BehEnd..for now

The sad last full day in Seattle saw me running around like a squirrel on acid as I wanted to go to the EMP building (can’t call it a museum), buy some fun stuff they have for sale

EMP souvenirs

and then relocate to my one evening hotel close to the airport, while time would still allow a visit to the flight museum. Boeing factory would have rocked, but you need to book it in advance and I found that out too late. Next time.

Having managed to fill two pieces of luggage, I decided to spare my back and arms comfort and get a cab t the next hotel. It was some sort of ‘city car’ driven by an Ethiopian dude who spoke most of the time on the phone (handsfree). There goes my portion of African dialect for today and I arrive safely to this weird place that I’m so eager to leave at any minute. Well, I’ve seen worse, but I believe they have so few lights in the room for good reasons (for them). I unpack my camera, pick up sheepy and head to the flight museum. I have to take the light rail to the Tukwila station, a station with very cool art pieces exposed above stair and outside. From there a bus takes us to the museum.

It’s another neat place to visit as you can see full size aircrafts from the beginning of flight era to NASA stuff. You see engines, airplane pieces, how they are manufactured, read all sort of facts, listen to how the planes sound or how dialogues between soldiers would have been, you can go to a control tower and try all sort of phones and messages. In one of the rooms you can even step down in the cockpit of two jet planes, or you can go inside a NASA training module for astronauts. They have simulators where you get to fly yourself, or you get to sit down and experience an F18 Hornet flight and fight. A stomach messing thing, but way too cool. They had another simulator but they required two persons for it and nobody wanted to join me. Sheepy didn’t count 😦

Speaking of sheepy, I finally took the pic I wanted to take. Spacesheep!!! I also tried to ask around if they have anything from the Romanian Henri Coanda. They all looked at me with suspicion. Ah, one thing in particular about the museum is that except the kids at the ticket desk and some of the gift shop employees, most of them were probably way over 80. I was ‘ignored’ several times when I was trying to ask for something. Back to the museum, after getting close to all these aircrafts and witness the NASA moon stuff at real size and sometimes ‘in real life’, you can walk to the ‘parking lot’ where there’s several full size planes exposed. A Concorde (I just put it on my list of todo things), an Air Force one and some ‘less interesting’. You can go inside the Concorde and Air force one, which makes the trip even cooler.

Bus, train, a stop at Denny’s to pick up dinner and luckily I bought desert too else I would have starved, hotel, blogging, planning to sleep and wake up in time for my flight tomorrow. Please share my sadness caused by leaving Seattle and next time I’m here feel free to join. It’s a fantastic city that you shouldn’t miss! And it has free buses in central area!

Guess I should end with a big baaah and thanks to everyone reading my blaaahbering.
\o

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Almost over :(

With one day left in Seattle I actually start feeling sad for leaving this place. After the crazy walk today it made me enjoy this palce even more and decide I should come back with a more relaxed schedule to see all its wonders.

I started by the occidental park that was famous for its trees and poles ‘dressed’ in knitted clothes. The clothes were moved few blocks away though, to a park also surrounded by a huge queue of homeless people waiting for something to be given to them. And they were politely queued. But I also saw the cops busting a guy on the way. And releasing him on the spot. It almost felt directed for tourists. From there I went down towards the Waterfront with its countless piers and insane shops. Like one of these tshirt shops where I could have spent a fortune if my luggages hadn’t already been full of crap by now. I just finished packing before writing this blog entry and I am not sure where I’d fit ALL the stuff. And I bought an extra bag :/

Then I stopped for a salad(!) at Starbucks and a dodgy looking old man sat across the table then asked me something when I finished. I couldn’t hear him as he was mainly whispering but asuming he’s hungry, I gave him half of the banana. Later on I gave a half cup of soup to another dude. There were many of them with signs saying ‘Vietnam war veteran’ or ‘War victim’ or so. Bravos America, in case those signs are true. On the bright side of things, the city pass I bought included a 1 hour harbor boat cruise which I went on and heard various stories about each pier and buildings in the city, also about how the containers are loaded, good transported, about fishing in Alaska, about sealions from California who come all the way up here to feed on salmon and get fat so that they can swim back and impress the females. One of the hotels by the water offers or used to offer the possibility to fish from the balcony. Even the Beatles have a photo in one of the hotel rooms. They also have one of the biggest center for medical research, a warship used in the 2007 Transformers movie for an ending scene… I probably need to take the cruise 3 more times to remember all the guide said.

