I recently took a break from the Los Angeles lifestyle to embrace the fresh air and less congested streets of the Bay Area. I take this trip at least once a year, but this time I was in for a real treat.
While setting up touring dates with my tentative landlord and respected playboy, Russ W., I was informed that I would be in town the same weekend that Carnaval would be popping off in San Francisco - Now, I've heard of this exciting celebration taking place before, but never in San Francisco.
Fast forward to May 24, 2014: Russ and I wake up slightly hungover in the Tenderloin near Market St & 7th. While waiting for a ride to the parade, we had a light breakfast at a Carl's Jr. that doubled as an open-air drug market. It's a funny feeling scarfing down breakfast sandwiches in between a table with dime bags on display for patrons and another with heroin. After a 13-minute drive and 5-minute walk we arrived on south Van Ness & 17th Street where we posted for the celebration.
The sun was beaming but there was a breeze to keep us from sweating.
As I glanced around at the numerous faces and bodies in the surrounding crowd, I could only see smiles, laughter, dancing, and overall jovial interactions being made. It made my heart smile. The parade participants included men, women, and children of all ages and shades. The decorated cars, floats, and dancers prancing down the street to rhythmic drum beats kept drawing spectators off the sidewalks and into the street where the parade was proceeding. The San Francisco Police Dept. (SFPD) definitely got a workout trying to keep everyone out of the middle of the street.
Before long, the parade was coming to an end and the crowd began dispersing. There were no issues or confrontations. The day was still young, so my mates and I were off to scale the Mosaic steps and find some honey dips… But that's a story for another day. My first Carnaval was ending and I loved every moment of it. So much so, that you will catch me there next year in the crowd – or perhaps on a float.