A Travellerspoint blog

Take a walk on the wild side (Warning: Graphic Narrative)

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large_5550_12546477312862.jpgThat's the name of the annual event.
It is the last Sunday in September and that means it is Folsom Street Fair ... the biggest gay event in San Francisco [San-Francisco-travel-guide-14243], especially for those into leather, fur (not of animal origin but on chubby human) and bondage/discipline. It seems to have evolved and there many women and heterosexual couples dressed up (or down) to match the atmosphere ... lots of people in leather and some in skin ... yes, stark naked.

The leather and skin stretches five blocks on Folsom Street. The centre of the street is home to many booths selling all sorts of adult paraphernalia including bondage gear and porn. The side streets serve as eating and dancing zones.

Against that backdrop, you have the food stalls staffed by elderly immigrant Mexicans and Asians who must find this a culture shock if it was their first time.large_5550_12546477315822.jpgQuiet start around 11am. Then there was a old little hunched Chinese lady who scouring the street looking for discarded drink bottles to re-sell. She must have gotten used to the sight of the occasional naked men and women.

It was an eye-opener for me and I'm sure it would be too for many. There was:

* Charity whipping. You submit yourself to whipping and the public make donations ... I guess it is a variation to shaving your head for charity.
* Nude wrestling.
* A man in a wheelchair with rope around his privates, being towed by presumably his dominatrix (dressed in Snow White kind of outfit).
* Well-endowed people who oblige with the photos (and gropes) without seeming to get sick of it!

There were also some action which wasn't legal (classified as lewd conduct) but things like that can happen in the intense crowd without being noticed by the cops.

Carefully selected and censored photos below.


Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Castro without Cuba

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large_5550_12540250496892.jpgCouldn't believe my eyes!
We shifted into a hotel within San Fran itself today ... all part of the plan. We grabbed lunch with a friend of Kim's who was living near the Castro area (nothing to do with Cuban leader).

Tomorrow is a very significant day in the gay event calendar and there were a few people wandering around the street stark naked (except for footwear)! Fidel would have a heart attack.

It was all very educational for me. I overheard someone saying that the Armed Offenders Squad would have been called in if this was in LA. But in San Fran, it is quite acceptable by the local authorities ... apparently nudity is not illegal under federal legislation so the matter is controlled locally.

We then got on the phone and changed Kim's flight ... and he departed home this evening, a day earlier.


Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Bad news from home

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As it wasn't going to be a long drive today, we spent the morning shopping in Monterey [Monterey-travel-guide-13168]. Many of the stores are the same nationwide and they offer the same good value and quality not found anywhere else in the world. This is a very blessed country in many ways.

We checked into the very luxurious Sofitel at Foster City ... probably the nicest hotel we've ever paid good money for ... only to realise that we had missed several phone calls during the drive from Kim's sister. Unfortunately, their Mum is in hospital with yet more complications following chemotherapy. The situation was extremely serious :-(

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Hearst Castle

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large_5550_12540240711986.jpgPelican and colony near Pismo.
We explored the San Luis Obispo area briefly this morning before heading up the Pacific Coast Highway to do a sight we had previously missed out due to lack of time. This was the Hearst Castle which is located about halfway between LA and San Fran.

We had previously done most of the attractions in Monterey [Monterey-travel-guide-13168] and Carmel when we came two years ago for a classic car event called Pebble Beach.

Anyway, the Castle was built by a rich man (in conjunction with a lady architect) as his private ranch at which he entertained the rich and famous. It reflected the styles he had seen in the Mediterranean when he was a child on a big trip round Europe with his mother. It is a very impressive complex indeed and it is certainly very tastefully done ... a bit contrary to my expectation.


Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Driving up the PCH

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After a slow start, we caught up with a crew friend who was overnighting in LA. In the early afternoon we headed up the Pacific Coast Highway bound for San Luis Obispo for our nightstop.

Much of the route wasn't new so we didn't do all the scenic stops ... only a comfort stop at Santa Barbara [Santa-Barbara-travel-guide-14304] pier.

San Luis Obispo was a pleasant surprise ... it is the kind of town every small town wants to be ... compact, beautifully kept and probably largely middle/high class? We satisfied our much-deprived cravings for spicy food at a local Thai restaurant.


Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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