Days 77-80: San Francisco Summer

Many of you have heard Mark Twain’s quote about San Francisco: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”. It’s truer than ever this past week since I have returned. Visitors from the East Bay showed up in shorts, only to find the brutal inversion layer of fog cloaking the city with a 50 degree blanket. The temperature difference within 50 miles can be 50 degrees. The pattern occurs consistently in the summer months, until the sun breaks through in early Autumn.

We ordered four street trees that were planted by the Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF), a local non-profit in the City. Gee Kin volunteered to help on Saturday, and the team covered a collection of houses in the Inner Sunset. After the trees are planted, the FUF maintains the trees for three years. While the trees are the responsibility of the property owner, there is talk about switching the maintenance back to the City. That would allow for more regular maintenance and protection for the tree plantings.

Growing trees obviously helps enhance and preserve the environment, but we heard that there are still many skeptical neighbors. They find the trees a nuisance with droppings, obscuring visibility, and cracking sidewalks. It seems like a simple goal, yet complicated by differences of opinion.

On the cultural end, I decided to extend my travel mode by visiting local museums and attending performances. The Asian Art Museum’s “Treasures from the Emperor’s Collection at the National Palace Museum, Taiwan”, featured a portrait of none other than Kubilai Khan.

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After having just been in Mongolia, I was keenly interested in his place in Chinese History. He formed the Yuan Dynasty and moved the capital from Khorkorin to Beijing. From traveling, I have been able to connect the dots and have a better appreciation of the interactions between East and West. The exhibition covered four dynasties, the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing.

Earlier this week, we hosted a family from New Zealand who are “kissing cousins”. They originated from Palmerston North and come from a mixture of Chinese, Maori, Irish, Croatian and Lebanese backgounds. Now there’s a conversation to be had! We were delighted by their stories about traveling around the world, living in the Guangdong father’s village for three months with all five teenage children in tow, and visiting Vancouver, Cuba, New Orleans and San Francisco during this last venture. How’s that for independent travel?!!

Since my birthday last month and all the greetings, I am hoping to collect birthdays from friends so I can reciprocate. Looking ahead for August, a Happy birthday wish to Pam in Chicago, niece Pam in Albany, New York, and old friend Karen in Oakland. Send me your date if you haven’t already, and I’ll keep you on my list!

This day completes the third 72+8 days around the world. Thanks to all for your input and comments on the survey. You can see the results after each question. It’s a valuable tool to help me improve my blogging skills! I’ll be posting once a month to keep the news up to date, during which time I will develop and share my plans for travelswithmyselfandothers. Enjoy your summer everyone! Stay cool, as we always are in San Francisco!!

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