo inside. It was saddening to read how close to extinction they had come with the Americans killing a huge number of them to stop the Native Americans using them as a food source. Their numbers are on the increase now but it seems there is still a long way to go before they are fully recovered.

Buffalo park

They kinda looked animatronic but I'm sure they were real!

Black limo, pink house

I love the contrast of this photo

Just before we exited the park we came across a windmill (see, I told you Guus we'd seen one!) and then exited the park and headed to the bar above the visitors centre on Ocean Beach. Had a locally brewed IPA beer while we watched the sun slowly set. I think I'm really getting a taste for good IPA.

The Dutch Windmall

Windmill world information here

Ocean Beach

That's the Pacific Ocean that away

Looking back at the Windmall from Ocean Beach

Golden Gate Park Rocks!

(sorry, couldn't help myself)

Visitors centre

More ground floor murals

After a beer, we took the Muni tram/train back to Barry's, where she had cooked us some super spaghetti bolognese. Very yummy indeed!

Thanks for the recipe Barry, we still haven't given it a go, but I am cooking again after a very long absence so will try it sometime soon. Might be hard to get it as good as yours though!

After dinner, we left Barry to continue work on her design project while Sha and I went and played a few games of pool in the basement. Sha won all three games we played. I should really practice more.

Here is our board of 'to do ness'

Sha loves to plan :-) The above board helped us to work out what we would do each day and while we didn't manage to do everything, we still had a damn good time.

Barry hard at work

Barry did quite well for this paper, so all the work was worth it!

The pool shark in action

That's all for now. Next time on The Foo Files: our penultimate day in San Fran (sniff) - we check out the Mission District where we oddly enough see a Mission.


Jamas Enright said...

The plural of Santa seems to be Santa. The collective noun seems to be "a spectacle of Santa".

Foo said...

Ah, thanks for that Jamas. It certainly was a spectacle! :-)

Ness and Dave said...

That aerial photo of the park was great to show the scale - all those little houses reminded me of
"little boxes, made of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same"!!!!!

Foo said...

Yep, that photo is quite impressive. When you are on the ground you can appreciate the differences, but from above they all look the same!

Anonymous said...

i can't believe you have a pool table in your basement barry - we're soooo jealous!! loving reading all your travels foosha! xox d&s

Anonymous said...

i can't believe you have a pool table in your basement barry - we're soooo jealous!! loving reading about all your travels foosha! xox d&s