The hilly streets of San Francisco, with houses built really close to each other, reminded me of las Victorias, a neighborhood of my little town in Guatemala. For a minute, going up in one of those streets I felt like in las Victorias, with other latinos speaking in spanish near me. Of course the differences between this city in that that neighborhood couldn't be bigger. For one thing, huge skyscrapers shape the city's skyline and las Victorias is more of a... bedroom community, and I could go on and on with the list of differences, but I that'd be just pointless.
Three things caught my attention as I was walking around. Four things actually. First: the public toilets. They do everything for you except... you know... 1 and/or 2. It cleans itself so there's no need to flush the toilet or even to move anything but your hands to get them cleaned and dry. So, clean and free automatic toilets, great idea!
The second thing: public transportation. Cable cars, BART (like subway), hybrid and electric buses driven by friendly people. Specific routes and schedules that are met with efficiency. Laws that protect senior and handicap citizens assigning them seats in the front of the buses. I have to admit though, that for a brief moment I missed those old crappy camionetas (chicken buses) and crowded red buses. Then I took a picture of the inside of the bus and and felt safe.
The third thing: San Francisco is afraid of fire. Hydrants of all sizes and colors in every corner and every building and fire alarms every couple of blocks. The whole city seems to be fire proof. The reason is very obvious. For those of you that, just like I did, do not know anything about the history of San Francisco, the was a major fire in 1906 after a deadly earthquake. The city was destroyed and the burned to ashes and just a few buildings were standing after that. If you don't believe me, google it.
Finally, the woman. No matter where are they from or the language they speak, they bring beauty of other kind to the city. Let me tell you a quick story to prove my point here. I assume that you have a lot of spare time since you are already reading this instead of, say work for example.
Picasso, Braque, Diego Rivera, Frida Calho, Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, Clay Spohn, Bruce Conner, Shaun O'donell... all the talent and fancy names overwhelmed me. Then this weird painting guided me to it. Paint all over it, without a pattern. Chaotic. This one girl was looking at it the same way I was. Our eyes where examining the surface of the painting, searching, maybe, for a motive, a reason. Looking for meaning. For a moment, we both took our eyes away from that painting ant look at each other. No words were needed. The effect of the beauty that we both kind of find on that Pollock was enough. I'm sure we both felt the same. It last a few seconds of smiling and feeling. The recognition of the beauty of our souls, I guess. Then the world kept moving. She spoke in french to her friend, a blond girl that was standing right next to her and that clearly wasn't enjoying the SFMOMA as we were both doing.
It was the last day I spent of the beautiful city of San Francisco. I have good memories and a lot of pictures to remember even more. Good days. Good people. Good city. OK weather.
Day eleven ends with the final counting of the amount of pictures. 335. Not too bad.