I left my heart in San Francisco
May and June have been two exhausting months of travel for me to say the least. At first, I didnt expect it to be such a big deal at all. I would pack my bags for a wedding and a christening/baptism while chatting up the people that I love most of all in the world. Then it happened. A graduation, an orientation, a trip to hang with one of my besties, a board meeting and the hiking/exploring trip of a lifetime. All of a sudden my summer filled with weekend romps through Brooklyn and saying “yes” to things that I usually say “no” to was full to the max with time on airplanes travelling from east to west coast and back again. It suddenly became the summer of travel where half way through I am realizing that I will need a vacation from my vacations. Never the less, I am still excited about the opportunity and privilege to travel along with the ability to be able to share my experiences on these domestic trips as a travelling womanist. On the way, i have also met some awesome women who will hopefully end up writing something for us along the way.
So on my second trip back to California in a matter of less than 2 weeks it hit me. I love something about San Francisco. It all came to me when I was enjoying the Carnival parade with my dear sister. We stood there enjoying the cool but warm SF weather and enjoyed each others company. As the brazilian inspired mas/carnival troupes/bands came down Mission she began to light up with an energy and spark that I had not seen in her in a long time. I could hear the excitement in her voice as she spoke about her experience in samba school and explained the meaning behind the binga doon binga doon and boom bap bap boom boom bap rhythms that she explained. My sister, who for so many years has been through so much suddenly came alive in a way that only music can revive her spirit and soul. We sat there watching the parade and it was there that I realized and openly embraced all the things that I love about the west coast especially dear San Francisco.
See there is something about the West Coast that is oh so different from the place that I know call home: New York City. Well Brooklyn to be exact. There is something about the parades and the co-mingling of color, sounds, smells, sights, people, places, food and weather. I think about the many parades that are set in NYC. Although many of them are full of life and diversity they are often segregated in a way that no one really identifies. They are parades that celebrate each culture specifically in its own special way. Usually the parades focus on a specific culture, region or group of people for that special day. What I noticed at Carnival in San Francisco was that the parade had EVERYBODY.
Classic Lowriders flooded the streets with their old school tunes while being escorted by SFPD.
Traditional Bolivian dancers created a beautiful family focused tribute to a country just south of us.
I saw a group of folks with Indian (yes, I do mean the subcontinent) in shavarkamese and pajamas, saris, and colorful silk costumes blaring what to me sounded like bhangra music but probably wasnt.
I saw west indian folks dressed in outfits that I would see in any carnival throughout the Caribbean during the summer season.
I witnessed a brazilian style band coming down in all their samba glory.
I was even happy to see a group of old fashioned forties style fan dancers of all shapes and sizes enjoying big band brass music with a little bit of cali swing.
And of course I can never forget that dirty win!!! It was wonderful to see everyone coming together. Ironically this all happened in the Mission. For more ways than one you can find the irony of the word, the culture and the present day reputation of the mission district in San Francisco. If you get a chance please go to Carnival 2012
I realized something about San Francisco that I have never noticed before. Just like the rest of Northern California, San Francisco had taken just another little piece of my heart.
Peace B. Still,