What I Was Listening To:
PLAYLIST: Love and Haight in San Francisco
This was a trip that I did about eight years ago. It is not uncommon for any Filipino to have family in the US. Normally, they would be in Los Angeles, but most of mine are (or were) in the San Francisco area. Fortunately so, because I have always been charmed by this quaint city. It is busy enough to keep you on your toes, but isn’t as frenetic as New York, and is heaps more authentic than Los Angeles. A little cold for my taste though, but when you’re from the Philippines, anywhere else on either side of the equator is too cold.
My family brought me to the touristic spots, like the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Ghirardelli Square, among others. Luckily, I had a couple of adventurous friends who happened to be in the area as well, so we spent a lot of time exploring the more exotic areas, like Haight Street, Telegraph Street in Berkeley, The Tenderloin (stay away!), the gay capital of the world Castro Street, for Halloween, and skydiving in Lodi.
If this interests you at all I recommend Parachute Center, an unassuming flight school in Lodi, CA, in the south of Sacramento, about 2 – 3 hours away from San Francisco City by car. Do not be scared by its rustic atmosphere; keep in mind that the center has been around for 50 years (they celebrated their anniversary in 2014). Like any extreme activity, you are required to undergo a short, but informative orientation session for your jump. They’ll really just teach you how and when to pull the chute cord, and how to land properly. Regardless, you’ll be strapped on to an instructor, so he can spot you if you forget. And if you can’t decide on whether you are ready or not, he will make that decision for you, haha!
You board a six-seater plane, which will climb up to 13,000 feet up in the air, where you leap off. You free-fall for the first couple of minutes, and then you are signalled to pull the parachute cord. From there, it is another jerky couple of minutes in the air. But oh, you’ll kiss the ground when you land! I did.
One jump will set you back just $100.00. If it seemed cheap at the time, it seems a hell of a lot cheaper now. For another $30-$50 (if I remember correctly), another instructor will jump with you to take photos and a video of your jump, and you go home with a DVD copy of the craziest thing you’ll probably ever do in your life. I hiiiighly recommend it! 🙂
I highly recommend seeing Beach Blanket Babylon — a cabaret (I mean this in the variety show kind of way) musical farce of the satirical kind. Unique to San Francisco, it is theater at its most ridiculous. Their skits are out of this world spoofs of pop culture, and their costumes (the hats, the hats!) are larger than life. It is caricature come to life, and I was delighted in surprise when I was brought to a show. A must-see!