After we ‘landed’ I ended up in a pirate shop. Goddamnit, so cool crazy stuff in there. I only bought some seashells though and a ‘making bacon’ shot glass. They had a lot of bacon flavored stuff, from air freshner, chewing gum, soap, toothpaste, napkins. Bacon heaven. I hate bacon. I love pigs. So I enjoyed the funny drawings. You could also buy the Jack Sparrow hat or sword, or just get the hell out of there while your bag is still empty. In the shop I saw something about a chewing gum wall, a place on an alley next to the market on Pike’s street. Indeed, a wall full of chewing gum. Nice air ‘flavor’ in the area. I went up some random stairs and ended up in the paradise of Farmers market. Where people sell products without intermediaries. What a madness. The main attarction was a fish stand where 2-3 guys would go around, ask the customers what they wanted and once people picked their pray, the employees would throw it to the guys behind the counter. Sometimes they’d miss. But it was part of the show and it kept on for hours I guess. Then that place itself needs a week of exploring. All sort of foods, fruits, fishes, cheeses, but once you change the floor there’s 4 of them I think) you end up in the coolest mall i’ve been into. I spent a while in a shop that had the Darth Vader’s helmet exposed at the entrance and then it was full of comics and action figures and whatnots. Good thing I had a bag with a bowl of soup in my ‘free’ (non camera) hand so shopping was impossible. But I’ll be back.

Even if I had already seen aquatic life in San Francisco, the visit to Seattle Aquarium was included in the pass and the building was just across the street. SO hello again fishes, anemones, sea stars, but with better bonuses for me: huge squids, otters, Hawaiian vegetation and underwater life, full of beautiful colors and funny shapes, corals, sea horses, vampire sea stars, and…guess that’s it. Not a big place, but seeing the otters and seals swimming closeby was such a treat.

Got the little crap I bought today to back to the hotel then rented a bike to head towards Superior Pie, a pizza place recommended by the Rishloo’s drummer, also since he works there. But he wasn’t exaggerating when he presented the really good pizzas they make there. It was divine. I had the ‘penn cove clams, house pancetta, lemon thyme’ sort. The dough was quite tiny and crispy, perfectly well grown on the edges and the size of one pizza was actually a very normal size for one person. And the taste…oh gods, that was divine. I really changed my idea of pizza after that and I highly recommend anyone who has the chance to visit a restaurant called Superior Pie to try it. At least once.

All packed, tomorrow I change hotels to be closer to the airport and Tuesday morning it time to fly baaaaaaack to Norway. Ah, one more thing I did today was to stop at some cosmetics shop for some personal time and asked the girl ‘How long do you have open?’ She answered ‘for two years’.

Happy Tourist in Seattle

After the previous great evening, I need a serious amount of sleep to get myself back to reality. A pleasant reality afterall, since I’m on holiday and actually I don’t really have to wake up at ANY hour. Mweehee. So this Saturday saw me leaving the hotel sometime around noon and heading towards the Space Needle area. It was sort of raining outside (they have quite a special type of rain here, it seems wet but without actually being liquid. Probably some sort of drizzle that I don’t know the word for). At the Needle I bought myself a pass and I stepped on the first elevator taking you at the top deck with 10 a speed of mph. There you have a 360 panorama over the city with a lots of clouds as bonus as that time. And wind to dry my hair. After a complete circle on the deck I took the elevator down and spent a while in their souvenir shop which is one of the greatest and biggest I’ve seen.

