San Fransisco - Snazzy or Slummy?
Cosmopolitan, Grandiose and Glamorous. Rings a bell? Well these are the three first words that pop into my mind when I first think of San Fransisco. Of course "chill and adventurous" when I think of California. I guess San Fran is one of those cities that almost has it all, or has the potential to have it all.. or frankly after visiting it - seems like it is getting further and further away from having it all! Sadly!
On finding out that I was going to San Fransisco got me so excited! It’s one of those cities you just know is amazing even before you get there. Don’t you think? One of those great cities with an architecture that stands out, the lush scenery and great buzz and vibe.
During my first three days I was running around the city completing 20 km (12 miles) of walking / running up the hilly streets with my hips and feet on fire! I was so eager to see and experience it all but at the same time I was terrified of being called out for a potential "pop up" flight and then the fact I would have to leave San Fransisco.
San Fransisco surely does not disappoint with how outdoor friendly it is. The Golden Bridge, Twin Peaks, Alamo Park, Oak Bay Bridge, parks and hikes and famous streets - how endless the list of “Must Do’s” is!
The sightseeing and weather was stunning, be it covid or not. I even got a little tan on in the beginning of November running around the town (I live in Estonia so it's freezing there by November). ❄️
The whole time while roaming the streets and starting to get a real feel for the city I found myself being scared as hell. I thought maybe it's some stupid paranoia following me around. At first I was not sure if it was covid-19, constant terrorist attacks happening around the world, homelessness or if I was imagining things?
On my way to all the wonderful city hot spots I couldn’t help but notice the intense smell attacking my nose, the sad and lost souls sleeping on the ground, gangs dealing on the corners of streets, some people talking to themselves, some shouting and screaming nonsense.
I won’t even start with the spitting, peeing and trash laying around everywhere. It was really worrying finding all of that on every second street. Apparently people are even leaving their feces on the streets. Sorry! I know its gross. I feel somewhat embarrased typing this in here but lets be real and face the truth. According to Business Insider the city has a legit "poop patrol" — a group of five employees who earn more than $184,000 per year to clean up feces. Residents called the city more than 28,000 times in 2018 to complain about feces on their streets.
I was staying in both of the Intercontinental Hotels in San Fransisco downtown and as soon as I left my hotel I was surrounded by all that was mentioned above. The crime and homelessness has moved in and taken over even the city centre and fronts of museums, business centres and modern shopping malls. Nothing is left untouched!
There is a district called the “Tenderloin”, located Mid Town where the crime is exceptionally bad and well, the whole area is dangerous! There are miles of streets covered in tents of homeless and corners full of drug dealers. It was just so overwhelming and disheartening.
The crime is so bad that people are strongly recommended to not park on the streets anymore (there are signs warning tourists who have rented cars as there are constant break-ins). My uber driver said she has only recently moved to San Fran and has already had to go to her insurer twice due to broken car window and break-ins.
Apparently it has gotten worse and worse over the years after the people who run the city released prisoners from county jails and decriminalized drugs and tent-camping. It seems to be that the very Left State policies trying to make San Fran more liberal have failed.
I hope the city of San Fransisco will find a way out and get the city back on track, help the homeless and raise the life quality of its residents. It sure is a beautiful and charming city that makes you dream bigger and has so much to offer.
Video made of San Fransisco in August 2020