I came to San Francisco, CA for the first time 1 year and 7 months ago. I spent Christmas of 2011 here with my family and it was amazing! During that 7 days, I had to work in the mornings but had the rest of the day free so I could be a tourist. My family brought me to every single place (apart from Alcatraz). I saw everything I wanted to see, I ate a lot of good and different things and had a great time with them!
Since then, I was waiting for an opportunity to come back and so it happened! Well, let’s just say that it happened earlier than I thought! But anyway, here I am! This time I had to spend 2 full weeks in San Francisco and stay in town, in a hotel.
This time, the experience was completely different! I didn’t want to do any sightseeing. This time I chose to see San Francisco with my own eyes. Perceptions… I like this, a lot! In the first 2 days I was scared, I have to say. I’ve never seen so many homeless people like I’ve seen here (and should I remind you that I’m from Brazil?).
It was weird to see people pushing shopping trolleys on the street, caring their belongings and “beds”. I was horrified and sad to see this but after few days you get used to it and don’t even notice anymore. It’s very sad/mad/selfish when you realize that this is your attitude towards this situation…
But, more than seeing homeless people, what it really shocked me was the amount of people who talk to themselves, out load! You see this everywhere! It’s hard not to stare at them and wonder what lead to this “end”. I guess the first (and kinda of only) thought that comes to your head is “of course it’s related to drugs”, but I wonder if that is the only cause…
But as I said, after few days you are totally used to this! The same way that you get used to the fog! Oh my God, the San Francisco fog! It’s beautiful and annoying at the same time!!! My Irish friends, Ireland has a better summer than San Francisco… keep this in mind! San Francisco is not part of the sunny/warm California. I’ve heard this great saying: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”! I guess this is true!
Americans like coffee, or should I be more specific? Americans love Starbucks! On your way to work in the mornings, you see 8 out of 10 people holding a cup of coffee in their hands (probably 7 of this 8 people are having a Starbucks coffee)! Do you think I’m exaggerating? Try to get a coffee in Starbucks in the morning! The queues are long… and I’m talking about long my friend!
I experienced a (false) fire alarm evacuation at 12.30am, I’ve seen a lot of ads about fast food chains on TV, I’ve seen (and smelled) people smoking weed on the streets countless times, I’ve heard many good singers on the metro station, I’ve seen a lot of friendly people and I’ve heard a lot (and I mean a lot) of sirens! I believe firefighters are the busiest people in San Francisco!
I really had a great time here and I’d like to say thank you to this city! But may I also say that I am so ready to go back to my beloved Ireland?! I miss my life, my friends, my routine… Am I getting old or am I just a person who is happy with what I have?