Around the corner there’s the EMP, aka Experience Music Project, a ‘museum’ telling a lot of stories about local artists and legends such as Nirvana or Pearl Jam, has a decent collection of items that belonged to the artists, but most important it offers a veritable music experience. I’ve seen a stage with a band performing and I guess any band could get to play there for a little while. Then you have the experience room with every kind of rock instruments that you can try: guitars, bass, keyboards, drums. You get lessons from the computer, you can record what you play and then you can go in the mixing studio. They actually had some prices for recording a CD. It was amazing and it probably encourages a lot of kids to try their musical skills. The center of the museum is a huge pile of guitars and other instruments, fascinating to look at. Oh, and when you enter the needle a dude takes a photo of you and then you get it mailed with any background you choose. Cheesy, but here it is http://photos.spaceneedle.com/Current/2011/10/22/550498-1505874-432-H.jpg

The EMP is also combined with the Science Fiction museum where you get to see spacesheeps and costumes from Battlestar galactica as well as a lot of rooms dedicated to Avatar movie. You see actual drawings, masks, and very important how the motion was simulated on computer based on all those objects. You get to try to fly Jake on his dragon, you can play in a 30 seconds avatar movie, which I actually did and you can see the result here. All the walls around were decorated in the Avatar spirit so that was quite an adventure.

I rushed out to visit the Pacific Science center. Oh man, I so have to get back to this one. And to the previous mentioned ones. One day for each of them. At least. In the Science center you get to experiment almost everything yourself. There’s the space section where you read about planets, see animations about space objects, see gravity at work. Then you have the insects area where you see all sort of weird crawlers, one of them was even out of its cage and held by a young lady and offered for petting. From there you enter the butetrflies world. You actually enter an area where hundreds of lovely colored butterflies just fly around you. No butter involved. They can even land on you or you see them having a snack on some plates with juicy fruits. Upon exiting this, you’re asked to check that none of the locals is trying to desert on your clothes. Then there’s the body experience section where you test and read about various parts of the body. Then there’s the game room where you can solve a huge rubix together with your friends or several other puzzles. There’s a musical room hosting the world’s biggest electric guitar and some other interesting sound making devices, such as bowls. Plus a huge table and chairs for the tired ones. I don’t know if I mentioned all rooms I’ve been into, but I know I was overwhelmed by the place. As if that hadn’t been enough, once outside you have these pools and bridges and a variety of water play objects, such as water cannons that you can shoot yourself, water wheel that you can run in like a mouse, water trampolines, water bike. I’d love to go back as I type these.

Went back to the hotel to drop the souvenirs, took a bus and went downtown to chase the Seattle architecture in that area. It is a very interesting mix of really tall buildings and somewhat normal buildings/blocks. I am by no means a fan of tall buildings, but they were not as bad as expected. I believe that being spread out as they were didn’t give a feeling of a cage and of a ‘lack of sky’. I started by the Columbia Center building, Seattle’s tallest building with 76 floors. And then followed this path:

  • arctic building, a construction decorated with walrus heads.
  • 1001 4th Ave Plaza
  • Central Library
  • W Seattle/Seattle Tower
  • Crowne Plaza Seattle
  • Washington Mutual Tower
  • Rainier Square weird building that seems strangled at the bottom
  • Seattle Art museum
  • City Center with an interesting Arcade over the street in that area
  • Westin Seattle
  • I’m yet to identify all these in the photos I took, but if your time allows, there’s always google.
    In front of Westlake center I see people gathering for the Occupy Wall Street action. They even had a sign for my sheepy and I even convinced a policeman to take a pic with sheepy on his horse. Behehehe. I also got stopped by a guy who wouldn’t start talking and he’s working for a children support organisation. Guess he knew his marketing skills well as he even guessed my job type and so I signed up to support children in need and I was told I’d get photos and updates from the kid(s) I give money to. And all his colleagues who were ‘working’ on different sidewalks came to me, high fived me or something like that, took pics with the sheepy and applauded as I walked away. That was also a special feeling.

