Today I’m starting my day off in The Mission. The area of town once dubbed ‘The New Bohemia’ and home to excellent punk bands such as ‘The Dead Kennedys’, I’ve decided to give it a look in and see what it has to offer in 2015.
I grab the BART to Powell St and then take a bus the rest of the way. The bus is packed full of questionably sane folk, and the driver has to get up to break up a scuffle at one point. Lordy.
I get off the bus at Mission and 19th and I feel like I just entered the dodgy parts of Mile End and Bethnal Green, with tired looking shops and even more tired looking patrons.
I head for Valencia Street, which reminds me of Dalston, once you turn off the high road and discover the nicer booji places to eat.
This part of town has definitely fallen to gentrification, and It’s full of hip early 20 somethings brunching in juice bars and clean living cafes.
I stop for breakfast and make friends with a local couple who offer me top tips to check out in the area.
I stroll in the sun working my way up and down Valencia popping in quirky stores selling animal skulls and bones; and a pirate shop for kiddies where you can pick up all your supplies for finding buried treasure (ooooh arrr!!).
Next up, I trip over to see some of The Mission’s famous murals (thanks for the tip breakfast friends!). The murals started life in the 1970’s in response to the outrageous foreign policies in Central America at the time.
Today there’s over 400 plus murals all over the district, and they represent the modern ever-changing political landscapes.
I visit two notable sites. The women’s building is a female-led non-profit community centre and is adorned with a piece titled ‘MaestraPeace’. It’s images are of solidarity and strength amongst women, with female icons from history and fiction woven through in the brightest of rainbow colours. It’s beautiful. And bold. And damn strong.
Next I walk Clarion Alley, where murals have been completed by a collective of artistic Mission residents. Some are just pretty and bright, whilst others are really thought provoking and intended to highlight political and social themes.
Once I’ve perused the art, I then pay a fleeting visit to Mission Dolores, the city’s oldest building founded in 1776, before retracing my steps back to Mission and 19th.
I’m actually feeling a bit peaky today and have to stop at one point to sit, blending in seamlessly well with the other ‘pan handlers’.
Utterly worn out, I decide to call it quits in the city and head back to Berkely to take it easier this afternoon before my visit to the wine valleys tomorrow.
Once all cosy in my pj’s, I realise I actually haven’t had much down time in a while and don’t feel bad about at all about spending a Saturday night snuggling in bed with some chicken soup (Jewish penicillin!) and a movie instead of rocking the bay.
It’s an early night for me after my colourful morning, and not quite the mission punk party I had planned, but I’ll sleep soundly for sure.