As previously demonstrated, I was beginning to get a feel for San Francisco, and I felt now knew the main streets reasonably well. Today was one of those not much planned days, which are always nice after a few days of focussed exploration, and as it was my last full day here, I decided to see where my wanderings would take me.
However, one plan today was visiting the City Lights bookshop, which is a world famous bookshop and independent publisher known for being founded at the height of the Beatnik movement, and being associated with a number of the prominent Beat writers. It is everything you expect of a independent bookshop, and I decided it would be rude to not make a purchase from such an icon. I left with a copy of Fahrenheit 451, something that I had been meaning to read for ages. Although buying books whilst travelling added weight to my bag, I found they were often a necessity, as well as being enjoyable to read. Ok, not a necessity like food is a necessity, but they were a great way to kill time in those awkward parts of the day when it’s too late to go out but too early to go to bed, especially if you don’t fancy talking to people some days.
I followed up City Lights with a brief visit to the Maritime Museum, which is a small collection of ship related paraphernalia on the shoreline. There wasn’t a great deal there, hence the briefness of the visit, and considering there were much better ship related historical features further along the shore, it seemed a little underwhelming. The museum does look like a ship from outside though, that was pretty cool.
Back at the hostel, I made some plans for my next destination, Portland, and I decided to purchase a ticket to an NBA game. The Portland Trailblazers were playing the Denver Nuggets – chicken nuggets are of no relation. Now, I know I have previously proclaimed my disapproval of basketball, but as the ticket was only $14 (a bargain compared to the Premier League), and when in Rome, it was another case of it would be rude not to.
Sitting in the lobby I found myself chatting to a fellow Brit, which was nice to encounter as it had been a little while since I had come across a compatriot. Interestingly, he was out in California to meet a friend from Instagram, and was here for two weeks. I found this a strange concept, but I feel like it is something the slightly younger generation are more comfortable with. To me, the idea of meeting a complete stranger in a foreign country that you have met on the internet is asking to be murdered and your kidneys sold for a big payday. The guy was 18, and I did get the impression that he was rather shy and low on confidence, as he barely made eye contact with me as I spoke to him.
I think it’s important to differentiate between shyness and introvert personality traits. Of course, both things are closely intertwined from the outsider’s perspective, as it is often difficult to separate them out. However, shyness is definitely something that changes over time, as people often come out of their shells as they get older. Introversion and extroversion, in my opinion, are things which cannot be changed, as these traits are fundamental to our outlook on life and how we react to the world around us.
To finish my time in San Francisco, I decided to top up my already impressive tan by my standards and watch the sunset, which was truly spectacular (see below). Tomorrow it was onwards to Portland, the city of hipsters and coffee and bikes and beards.
Western shore sunsets are always the best.