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30 September 2012

I visited the gay and lesbian suburb in San Francisco for the first time. I lived along Van Ness Avenue so using the 7 days Muni pass, I took the Bus 47 towards Market Street. I can also use the Bus 49 as well. These buses are very frequent thus I did not have to wait for long. At Market street, I took the Muni historic F- line Streetcar. These streetcars come in different colours, there are a few colours, brown, green, orange, white and they are really historic icon that are still being used today. The windows have grill and are operated using a window winder. It is just so cool to be able to enjoy this historic icon.

At the intersection of Market St/Van Ness Ave, I noticed quite a few drunks (even on the street cars or buses). I also notice 4 mentally challenged people at the intersection, trying to walk across the road when cars are trying to avoid them. One of them ran across the road in between moving cars. Luckily he is not hurt as the cars stopped to avoid running him down. The he moves into a waiting bus and started hassling passengers. The bus driver asked him to get off the bus but he won't. After 5 minutes of persuasion, the bus driver gave up and drove off with that guy still inside the bus. I felt relieve that I am not in that bus as I am a bit apprehensive as I am not familiar with such behaviour.
As I was about to enter "my" streetcar, a drunkard man came toppling down the steps assisted by the streetcar driver and a police officer. At this point, I question if I had made the wrong decision to travel to Castro at 7pm.

Whilst travelling in the streetcar, I spoke to a local and he said that these mentally challenged people do not really harm anyone. “The locals are used to them but it can be, daunting for tourist...”.he explained. He said they are mostly near the civic centre. I felt a bit better after my conversation with him.

I walked around the shops at Castro and noticed that the people behaved more freely here in Frisco than in most parts of the world where gays & lesbian are accepted. I even saw a man walking naked in the street. He is only wearing his boots.

I met and talked to a few local gay and lesbian and they are such lovely people here in San Francisco as compared to the same group of communities in other countries.

I had a lovely dinner of salmon crepe before I head back home to my hotel at Broadway Inn around 10pm without any incident!

Tip:

Talk to a local. The people in San Francisco are great, helpful and very friendly. You will learn a lot about their culture if you talk to them. Even if you didn't ask for their help, they will ask you if you need any assistance, especially if you look lost !

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