I’m reaching that weird point in my trip now where I’m almost home, but not quite, and I’ve spent almost every penny I own. It is also that point in my trip where I’m so poor that I sometimes reflect on things I purchased during my travels and just shake my head.
Did I really need that Obama chocolate bar? And why on earth did I also buy a Romney one?
Anywho, my rapidly depleting funds mean that I haven’t really been doing anything that costs more than five dollars (and yes, this does include food) and I have become indignant more than once at the price of climbing up to a viewing station or hiring a bicycle.
Last night I splurged quite a bit and went to a gig of a guy and support band I’ve seen a few times back in Australia and absolutely love, Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band. I wish I’d taken my camera because I was right up the front and he really puts on a show. The show was amazing and afterward Charles came down into the crowd and hugged a large proportion of the audience on his way to the signing table. The show definitely didn’t have the level of energy his Melbourne gig did, but neither did the audience so I’m not surprised and at one point someone yelled out ‘Charles’ while the support act was warming up the crowd – poor form. After the gig I made my way down to the signing table and gave Charles a massive hug. He said he’d be coming back down to Australia later this year and I said I’d be there. He threw his hands up in the air and said ‘if you’re there girl, I’ll scream when I see you, I’ll scream I swear!’ I went out the front and was about to hail a taxi because the area is known to be quite dodgy but noticed the street was quite lit up and there was a lot of people milling about only a block away. I started to walk a little and as I got closer to the large group I realised that it was a massive group of homeless people, possibly twenty or so.. knowing that, for some reason, I seem to have random stranger conversation appeal I quickly stepped off the curb and hailed a taxi.
Earlier in the day I took my laundry a few blocks up the hill to a laundromat I’d heard about to kill some time. There were a couple of guys in the laundromat and as I sat waiting for my laundry two started to have an argument. I wasn’t really listening but heard a few grabs of conversation and from this learnt that they both lived on the street and one guy was mad at the other because he hadn’t covered his belongings when it started to rain and everything was drenched. One of the guys became so mad that he left and then suddenly the other guy turned to me and started to tell me the story. The whole time I didn’t say anything and he just kept going, telling me about how the other guy was dating a chick that lived on the streets and how she had amassed four trolleys worth of junk that was ten feet high. He said that she now had so much stuff (some of which she had apparently stolen off him) that she could no longer leave her trolleys alone and spent all of her time down an alleyway guarding her stuff. It was an interesting glimpse into street life and the desire to own things, no matter how inconvenient it can become.
For the last few days I’ve been hanging out with some Australian girls and a Belgian girl at the hostel. We’ve explored the Mission and spent a day at Alcatraz. Alcatraz is a pretty depressing place and the audio tour (possibly the best audio tour I’ve ever listened to) talked about how some prisoner’s felt so overwhelmed by the fast pace of life outside of the walls upon their release. It gave a great overview of some of the attempted escapes and scuffles that broke out on the island, but also talked about the families that lived on the island and the kids that grew up there.
The Belgian girl, Natalie and the Australian girls, Laura, Lisa and Anne have been a lot of fun to hang out with. Natalie and I sat on the couch one night talking and laughing about some of the personalities that have made their way to this hostel. One girl told us that when she wants to wash her cat she holds it to her body and takes it into the shower with her, as she said ‘you want to hold on tight because you don’t want a cat to go crazy when you’re naked’…ditto.