    For the perfect day to end in a perfect manner, all I needed was perfect food. My haircutter has recommended me this Japanese restaurant that doesn’t only serve sushi: Shiro’s. I didn’t like sushi too much and since I was too skeptical to try raw meat while on holiday I went for some soup, a Geoduck Butter and some real crab roll. I had them as take away since they had no free tables, but while waiting it was cool to watch the Japanese chefs preparing sushi in front of those who would come to consume them. I think everyone in the restaurants’ staff were Japanese. I got to my hotel and started eating and I so changed my mind about sushi now. That Crab roll was one of the best things I ever tasted. In competition with the Geoduck. Yummm. I also found a cupcake shop on the way back so I indulged myself with a strawberry cupcake for desert. Guess I’ll call this an early evening and try to slowly switch back to European time.

    \o for now

    SF pics

    How much can you love Seattle?

    I landed on the ground of the North West coast city early enough to still be somewhat half asleep and feel like a little robot on the way to my hotel. Way on which I passed the third avenue, another location full of homeless people, but who seemed less shocking and scary than San Francisco. The reception people at the hotel played a great role in making a very good first impression on the city. Helpful in any possible way, even if it’s their job, and very friendly. I am really happy with my room and the fact that it’s located ‘inside’ the hotel so I don’t face the main street and I am somewhat protected form the evening noises.

    The first day in Seattle was something of a recognition day. I went to a supermarket and bought some food, then found a hair saloon and went for a haircut and a hair dye, time during which I exchanged a lot of info on places to eat and visit in the town, then I got a nap then, with the help of Google maps, I took a bus towards Studio 7 club to see Chimaira’s concert. A nice little club in the middle of nowhere as it looked at that evening hour, with friendly guards who made fun of my Norwegian visa card and ID. The club only serves drinks of any kind upstairs, so if you’re under 21 you pretty much stay thirsty all evening. And they were quite permissive with the moshpits, which made the shows very intense. I saw two of the 3 opening bands, Impending Doom and Revocation, and they both happened to share the same drummer. It turned out that Impending Doom’s drummer broke his arm several days before the show, hence the Revocation drummer had to learn the songs in one day. That dude was very cool on drums, especially in his own band. Chimaira put out a fantastic concert I’d say. As the singer said, they loved to play in Seattle and you could feel that. It was a continuous great mood on stage, with great acting from the bassist and guitarists and nice vocal singing from the main vocalist and also keyboard player. The crowd got its treat doubled when at the end of the show everyone in the band came by the edge of the scene to shake their hands and greet them.

    I left the place charged with a lot of good energy and in the bus stop I ended up talking to a guy who performs in Noel Austin Phreakshow and he is eating glasses. He’d given me very valuable information about Seattle and where to go and we had a nice chat about the concert and other stuff. I so love the non ordinary people and how easy going they are.

    Second day here started pretty slowly as I found it hard to wake up. I showered, ate and took a bus towards Fremont, an area I was highly recommended by a Dutch friend of mine from Oslo. And I so apreciate the tip. It was such a lovely chilled area that hosts the center of a universe, a huge statue of Lenin rescued from an ex communist country, two apatosaurus, very cool statues, grafittis and an expo of a lot of junk, plus a very neat troll under a bridge, a troll that is crushing a car in his arm. After seeing all these I took a short walk to the Gas works park, located on the site of an old plant and about which you can read more here. While wandering around I had to ask many times for directions and I was surprised how people were always willing to help. Even if I stopped them from their jogging time or bike riding or whatever they were doing.

    Back to Belltown and to Macy’s where I started looking for a nice pair of shoes or boots. unfortunately, most of the stuff here is not really made for snow as the sole is rather plain. Or if it had a useful sole, they were too ugly or they didn’t have my side. Being upset, I ended up in the clothes department where I kept on spending…and spent and spent. Bought a lot of cool winter clothes and I still haven’t found all the bills. Maybe I shouldn’t. But I’m happy I did it as I’ve never been on such a big shopping spree in a mall. I usually exit after a little while, but here I apparently caught a sales day with really good discounts, so it was hard to stop shopping 🙂 Oh, and I saw a dude wearing high heel lady like shoes. Congrats to him for being able to walk on those!

