I let myself get lost today and ended up here

So basically there is no “weird” part of San Francisco like there is in Auckland. It all is.

I walked out the hostel today and realised I had forgotten my map.

My friend Christine’s advice to me before I left NZ was to “enjoy getting lost” and handed me a compass.

So, with those words in my head, I didn’t go back for my map. Instead I headed off following my nose and anyone who seemed to look like they were off to an interesting place.

First, I found myself here.

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The How Weird Street Faire was Splore on steroids.

It’s a hippy festival of peace, love and trance music. There were May the 4th Star Wars folk, steampunk peeps and a girl dancing with a snake around her neck.

Most people were dressed in crazy fashion and the great thing was you could be wearing anything or doing anything and you would fit right in. Especially if you were a naked guy only wearing a glitter sock on your er… area.

I happened to have my hippy purple socks on (my feet) from Haight Ashbury so I was sorted.

As I left a good looking guy walking next to me asked what I thought of the festival and if I was getting his train. I was tempted to tell him I was so we could continue our conversation. Alas, I left him to board without me. Bye bye potential soul mate.

I carried on walking and ended up in Chinatown. You know how I said every neighbourhood is completely different? I feel like I’ve gone to five different countries over the past five days. I strolled into a Chinese furniture shop and the Indian owner noticed my back was sore. “Sit down, let me buy you a cappuccino” he said.
I politely refused. He told me some posture and back stretching advice so that was helpful. I thanked him and he asked what I was doing tonight. Sigh. I left.

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Next corner I was in a film set with trucks, cables and catering vans everywhere. No idea what they were filming but the film crew all looked shocked at the fight happening between bikers across the road. I guess even locals are surprised to see fights. I was pleased they weren’t all ignoring it, in a completely desensitised fashion like I was expecting.

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I carried on and ended up in little Italy. These restaurants look very good! In fact, this street reminds me the most of Auckland because there are clean and beautiful cafes along the strip.

I’m thinking I will like Europe…

Fingers crossed the food is as good as it’s depicted! I’ll let you know if I try it.

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With my feet getting sore I rounded the next corner and was at Washington Park, filled with young people chilling out, reading books, chatting and lying down to a relaxing accompaniment of reggae music. This is EXACTLY what I needed right now. I lay down, looked at the sky and I was back home on a summer’s afternoon.

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My friend had been right. Just go and get lost. Don’t plan a tourist itinerary with a bus. Go explore. I can’t believe what I discovered today. And as I sit on the grass in this park writing this on my phone I feel incredibly grateful to be doing all this.

A hostel tour guide asked me what has been a highlight so far and I was stumped. Everything I see and hear (and unfortunately even smell, some areas smell awful here) is so fascinating that it’s just all a highlight.

Good times.

For now it’s time to lie back down and people watch a bit longer.

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