I met some wonderful friends in San Francisco, thoroughly enjoyed myself and spent eight hours walking through the city. Of course I saw the sea lions, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge - that was too be expected.
What I didn't expect to see was how San Francisco has taken the Golden Gate as a metaphor and created vast gated communities. The gates were not physical but invisible, almost built into the psyche of the place.
On one side of the road would be great wealth, designer everything and opulence whilst on the other would be poverty, homelessness and outcasts. Single roads would separate these "communities" and transit from one to another seemed rare for the occupants of each.
I was staggered by this, the divide was sharp and crystal clear. A 15 second crossing separated the "American dream" from the "American nightmare" - don't ask me which side was which.
I'd always had a belief that San Francisco was some form of hi-tech bazaar, a golden city with a vibrant community - a place of wonder.
It's nice though - both sides of the road have wonderful people. Not sure if they talk with each other much.
Still you can't learn a great deal about a city in an eight hour walk, so it's just my observations not a critique.