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Mon 28 Jun 2004
The Summer of Love
Category : Commentary/haightashbury.txt
On my first visit to San Francisco, I tried to see if I can find Haight-Ashbury without a map. I knew in which general direction it lay, and on my second day, after having meandered through JapanTown, Alamo Square, Fillmore, and Castro, I finally found it. (I had much stronger legs then. These days, the SF 7-day Unlimited City Pass is my best friend. Passing through familiar streets on the buses, I'm amazed at how much ground I had covered on foot, then.)
I'm a child of the sixties, though too far away to be touched by its excesses. Listening to Janis Joplin and, later, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Carol King, I knew quite a bit about Flower Power and the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius. (It's funny but I've just finished reading Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, and those who have read it will know the connections. But I digress.)
The Pacific Ocean is but one huge basin into which both east and west pour its ideas, some of which gets washed up on the other shore, to be re-used in new ways.
So, the Californians absorbed Eastern Mysticism and fused into a most attractive form of music and philosophy which, in turn, was consumed by us, the children of the east. I've gone through long hair and bell bottoms.
And made my pilgrimage to Haight-Ashbury.