    Another nap and another shower and my most awaited moment of my Seattle trip arrives. The interview with Rishloo. It’s a band I’ve known for a year or so, but whom I really love and whose music I find very inspiring. I was very happy that they accepted to have a chat with me and very nervous before it actually happened. They told me to be at a place called Shorty’s at 6 PM. I went there around 5 to grab something to eat and I had the chance to glance at the countless pinball machineries and people’s fascination with the games. Then the guys from the band arrived and we had a chat for about 2 hours or maybe even more. It was a lot of information on the band but also a lot of jokes and fun in between. Awesome guys. I can’t put in words how great and quick those two hours passed. And since they were that nice they invited me over to their ‘mansion’ since they all live together. The evening went on with more fun chats about whatever, some interaction with the two house cats who seemed very well fed and in the end with their kindness to drive me back home. I can’t be happier right now. Nor more tired, but most of all happy. And I highly recommend anyone who reads my blog all the way to this point to go to youtube, last.fm, spotify or whatever service you use to check out new music and look for Rishloo. And then listen to them. Over and over again. And then read the interview that I’d probably publish on studiorock.ro or my other blog in a while from now.

    Goodnight from Seattle \o

    Rishloo, sheepy and I

    San Francisco – improved version

    After the bad taste left by my first day in the bay city, I thought I should avoid the center and try the areas around my friend’s place. I loaned his bike (actually Google’s bike) and rode up through a beautiful park/residences area towards Golden Gate Bridge. But before starting my ride I had an encounter with a man from Philippine who was waiting for his wife outside the entrance and asked me if I knew a Wong or Tong dentist. Then we had some philosophical dialogue about how all people on Earth are rather equal and nobody should consider themselves above others. It boosted me with good energy.

    About the bridge: it is an impressive construction, considering its age. It has huge pillars and the wires sustaining it are immense. As you have to go under it in order to get to the bikes’ lane, I can say it’s weird to hear all the ‘clicks’ and feel each vibration made by the cars passing above you. The landscape is quite beautiful on both sides of the bridge and hopefully I’ll get to upload some pics soon to prove it. The ride is very pleasant, short (depending on how many photo stop you take actually) and easy. But it feels special to do it. I don’t think there’s many places where you can cross such a famous monument by bike. Nor where you can bike from one island to another at that height.

    I took a bus back to the city and one thing I have to mention about SF buses (and probably other cities too). They have a rack in front of the bus where you can place your bike on if there’s no room for it inside. And the buses have such tight space between chairs that it’s probably easier to put it on the racks. I stepped of in the Golden Gate park and went to visit the Botanical Garden. First thing I saw was a squirrel that allowed me to get quite close with the camera and then it vanished. But after few steps i heard some noise behind me and one of them was following me and got rather close. So I took advantage of their courage and placed my sheep there, moved aside and waited. But it wasn’t brave enough to get too close to the sheep. Then I started following the garden’s alleys and kept noticing a bunch of squirrels. A German man told me that they had to be hunted actually since they were too many and did too much damage in the garden. Buh 😦 The garden was another pleasant walk. Nothing astonishing in beauty at this time of the year, but very interesting to walk among trees and plants from Australia, new Zealand, South Africa or some ‘Ancient’ plants as they called them. They even had a poisonous oak which you shouldn’t touch.

