Our travel experts have chosen to begin in the middle of the west coast of North America (this travelogue will also include dated information on several Canadian cities, as most ‘Americans’…Canadians dislike that we’ve co-opted the entire continent’s name… but Americans figure that Canada is just another weird sort of state in the U.S. filled with polite people where we get our building lumber) for no apparent reason other than it’s really pretty.
While Portland, Oregon is a nice place, and Seattle, Washington has Microsoft…while LA has Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, while San Diego has the capability of destroying the entire world with it’s military installations, San Francisco is still this authors pick for the best west coast city. Originally begun by Spanish missionaries who spoke a little French as a place where no one with the names Francisco was allowed to come (Sans Francisco…later the ‘s’ was dropped as Americans tend to slur just about everything) San Francisco, or Frisco as the natives never call it, is one of the most charming cities in the United States.
With a population of 800,000, this city was founded in the year of the American Revolution (1776) although none of our fore-fathers such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and the somewhat lesser known Skinny McElvey had a clue about it at the time. And why should they? Back then, San Francisco was just a small collection of adobe huts with very little in the way of nightlife to recommend it…a few car washes, a Burger King and Lefty’s, an intimate little bistro where missionaries, Red Indians and Transvestites could mingle in peace and without stigma. It was hard for missionaries to find acceptance back then.
This was mostly due to a misunderstanding of the phrase, “I’d give my right arm for a good Transvestite.”
From it’s humble beginnings, San Francisco has grown to become the fourteenth largest city in the US, placing it squarely behind thirteen others in terms of size. However, it is the second most densely populated city in America, coming in only behind New York; this is because it’s such a cool place that everyone keeps trying to squeeze in.
In 1848, gold was discovered somewhere else in California, which at the time wasn’t part of the United States but made us want it really bad, and settlers came pouring into the wonderful natural harbor of San Francisco Bay. When they actually got out of the harbor and dried off, they went in search of the gold, which they then brought back to San Francisco to spend on hookers, opium, booze and Transvestites. It was a kindler, gentler time, with stabbings, lynchings and men being Shanghaied as sailors, but very few drive by shootings. Spurred on by the lack of good Laundromats, Chinese immigrants also arrived from Shanghai, bringing with them opium and starch. Racial tensions began to emerge as the residents found the Asians to be a bit too stiff for their liking, but cutting back on the starches and loading up on the opium accomplished what diplomacy could not. As a result of the starch reduction people became thinner and better looking; as a result of the opium people became muuuuccch happier and began to build really pretty houses.
In 1906 things just fell apart for San Franciscans…literally. A major earthquake and resultant fire destroyed large portions of the city’s opium stocks and killed untold numbers of Gays and Transvestites… missionaries were long gone by that time, having moved to Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina to assist in the burgeoning slave trade. Red Indians, or Native Americans as we call them when we’re feeling particularly guilty, were also gone, having experienced a strange lead based illness and die off…i.e.: we shot them all. But did this catastrophe defeat San Francisco? Who knows, I wasn’t even born yet, but reports are it did not!
During the twentieth century more and more Gays and Transvestites moved in to San Francisco to fix up the charming Knob Hill houses and open charming restaurants and charming boutiques…
Today, San Francisco is happy, happy place with lots of charm and Transvestites. But all is not rosy. George W. Bush is it’s President and Arnold Swarzenegger is it’s Governor,
making most San Franciscans very sad.
But one day San Francisco and it’s sister city Berkley hopes to elect a President of it’s own choosing
And everyone will be happy again.