Day Twelve, San Francisco


I had organised my plans the night before, whereas, I usually figure it out in the morning, so I was able to leave quickly to go to the Deyoung museum. I struggled once again to use the bus in SanFran. There are some busstops that are only indentifiable by a bit of yellow paint on a pole or on the pavement. That only a few stops utilise this system doesn’t make a lot of sense to me but it clearly works for SF. Hence, it took me a little while to find my busstop but everything else transport since then has worked just great.

The Deyoung museum is in golden gate park which is actually bigger than central park in New York. The museum had some unusual architecture. It had a bronzed metal facade which made it look like one giant lawn ornament. Inside I was able to blag a student ticket though I’m sure the lady knew I wasn’t. I really appreciated only paying $15 entry including admission to the Oscar De La Renta exhibition.


I’ve been to a few fashion exhibitions and know what to expect. For instance, the Alexander McQueen retrospective at the V&A and China through the Looking Glass at the Met. I was simply looking forward to looking at his beautiful designs. What I hadn’t realised is that he was quite radical in getting a diverse range of models for his catwalk shows in the 1970s. It’s frustrating that even now in 2016 fashion models are predominately white.


The designs were of course stunning, one of the suits took over 70 hours to construct. It was understandable that the dresses famous celebrities wore over the last 5 years were included in a seperate exhibit. As these dresses are why his name is so well known in fashion. He dressed the fashion elite, and that elite were represented. Examples include a dress worn by Sarah Jessica Parker at the Met Ball, Jessica Chastain’s dress from the Baftas, Taylor Swift’s dress from a music awards show, and other beauties of a similar ilk.


The other exhibitions were interesting. I particularly enjoyed Bruce Davidson’s photography. They were black and white silver gelatin shots. The shots of the UK and Ireland had a wry sense of humour about them.


In the golden gate park there is a memorial grove for those that have died because of AIDs. It was very serene and people had wrote their sentiments on rocks throughtout the garden. It’s estimated that over half of the gay population of SF died of AIDs or AIDs complications during the 1980s. It is a horrifying statistic. The memorial grove was the first of it’s kind to be officially recognised in the USA and is a fitting tribute to those that have been lost to the disease.


To cheer myself up I went to Haight Ashbury and what was once the hippy centre of SF. The neighbourhood had a warm atmosphere and the shops were very cool. Well there were multiple marijana dispensaries across the streets so it’s no wonder it felt so mellow. I did have one woman ask if I wanted to buy some weed but I felt a bit dumbfounded by her asking. I could literally go in a shop two doors down and buy some if I wanted. Alas I did not. I wanted to do alot today and that would not help.


I then visited the Castro neighbourhood. Again it’s kinda been gentrified and there wasn’t a great deal to do there. It still had a good atmosphere though. There were many rainbow flags and I was happy to note a Transgender Flag. I visited the GLBT museum, I didn’t enquire why the G was first compared to the usual LGBT. It was small but it was good to learn more about SF’s history. I didn’t know about the Daughter’s of Bilitis untill visiting and how a group of lesbians were getting together and trying to make change from 1955! There was a section about AIDS and another about Harvey Milk. Both were very poignant and heartbreaking. I actually then went to where Milk lived, there’s a human rights store where his camera shop once lived. There was a lovely mural of Milk on the outside of the second floor building. Shown below.


As it was such a nice day I decided to venture up to twin peaks to take photos. It took half an hour from the castro via bus to get to the bottom of the crazy hills. Worn wooden steps had been put in on the hill to guide people up safely. It was a difficult climb up the narrow winding trail and as I got up there I didn’t realise there was yet another hill to climb! I sat on the top for a while to catch my breath and then attempted some selfies. It feels rather vain but I want to have pictures of myself having fun on my travels hence the selfies.


The view was great, the best view I’d seen yet in all of San Francisco. I didn’t realise I’d see it from a height so many times.

I was pretty tired after all of this and headed back to my hostels with some snacks for Yosemite the next day. I needed to get up at 5.15 am so I tried to get everything ready to make for a speedy getaway in the morning.


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