    A bit more wandering outside the garden, took a quick glimpse at the Japanese Tea Garden and then rode back home to take a nap and pack my bag. Alex’ flatmate was watching baseball so I took my introduction lesson in this sport which might even make it interesting to watch next time. The evening had a planned event at a pub downtown, only few blocks away from the area that was so scary the day before. It was at an Irish pub and it was called the beer olympics. I didn’t participate but it was fun to watch and it was really great to talk to local people and get to hear about better aspects of SF than the ones I saw. I even witnessed a bit of a girl on girl action and I heard stories about people going around naked in a park somewhere. With two slices of decent tasting pizza we headed back home for a 3 hours sleep until my shared ride to the airport would pick me up and the adventure to Seattle would start. Exciting \m/

    And if you’re going to San Francisco make sure you’re not easily scared

    After taking advantage of 3 seats all for myself in the plane from Pheonix and sleeping on them like on a bed, I finally make my first steps on Californian land. My Romanian friend, Alex, whom I met in Norway for a two day trip to Rjukan and then never saw him again, came to pick me up and give me the keys to his apartment, plus instructions. He dropped me at a BART (train or maybe subway) station where I was waiting for the ‘yellow line’ as that’s what I got from the web instructions. Luckily a woman told me that the yellow line only comes to that station up to 8 AM or so, and I could take the red line and then switch at the next station. After I went off the train I realised I didn’t have to switch since they’d both go to the station I needed. Oh well. Half an hour wasted, but once at Daly I take the bus 28. A woman sat next to me and asked what day it was. Then kept talking by herself. After several stations I realised I was almost the only caucasian looking person in the bus. There was also an old dude without teeth and with a long beard. And a black guy. All the others were Asians. So were many of the signs on the shops’ windows.

    No problem with that in the end, I was just not aware of the level and types of immigrants in SF so it came as a surprise. But the ride was enjoyable, especially after I figured out that you have to pull a string that goes from one window to another, in order to inform the driver that you want the bus to stop. I was also happy that I finally got a map working on my Android and I could follow where I was. Once at Alex’ place I dropped my bags, packed my ‘day trip’ backpack, met a flatmate and took off towards the touristical part of the city.

    Upon crossing a big boulevard I had an encounter a shopping cart full of ‘crap’ and a big doggie tied to it. I didn’t know back then it was the ‘intro’ to my SF impression. I took bus 31 downtown and I must have stepped off few stations before what the instructions said. From that point I had to walk down a block or two towards Market Street. But after I raised my eyes up from the map I instantly had a desire to become invisible. Those streets were full of homeless people and when they would come from around the corner it gave me a ‘Thriller’ (Michael Jackson version) feeling. Hoodies pulled over their face, the smell of hash if not of other stuff, rags, lost eyes, bad hair days, crawling more than walking…. Many were queuing for something and the queue was rather long. Probably some sort of social help. Being the middle of the day I didn’t feel scared as in insecure, but more scared that this was the middle of such a big American city and it was packed with homeless and jobless people. Probably many of them on drugs, hard to tell, but it made me cringe several times. I was close by the venue where Opeth concert would take place and a guy with a Jamaican look came to me and started to ask me about the concert and what kind of metal that was, if it was like Iron Maiden or (forgot what other band he named). I enjoyed the dialogue but I admit I kept thinking he might want to sell me something so I slowly moved away from him.

    I ended up at the cable car station where I could see how the trams were turned around by being placed on a round surface which is almost manually turned. I also witnessed a verbal fight between some street ‘performers’ as one of them wasn’t happy that the other one played his guitar earlier than the regular schedule. I guess things have their orders in every world. The ride with the cable car is fun, especially when you stand on the stairs and have to watch your feet or to avoid the mirrors of the parked cars or buses. And the car ‘driver’ is almost playing songs with the horn/whistle. The car drops you off next to Fisherman’s Wharf where you’re welcomed by the sweet smell of underwater inhabitants that have been placed in containers above water. The restaurants there had a display of several creatures, some of them in boxes, some of them on two feet preparing food, each with their own smile and smell and attempts to invite you in. As snobbish as I might sound, my stomach could not handle the smell (which honestly, is not at all as bad as I encountered in other places, it was just inappropriate for me at that time). I quickly bought a crab cake and then I ran inside the bakery building admiring the animal shaped breads and buying myself a mini turtle.

