Apr 252012
 

SAN DIEGO

Good Lord! Look at that!

The Wyatt Earp Historic Gambling Hall & Saloon.

Really?

Really truly?

I have no idea if I’m being for real or not, because I couldn’t get past the locked doors.

But sighting that building this morning got me dredging up an old theme song:

Wyatt Earp
Wyatt Earp
Brave courageous and bold
Long live his life and long live his story dum de dum de dum. 

Go orrrrnnnnnnn, you remember that show?

My sister had a crush on Wyatt Earp. Sorry Liz 🙂 Awwww c’mon, it’s okay, forty years have passed, it’s a’right o tell the world.

Suddenly I fell that much deeper in love with the possibilities of San Diego.

The Gaslight Quarter is gorgeous, all clean and bright – as if everyone hit the ‘refresh’ button at the same time.

With all those clean coats of paint and bright clean signage, the district is packed with bars and restaurants with names like Lime (tequila bar – it’s green), The Hopping Pig (‘gastropub and craft beers’) and The Tipsy Crow (sweet yellow bar and gaming room – waaay too innocent). And an abundance of happy hours, including Spanish Tapas and rustic Italian.

As always, I am struck by the complex history of all the peoples of this land they call Southern California.

Oh! I get it! Maybe the US is still trying to take Southern California – probably the entire southern border for that matter.

And the deeper I sink into the city the more I understand the need to cross the border; it’s about degrees of poverty – and the potential, at least, for the promise of 21st century opportunity . . . or any opportunity.

The cultural balance seems healthier here in San Diego than further north in Los Angeles, where white people and culture define the rest.

Today I wandered down to the waterfront via the railway station, where I called by – I wanted to know why it was plastered with two words: Santa Fe.

It’s a beautifully kept station, much like the rest of the inner city; the waiting benches original slat wood and mosaic tiles shouting Santa Fe, Santa Fe, Santa Fe.

It’s becaause, friends, Santa Fe was the name of the railroad company!

And on down to the waterfront, where I was met by the US navy on my left and, further up the pier, Captain Cook.

Like everywhere, San Diego has its sad people. Traveling brings us face to face with our own stories and I was busy telling myself stories about how San Diego’s homeless looked rather healthy, at least not too frayed . . . when whack, the city hit me with its homeless, all day.

At first I just thought it was a waterfront parade, so I created a little stash of $1 notes and delivered them accordingly to the rolling fat one who was ‘exhausted’ (I know this cos I asked her how she was doing), and the young woman knitting caps while she studied algebra (she wasn’t after charity and I wasn’t up to paying ten bucks for a hat, so she gave me a photo taken with a pinhole technique (???) in return for my $!) and the old vet guy, the kind the rest of us see in movies.

Then came the rest of the day, the unrelenting tide of the hungry and the homeless.

Two days ago, I was wondering why I did not talk to the homeless, why I buried my shock and their shame in my chest, looked away and walked on by. Anyone who has read My Pilgrim’s Heart knows my journey with those among us who beg for their living.

In San Diego, this delicious city with its refresh walls and abundance of fabulous food, it took no time at all to recover my senses and at least say hello and ask how they’re doing. And let me tell you, there are some really interesting folk rummaging through bins on these streets.

Or walking their teddies in their wire trolleys. Or wearing a stolen chair like a backpack, as if it is too much to sit in the dirt.

And besides, the Dalai Lama is comin’ to town – I’m sure he’ll set things right.

 

 

 April 25, 2012  Add comments

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