California #3

Whoa … what happened to the sunshine? Cold and windy all day so far … a glimmering of light through the clouds at about 4pm (which is now) and a slight elevation the temperature but this is not what one expects on the sunny Californian coast a day after the summer solstice. Brrrr.

Just one short comment today … after yesterday’s marathon and thoroughly enjoyable trek I had to work (well – it’s Monday) but took an hour at lunchtime to head for the “glitzy” shopping centre as it was not far away. Well, the big name stores were certainly all there and you could unload thousands on fashion etc but the streets are (cover your ears if you are a native) frankly scruffy and the dossers and damaged brains that litter the corners are way too many and way too visible for a healthy society. Talk about the contrast between the haves and the have nots, very striking and somewhat disconcerting …. SF sells itself to the world as the golden city but the reality is a little less splendid. I like the town, don’t get me wrong, and I will come back but our previous visits have concentrated on California outside the city and I think that’s what future ones will do too – because away from the city is wonderful.

I know we have sad folk like this in Montreal, but for the most part there are programmes and shelters that keep them out of harms way while my impression here is that they are on their own … and it’s not a pretty sight. I would have expected this in New York or Chicago or Pittsburgh but somehow, perhaps naively, thought SF would have found a means to ameliorate the problem.

I prefer the wild parrots.