    I left the wharf to go towards Pier 39, to admire the sea lions and visit the Aquarium of the Bay. Sea lions are funny. You also get to see Alcatraz from this area, but it was so foggy it made no difference if it was Alcatraz or White house. Aquarium is way cool as you go underwater and walk through these glass tunnels as fishes (including few types of sharks) swim around you. I also got to see the feeding time, both of the fishes and of starfishes and anemones and got to see different eating habits among them swimmers. I learned very interesting things about star fishes and about a creature called sea cucumber, whose eating habits are rather special. Aka starfish poop. Another magnificent thing at the Aquarium is that you get to ‘pet’ some of those bat rays, a leopard shark, star fishes and anemones. Also get to touch some octopus imitating material. Or buy shark teeth. On the docks outside I had two seagulls chasing me and trying to explain me how the bread turtle I was eating should end up in their stomaches. I took a round around the dock’s shops but I didn’t feel like entering any of them, no matter how funny their names sounded. It was a bit too much kitsch in there. So I started moving back downtown and stopped at an Italian restaurant on the way. I was so looking forward for good pastas and I ordered a portion with Seafruits. The first mussel I tasted reminded me and my stomach of the banks of shells gathered on the shore and rottening there. With a probably green face I called the waiter and asked him to bring me some regular bolognese pasta. The cheese was so salty and all the food seemed so out of date that I pretended I was still sick and I left. Walking a variety of streets, some full once again of shops with Asian names, some being in impossible angles, but most of them with really pretty houses, I end up ‘downtown’ where the taller buildings and fancy shops start. I go downstairs at Macy’s and find this ‘green’ restaurant where you say what kind of vegetables you want in your salad and they mix it for you. I also picked the basic chicken they had there but it tasted so bad I had to take it away from my salad. I had to ask the girl what kind of chicken they use and she told me it’s not ‘mass production’ chicken, but the problem is they cook it in advance and then they keep it wrapped in plastic. And plastic was exactly the taste it had.

    Once outside Macy’s I sat down in Union square looking a group mediation and enjoying my tea. A dodgy looking guy comes to me, high fives me and sits down starting to tell me how he now has a job (moment when I started wondering if he had traded some of his teeth for that job) and how he actually didn’t sleep well in many days as he works a lot and how he doesn’t sleep on streets and doesn’t have to beg. Yet he was a dollar short of a bus ticket or so. I gave him two dollars. I tried making some dialogue to find out where he comes from but I am not fully acquainted with this ‘nigga’ style accent so I couldn’t follow. Hence I was relieved when he left, but worried that more like him would come up to ask for money. Noone else did, so I started walking towards the Warfield venue. On the way I see a dude drumming on various sized buckets covered in frying pans. Another dude plays the one man orchestra, with a bunch of instruments attached to its body and each limb movement would make a different noise. On these rhythms, the homeless people search each street thrash bin.

    As I had very good time before the concert started I thought to go and check where my bus would leave from after the show. Oh man, back to the ‘Thriller’ feeling, this time at night and on streets that seemed to get darker and darker and all these people standing there, talking ‘street’ language, making signs, looking like gangs. I’m not sure if I am right to feel scared. They’re poor people. They’re surviving on those streets. But then again I don’t know if I or my backpack would have made an interesting artefact in heir survival process. So I moved myself back to the venue and started talking to some guards, asking them for the bus stop. They said I shouldn’t go to that stop at night.

    I went in to pickup my photos pass. Unfortunately my name was not on any list. The production manager took my card and went backstage to check but came back and told me I’m not on anyone’s list either. Not finding my concert ticket (which was in a pocket I forgot about) I stopped a cab and returned home. I really felt too scared to stay until midnight in that area and I was already rather tired after a day that started at 3.30 AM .

    All in all, I didn’t like my first day here. While the buildings and the shore make SF a very pretty place, the amount of homeless people make it very very ugly. And scary, even if I might over react. The next day I was invited by my friend to some party, also downtown. Let’s see how that would maybe improve my thoughts on this city.