This weekend was my first official weekend as a San Franciscan (last weekend, I felt more like a tourist on vacation) and the end of my first week on the west coast. I was pretty busy Monday-Friday working and getting over the 3-hour time difference, and Friday after work I did movie and dinner with my one and only friend in SF and I went home exhausted. But, Saturday morning I woke up with a sick feeling in my stomach — I was officially homesick. It was a beautiful weekend in San Francisco and I just didn’t have the heart to enjoy it as I should’ve. I’ve been told that it rarely gets warm in the summer here (the coldest month is apparently August!), so everyone was out and about at the beach and parks in the city. Saturday morning, I had plans with one of my roommates to go to AT&T park to watch an outdoor showing of a World Cup game and then head over to an outdoor gallery show in Buena Yerna, but I couldn’t get out of bed. My heart and head ached with loneliness.
After chowing down on Burger King for lunch (I live on the same block as a million awesome cheap restaurants, but I was craving some good-old fashioned grease), and finishing three episodes of Big Love, I decided I needed to get out of the house. I blew out my hair in preparations for a ‘roommate’s night out’ and walked out of the apartment to explore the neighborhood with plans to do some writing by Golden Gate Park at the end of my wandering.
I live in the Richmond District at the beginning of the infamous Clement Street, known as San Francisco’s other Chinatown. You can find everything that you would get in any major Chinatown in the world on Clement Street; roasted ducks, Chinese herbs, bubble tea, all sorts of Asian cuisine (Vietnamese, Thai, Cantonese, Japanese, etc.), fresh (and cheap) produce and anything else your heart desires at bargain prices. There are also cute little coffee shops, bars, pizzerias, Mediterranean restaurants, boutiques, discount stores and bookstores. Mostly all businesses here are local–no Starbucks for Clement street. I live in Inner Richmond, which is basically beginning of Richmond and I decided to walk the gamut of Clement Street and see what I find.
I found more restaurants to eat at, a boutique with adorable dresses, an independent art gallery, an open-air produce market, both of my banks, an international store where I could all my Desi (South Asian) spices and ingredients and a pretty little lake/park that’s a ten minute walk from my apartment.
On Sunday, I went to the Haight Street Festival with my roommate. I hadn’t been to Haight before but had heard crazy stories about it. The street fair was a ton of fun–hippies, bums and naked people everywhere! According to Wikipedia, “The Haight-Ashbury district is famous for its role as a center of the 1960s hippie movement, a post-runner and closely associated offshoot of the Beat generation or beat movement, members of which swarmed San Francisco’s “in” North Beach neighborhood two to eight years before the “Summer of Love” in 1967.” Haight Street is largely a tourist attraction these days, but you can find the hipsters and urban populations chillin’ here side by side. The cute little boutiques and historic restaurants such as Cha-Cha-Cha make it a popular spot on the weekends.