Craig and Ross in the USA, 2012

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September 15th 2012
Published: September 15th 2012
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Episode 5 : San Francisco then homeward bound


Hello to all our family and friends. We are safe and well and coming to the end of this trip.

We have spent the past four days in San Francisco. In SF we stayed in the Castro, where every self-respecting gay fellow should visit at least once in his life. Although its heyday at the epicenter of the 1960s and 70s sexual revolution has long since passed, it is still a hip and happening place, with lots of history (Harvey Milk, the centre of gay lib movement, etc.). Upon arriving, we walked about the neighborhood. Rainbow flags everywhere. Lots of guys walking hand in hand – no one batted an eyelid. Two girls pashing on a street corner – on one batted an eyelid. Someone with a beard and muscles crossing at the lights wearing a frilly pink dress – on one batted an eyelid. A drag queen pumping gas at a local petrol station – on one batted an eyelid. Queer is mainstream here. We went to a variety of pubs, eateries and the gay/lesbian history centre (very moving) and had a great time.

We did all the tourist things in San Francisco, such as riding the cable car (the historic street cars were also great), browsing Fisherman’s Wharf, and we hired bikes and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. Also visited Alamo Square, for that much-photographed view of the beautiful Victorian houses with the city skyline in the background. It was in this small park that Anna Madragil (Olympia Dukakis in the TV series) smoked pot and gave advice to Mouse and Mary Ann in Armistead Maupin’s wonderful “Tales of The City”.

We celebrated Ross’ “39th” birthday at a local French restaurant, just 5 minutes walk from where we stayed. We stayed in a gay run B and B, met lots of great people and had a great time. Although we did not visit a lot of cities on this trip, we both agreed that San Francisco was our favorite.

Well, that is the end of it all. We fly to LA tomorrow, to visit the Queen Mary ship before flying home to Melbourne.

Here is our USA Report Card:

Friendliness and helpfulness of the people: 10/10

The food : 7/10 (a poor score rescued by consistently excellent food that we had in San Francisco at the very end)

Coffee: 2/10 (according to Ross, as I don’t drink it)

The nature : 10/10

Overall experience: 10/10

No one is short of an opinion about the USA, although many who sprout negative comments about the country have either never actually been here, or have had their views shaped primarily by Hollywood. I think the thing to praise about America is its diversity and also its staggering creativity - in art, science and technology and popular culture. After all, you are reading this blog on a device honed by American ingenuity. The Lonely Planet sums it up best:

“Forget about all your preconceptions. Take a look at America the way it really truly is today; a land of limitless road trips, astonishing natural beauty, and diverse multiethnic cities from coast to coast.”

I started this blog with a line from a Sheryl Crow song. I’ll end it with a line from a Linda Ronstadt song:

“Anything you want, we got it right here in the USA.”

Craig and Ross


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