Saturday, 15 April 2017 – Day 2: San Francisco, USA (37.7749° N, 122.4194° W)
“Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.” – Emerson
We are still in San Francisco, and all of us are enjoying a blissful day here in Baghdad by the Bay. The annual piece of global performance art known as The Global Scavenger Hunt is officially underway.
Here we are in the City by the Bay… The City that Knows How (RIP Herb Caen)…a small but BIG city in America. A city of hills, bridges, water and neighborhoods: the infamous Haight-Ashbury home of the 1967 Summer of Love celebrating its 50th anniversary, Pacific Heights, Nob Hill, North Beach, the Marina, Chinatown, the Avenues, Mission District, Japantown, startup hell (aka SoMa), Twin Peaks, Castro, Noe Valley, the rapidly gentrifying Tenderloin, and the Financial District…indeed, the whole of San Francisco is just a small photogenic, romantic, historical, and oh so layered, postage stamp-size of a city—a land area of just seven-by-seven miles (46.9 square miles) surrounded by the alternative universe known as reality—America. (Next to Seattle, San Francisco is our nations smartest, most educated city!) It is the second-most densely populated large city in the United States after New York City with a population of 805,235 (48% white, 33% Asian, 15% Hispanic), but it seems all those folks living in the surrounding Bay area (Marin, San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland, etc) all eight million of them seem to come into SF for the weekend. San Francisco is also a star attraction on the world stage for tourists too–ranking 33 out of the top 100 most visited cities of the world. (Odd fact I learned last night during a conversation with a meteorologist: 30% of Bay area pollution is imported from China. Thanks China.)
San Francisco clichés abound: it is the city of the Summer of Love, Gay Rights, earthquakes, progressive politics, rice-a-roni, cable cars, “I left my heart in…”, BART, the Golden Gate Bridge, the 49ers, Giants, Alcatraz, 1906 Earthquake & fire, Levi’s & Gap, gays in chaps, fog, Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Cable Car clang, Fisherman’s Wharf, poor start-up workers, hippies turned hipsters, homeless, crazy rents, tech-obsessed Millennials, sourdough bread, Ghirardelli chocolate, LA inferiority complex, Snob Hill, and chop suey…Rudyard Kipling mused that, “San Francisco has only one drawback – ’tis hard to leave.”
I lived here for a few years in one of my past life incarnations, went to grad school and cut my political teeth here in this town working for Congresswoman Sala Burton (whose weekly chat-fests included the progressive likes of: Willie Brown, Senator Diane Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Alan Cranston, and my personal favorite, former Senator Barbara Boxer. Then decades later, I got married here too. Indeed, San Francisco is a great city filled with great memories.
We love San Francisco…and the teams are all out and about attempting to fulfill a list of scavenges that they have been assigned for a quick urban orientation course before we go global on them. They are out to learn the rules of the game, and maybe what lurks in the Ringmaster’s mind—my logic, cunning, warped thought process and whatever method there might be to my madness, they can formulate. So, out and about bebopping in the City they are. It is a simple 9:00AM to 5:15PM scavenger hunt (a Par 1 leg) in which they are tasked with completing just eight (8) of dozens of scavenges to choose from. Just to get moving and see what the whole competition package looks and feels like. Of course, we asked for them to just do 8 scavenges, and I already know that some overachievers will try to impress me–and their competitors–and do 20 or more…but the sane ones, will do just eight and have fun doing them.
A few examples today are to:
-Crash the Zombie Convention at Fort Mason.
-Attend the Raiders of the Lost Ark performance at Davies Hall.
-Following clues to find the Maltese Falcon
-Learn how fortune cookies are made
-Employ at least four (4) different modes of local transportation.
One-Minute Interview with Defending Champs in SFO – Zoe + Rainey
Okay…so, that brings up a good point of departure—having the correct travel mindset. This is a 23-day marathon. This is a competition like no other with great travelers trying to successfully compete and win a coveted title (The World’s Greatest Travelers™ for 2017)…along with a free trip around the world to defend their title next year. They will be circling the globe visiting ten (still) secret international destinations on four continents. Here are a few things that they should know about being mentally fit for the next 23-days:
The Proper Global Scavenger Hunt Traveling Mindset:
-that they are privileged, lucky, and among the gifted few…they won the lottery…so be happy.
-that they have no control over most things to come…so breathe, smile, be patient, and let it go.
–that the best way to make new friends…is by listening (not talking).
-that to get the most out of their coming journey/adventure…they should slow down…be in the moment.
-that they must be open to new things, thoughts and allow serendipity in…
-that they should have left—the great enemy of new experience—their expectations at home.
-that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression on a stranger.
-that the best way to eliminate regrets, is to just do it, let go and have fun. Engage in the now.
-that they should expect the worst but hope for the best…and always be prepared for either.
-that backtracking is not good time-management; and moving on to someplace new is.
-that if you don’t ask—you don’t get.
-that they should plan to do more before noon in places than most do all day.
-that challenges and adversity are good…they make us feel alive, be creative and grow.
-that they should embrace la difference…the whole points of traveling.
-that it is not about want you spend—it is about what you do.
-that humor and good patience is the key to internal bliss.
So, the games have begun, we haven’t lost a team yet to the Haight/Ashbury triangle, or to any of the all too numerous bars in The City…some of the early insider gossip is that: we have a diverse group of travelers: young and not, newbies and vets, men and women–and everyone seems very competitive…there is more and that will come later!
Deadline: 5:15PM Hotel Lobby