27.08.2010 - 27.08.2010 15 °C
Think of San Francisco; some people think Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, cable cars, homless people and others think Painted Ladies. Painted Ladies I hear you ask. No this isn't some Rio style carnival where San Francisco's finest parade up and down the hills covered in body paint. The Painted Ladies are a single row of painted terraced houses, that when sitting in Alamo Park, are backdropped by the city. Think Mrs Doubtfire and you're on the right lines.
One of my Aussie friends strongly recommend I explore The Haight (pronounced hate). The Haight is split into two areas, the Upper and Lower Haights. The Upper Haight is more forward looking that its lower sister, with more recent cafes and shops. The Lower Haight was the birthplace and then home of San Francisco's hippy movement. It appears that that era is so engrared in the area's history that its residents have no intention of doing anything other but pretend that 1970 never happened. There are plenty of thrift shops, used book shops, anarchist shops (I found a copy of The Anarchist's Cookbook in one of these shops, which is very much a prohibited publication in the UK possession of which would very likely result in you being charged with a terrorism offence) and locally owned coffee shops where the stench of cannabis hangs in the air. It was definitely a very intriguing place and I felt sorry for the people who lived there because they are clearly left hanging by their fingertips onto an era, under threat from all sides and which long past, but which they still call home.