BUMPING into friends and making new ones in a foreign land always spell out one big adventure. What are the chances of seeing a visiting Pinoy friend in San Francisco's shopping district? Slim. Coincidences never happen, I call it fated.
What was going through my mind was to check this famous district out while in town. How and with whim was the big question.
So when I asked these bunch if they had paid they obligatory visit to Castro, they replied in unison, “We’re going tonight, why don’t you come with us.” Eureka!
Yes, Eureka. The Castro District aka The Castro, is a neighborhood within Eureka Valley in San Francisco, California. Home to Harvey Milk's first business venture, the Castro Camera, and the onset of his gay and eventually political activism which contributed highly in making the district as a gay destination.
We have come to know of Castro as the gay mecca. But prior to Castro's becoming the Gay Mecca, world's first, largest and best-known gay neighborhood and the symbol and source of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) activism and events, it was a working-class neighborhood then -- "Little Scandinavia" because of the presence of people from Sweden, Finland, Norway in the 20's then into an Irish district in the 30's to the 60's.
It was not until the 60's that the gay population came in. They were poured in by no less than the US Military. Thousands of World War II servicemen where offloaded in San Francisco after they were discharged for being homosexuals. The exodus of homosexuals began soon after these servicemen chose to settle in the neighborhood.
Then the Castro bloomed and boomed into a gay mecca after the Summer of Love. The event brought an amazing number of middle-class youths in tens of thousands from all over the USA. It was like discovering a new world; Eureka Valley became more popular now as the Castro naming it after the theater in the area that became a landmark.
The 70's brought about the relocation of the San Francisco gays from the most prominent gay neighborhood of Polk Gulch to the Castro.
It was then when the former residents chose to move to the suburbs and the beautiful and spacious Victorian houses that are still in existence became available at low rent or available for purchase for low down payments. Don't try to move in now though, it will cost you an arm and a leg.
And I don't plan to do so. I just wanted to walk the streets where Milk spilt his presence and go clubbing and mingle with the locals- even on a wintry weekday.
Not a coincidence. The thought of going around the district was running through my mind moments before I bumped into these friends I was telling you about. By the evening, we were all enjoying drink after drink after drink and in the scene where everyone wants to be seen.
Well who would have thought all these can happen in such a short stay in San Francisco? Anything can happen, keep that in mind. And when it does, enjoy the moment! Treat it like you just unearthed a treasure box. Eureka!