san francisco – mission district

day 4 – wednesday, october 17

I like all the neighborhoods there are scattered throughout the city, particularly the human element in it: communities are created by the people who inhabit them and the community reflects that. A tribute to the people of San Francisco for creating such diverse neighborhood communities. So, of the many, many neighborhoods in the city we could choose from, it’s off to the Mission District, where we’re meeting up with Taylor, one of Bridget’s friends from her college days.

And so we do. The thing I absolutely love the most about all these communities is the different ways people express themselves through art – it’s all over the place in this city, and so much of it is delightful, whimsical, full of color and movement – it just makes you feel good.

Let the art show begin!

After finding Taylor in a local coffee shop and picking up coffees to go, we were off to Dolores Park, the route taking us up Valencia Street for a couple of blocks, with all its funky shops, including this idyllic garden store.

At 18th we take a left, and about a block along, we come to the Woman’s Building – you just know this is the type of thing that would be listed in any local tour guide. The outside walls are full of gorgeous paintings in bright, bold colors; and on a good day – one when there isn’t scaffolding surrounding the building – there would have been so much of it to see. We got just an inkling of it all as we craned our necks around the poles and black crepe.

And on to Delores Park for a few hours, people watching …

That’s Mission High School across the street. They don’t make high schools like that where I come from!

Our record of not seeing a single mission remains intact. The Mission Trail begins with the San Diego mission at the southern tip of California, and it ends with the San Francisco mission. Dotted along the trail are outposts created by the Franciscan missionaries, come to cleanse the souls (and do a little recruiting for the army). I’ll have to make it my mission to go to a mission some other time, because we sure aren’t doing it today. We’re just chilling in the park.

While I look at the people gathered here in the park on this perfect autumn day, I realize that sitting here on a knoll on one of the hundreds of hills in San Francisco, looking around the park, this is how I imagined what peace, love and understanding looked like in 1967 – the kind with flowers in your hair: just this, people sitting around in a park, chilling peacefully on a sunny afternoon. My quintessential San Francisco picture from the 60s; no matter that it’s 2012.

at the Mission Playground

But we’ve got to get a move on. Our time in San Francisco is up, and it’s time to get on the road home. We find Dexy right where we left her, and we point her in the direction of the road out of town. There’s something quite wonderful about San Francisco and it left its charms on me. Like people say, “It’s the best city ever.” The only bad thing is that we were leaving.

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