I was looking forward to seeing San Francisco, which is, by all accounts, the US equivalent of Cape Town. (I put it this way around because Cape Town has been around a bit longer than San Francisco.)
They have a bridge, we have a mountain. We both have beautiful natural areas within sight of our high-rise city centres, iconic prison islands, melting-pot gay-friendly cultures, cable cars (although of slightly different kinds), and nearby winelands.
Unfortunately, San Francisco also has more than its fair share of crazy people. Apparently it’s something to do with a lack of mental healthcare services and slightly more generous benefits for homeless people. On my second day in San Francisco, I was unfortunate enough to bump into one of them. Or rather, he bumped into me, shoving me hard with his shoulder.
I was just about to go into a pharmacy to buy medicine for The Cold From Hell and turned to find out why this man had whacked into me so agressively. I thought perhaps he was a very bad pickpocket. Instead he turned too and started yelling at me with terrifying rage: ‘Do you wanna fight me? Do you wanna fight me? Come on and FIGHT ME!’
I stood there frozen, utterly bewildered. If Andy hadn’t pushed me into the pharmacy, I’m not sure what the man would have done next.
The upshot of all this was that I didn’t get out and explore San Francisco very much. What with The Cold From Hell, warnings not to walk around on my own, especially with a camera, and Mr Do You Wanna Fight Me and his friends, I stayed put in the house unless taken somewhere in a vehicle by a friend.
This was a pity, because I got the impression there was some great street art in SF. But, since proper street art sighting relies on being able to wander around a city at will on foot, I only managed to snap a few murals (as they call them in San Francisco) in a place called Balmy Alley, as well as a couple of pieces I spotted between a car park and some shops. Maybe one day I’ll go back to SF with a bodyguard so I can do some proper exploring!