Carlsbad soothes with moderate weather and long sandy beaches; pubs litter the village and flowers bloom colorfully. Its easy to get lost in the blandness of comfortability. An askew hairdo rarely dances and a critical mass is half-ass. A poetry slam drowns in the bottom of a pint and a garden is restricted. Like an unstimulated student in the back of a monotone lectured classroom, a creative mind can fall bored. A disgruntled teacher disrupts slumber with the smack of a wooden ruler. A lethargic rut is thwarted by a spontaneous adventure in a city where interesting observations are as abundant as sunblocked laden tourists on a Carlsbad summer day. A handful of days in the heart of San Francisco flooded our senses with interesting and thought-provoking observations, all unique, inspiring and foreign.
Angry downpours and numbing winds challenged the meanderings that stumbled us upon the many sites of the city. The infrequent tree swayed below the gray sky. Litter tumbled outside while credit cards slid inside. Homeless scampered like hungry birds while the affluent chatted with mistresses on their blackberries. The juxtaposition between these two are often seen on busy corners. A well groomed man grips a steaming coffee in one hand as the other maneuvers a wind blown umbrella. A leather briefcase is snug under his arm, tightly rested against the day’s paper. The man waits at the corner while taxis screech. He takes a sip and burns his tongue. Only feet away, curled on the ground, lays a shivering homeless man. His cup is empty and awaits a spare coin. His jacket runs short and his pants are soiled. His heart aches, but is slightly warmed by the steam which creeps out of the rusted openings of a manhole. Our bag, which remains stashed with leftovers, delivers another much needed meal as the business man jumps into a taxi.
My eyes scan uncontrollably, in search for the link which will connect me to another mind. I inspect narrow alleys and sticky paper stands, cultured neighborhoods and crowded parks, high walls and low gutters. Long stretches of groomed streets ignite worries until a hidden jewel in unearthed. A scribbled face or a screaming tree eliminates the unwanted tension of normality. A colorful mural pulsates with meaning and carefully painted vents become marching mushrooms. Creativity, though frequently hidden, thrives in the city and the surrounding neighborhoods. A map is the desire to look and a treasure is transfered thought. What does a ranting homeless man make you think? What about an animated character high above the steamy streets of Chinatown? Did you see the face weathered into the rusty dumpster? How about the truck that hasn’t moved in weeks, not because it refuses to start, but because it looks too good exactly where it is. The streets became my playground; the sites my toys.
Memories of wanderings through foreign countries flooded my mind as I navigated the hurried streets of Chinatown. Organic rooftops swirled above as slimy gutters oozed below. Jade bracelets and marble statues are forced into view like the stale chicle of TJ. Chickens hang and fish are filleted. Old men play their traditional music on corners and steam tumbles out the back of restaurants. Unlike sections of Disneyland, this neighborhood is real. A cultured gimmick for tourist is only an indirect result of unfamiliar traditions. Abstract characters dance on signs and English is a minority. Tourists balance high on rickety balconies while they wait for pot stickers and Chinese beer. The high corner of buildings provide visible spaces ideal for local graffiti and are seen from all locations. Surrounding neighborhoods chatter with nested schools and narrow houses gaze at the bay.
We searched, found and marveled the many artistic observations of the city on the bay. Ideas ran wild in my mind and my camera buzzed warm with its constant flash. Our journey took us to the city where we explored each section. We mingled with the bright stores around the financial district, watched our back in the Tenderloin, wandered the neighborhoods of Nob Hill, slowly navigated Chinatown and rode BART along the East Bay. Our eyes grew tired and our mind overworked, where each night we fell asleep in our cozy hostel.
We have returned to the ordinary life within the village of Carlsbad with a respect for simplicity, but will miss the shocking and interesting findings that hide within the streets of the city.
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