First off, I’d like to register my approval of the architecture; there are some very nice Victorian and mission-style buildings, well, all over the place. The whole layout of the city with the rolling hills and all is pretty nice too.
I never thought I’d see such a liberal haven, either. Not long after we arrived yesterday, the taxi driver whose cab we took from the airport informed us that the gay pride parade was happening that day, as we drove through Haight-Asbury, where what must have been the entire Hindu pantheon gazed down on us from the shop windows amid a jubilee of pipes and tie-dye. Our hotel is conveniently located on the outskirts, roughly equidistant between the bong shop and the hospital where Dad is going for surgery.
Once we got there, Dad and I, tired but restless, immediately set out to sightsee before all the craziness and pre-ops (which were to account for the better part of today) went down. Mom and grandmother Freida declined and instead opted to nap in the hotel lobby until our rooms were ready. So Dad and I set off down Haight St., which is almost completely dead at this point (it’s about 9:30 am), marveling at the intricate displays on the shopfronts. Our destination is the Cartoon Art Museum, some five miles away, according to the car directions from our phones.
Roughly halfway, we’re met with crowds and barricades; it turns out this is the terminus for the fabled San Francisco Gay Parade, which is the largest parade. Ever. Okay, maybe not, but it’s huge. Really really huge. It went for miles along Market St., which meant that Dad and I get to see pretty much the entire thing at an accelerated pace as we make our way towards 3rd Street. There was the requisite heading of people in gay cop uniforms, rainbows etc. There was a Christian gays float, a Jewish gays float (perhaps not surprisingly, this was the largest one we saw; more of a train than a float) and a Muslim gays float (equally unsurprisingly, the smallest we saw). The spectators were almost more intriguing than the parade; a profusion of half-dressed, flamboyant queers in a display unlike any I’ve seen or even heard of, well, just about anywhere. We ended up eating lunch at a little storefront café with a middle aged lesbian couple, one of whom was a professional astrologer who told me with much conviction that my generation would clean up the big mess that’s apparently imminent by the time I’m old enough to tidy up afterward. I can hardly wait.
Not long afterward, we made it to the museum, which was pretty cool to begin with, though I’m sure I would have been more impressed had our visit not been preceded by a rather spectacular opening act, and by that time we were pretty jetlagged anyway. Good stuff, though. I’ll hope to have more up as events progress.