San Francisco Tourist Tips for Safety

San Francisco at NightNow that I’ve given you a few tips to make sure your vacation to San Francisco goes smoothly, I’d like to give you a few tips to keep you from being beaten to death by people who actually live and work in the city everyday.

  1. Remember that not everyone around you is on vacation. People actually live and work in San Francisco. All those buildings that you are staring up at and taking pictures of? Yeah. Those are apartment buildings and office buildings. There are people in there going about their everyday lives. These people don’t care about you and your week off from Fernley’s Fixtures in Cleveland. They do not want to stop on the sidewalk and give you directions. They do not want to wait for you to gather your six kids together for the photograph that you have asked them to take. It’s not that they are angry or mean people. In fact, San Franciscan’s are among the nicest people you will ever meet in a big city. The fact remains that they are busy people who are trying to get to and from work as quickly as possible.
  2. Similarly, please keep in mind when you are taking advantage of the public transit systems that the trains and subway and buses are primarily meant for people who are just trying to get to work. Get out of their way. You have all day to get to Chinatown. The woman who is patiently waiting for you to move your fanny-pack-and-bermuda-shorts-wearing fat ass out of the bus doorway has to be in her office by 8:30 and she still has to stop at one of the five million Starbucks on the way. This goes for the historic San Francisco Cable Cars, too. Real people use them everyday to get where they need to go. Get out of their way.
  3. You may remember how I mentioned that it is very expensive here… please don’t mention this to us. We know already. We pay rent and mortgages in the 2nd most expensive area of the country. You want to know how we can afford it? We work. Hard. And you are still in our fucking way.
  4. There are a lot of homeless people in San Francisco. Yes we know. Yes, it’s awful. There is no need to complain loudly about it. Oh, and also, shut the fuck up. It’s not as easy as going out and “getting a job.” There are so many homeless people here because San Francisco actually has very lenient laws and successful rehabilitation programs for them to take advantage of. Most of the homeless are mentally or physically disabled and don’t need you picking on them. The rest are down on their luck and certainly don’t need you making them feel worse about themselves. They are not likely to bother you beyond asking for a handout. If you politely say no, almost every single one of them will say “God Bless You” and move along without argument.
  5. As a matter of fact, it is YOU who does not know how to drive here. So what if we rarely use signals, double park, and take red lights as merely a suggestion to stop? You need to keep up or risk getting your ass ran over.
  6. Yeah, we all know that the pedestrian has the right of way. IF he or she is in a designated crosswalk and walking with the light. If you walk against the light, or cross in the middle of a block, you WILL get hit. Probably by a Muni (bus). And you deserved it. Pay attention.
  7. Here’s a biggie. San Francisco has a lot of gay people. A. Lot. Of. Gays. If you have a problem with homosexuality, or feel that you will be horribly offended by the sight of two men holding hands while walking down the street, I suggest you pick another vacation destination. Dollywood is nice this time of year.* The gays don’t just hang out in the Castro district, though that’s the area of town where you will find the gay porn stores, a majority of the gay bars and rainbow flags everywhere. Complaining, snickering, or preaching about it will likely get you into a world of trouble. You are a guest in our city. Wipe your feet and be on your best behavior.
  8. San Franciscans have an unusual sense of style that is going to appear strange to you. You will see white women with dreadlocks. You will see Mexican guys with mohawks. At some point during your trip you will see a man in a dress. You will also see lots of tattoos, facial and body piercings, hair colors that don’t occur in nature, and lots of unusual clothing. We like vintage clothing out here, usually in layers (remember it gets cold here in the summer). It is not uncommon to see a girl wearing pink and white horizontally striped leggings under a miniskirt with a peasant blouse under a flannel v-neck vest and trench coat. You will see a lot of guys wearing dirty jeans and long sleeved tee shirts under a short sleeved tee shirt and blazer. They look smart, especially with their thick rimmed glasses and fedora hats. Don’t point and stare at us. You are the one wearing black knee-high socks with sandals and plaid bermuda shorts.
  9. There are a lot of minorities in San Francisco. We don’t see this as a problem. As a matter of fact, we love this. The racial makeup of the city is quite diverse. Keep your racist, bigoted and unenlightened comments to yourself. We have a distinct lack of rednecks around and we’d like to keep it that way.
  10. San Francisco is not really a “steak and potatoes” kind of place. Do not make fun of the way we eat. San Franciscans are healthier than people who live in other parts of the country. There are a lot of vegetarians and vegans here.** If you can think of an ethnicity or a country, chances are there is a restaurant near where you are that serves food from there. There are only a couple of steak houses. It will be easier for you to find a restaurant that serves beef tongue with cabbage, or a squid salad than it will be for you find a Big Mac. If you are not adventurous with food consider staying outside of the city in a suburb where you will find fast food and chain restaurants much more easily. Might I suggest Denver?

I’ve given you some tips on making your visit here go smoothly. Now I’ve given you some tips on staying on the city’s inhabitant’s good side. Lest you think that you shouldn’t come here for a visit, my next post is going to give you some tips on the places that you should really see while you’re here.

* Scratch Dollywood, there are plenty of gays there, too.

** There is a difference: Vegetarians don’t eat meat. Vegans don’t eat anything that comes from an animal, including milk and eggs, gelatin, etc.

4 thoughts on “San Francisco Tourist Tips for Safety

  1. Pingback: Jestertunes » Welcome to San Francisco - Tourist Tips

  2. San Francisco is one of the greatest cities in the country. The BEST part is that you have all the topography there. I like the forest best of all, but some days you need some sunshine and ocean waves. I can always handle the asphalt jungle. I went there with Killer. I’ve never had such great beer.

    I too like how in large cities the city is divided into cultural zones. That’s so cool to me. I went to the gay zone and saw where Killer once lived and had a dude that would shit on his garage door. I went to Little Italy and spent $145 in a sex shop. I went to China town and bought some pillow covers. I like how crap clashes with class around every corner. And I love the public transportation.

    The hotel we stayed in was nice and, to your point, it wasn’t cheap, but it was tiny as shit. Killer would purposely fart the second I got into my bed. He knew I wouldn’t have time to bolt into the hallway before the room was filled with his odor. I hated that about San Francisco. To this day when I think of SF, I think of all the smells I had to endure while there. 96% were from Killer’s ass. I had a candle lit and air spray placed within an arm’s length at all times.

    Great city. You’ve made me miss it again. Damn you, Jester!

  3. Liz – I’m sure Killer was just trying to protect you from all of the other foul and mysterious odors that permeate areas of the city. Seriously, there are some places where the smell of ripe ass would be like jasmine on a breeze. The Civic Center Bart Station comes to mind.

  4. All the old stuff I wore as a child is coming back. Kinda scary and makes you feel old, but it looks great most of the time.

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