Whistling through the streets of San Francisco on Ben’s bike early in the morning is truly envigorating. It is a very beautiful morning and of course it is the 20th of April – 4/20. 420 is hippy code for weed as that is the time they got out of school to start an afternoon of doobies. Today thus is international pot day. However that is not why I am back in SF. I have to have my biometrics done to get a document that officially allows me to be out of the U.S. for a 2 year period and yet retain my Green Card. The office for this kind of thing is on Broadway down close to the Bayshore. So, down the Panhandle, down Oak, take a left onto Page. Then downhill all the way to Market. It is super exhilarating. On Market, I join a pack of hard core bikers and we swoop and dodge our way down to the Embarcadero. Now I cruise past the Ferry Building, the Exploratorium, as the sea gets bluer and the sky follows suit. I am early so I spend some time watching old Chinese guys catching Mackerel off the pier at the end of Broadway.
I walk into the immigration building half an hour early.
“No problem, buddy, we ‘ll take you straight away. Just fill in this form.” Before I have finished, my number is called. ” I am so sorry, I have not finished my form.” “Just give it here, sir. I ‘ll do it for you.” 4 mins later after fingerprinting and photography and lots of “Have a good one!” from all the staff, I am back on the street.
I spend the morning wandering around Little Italy and Chinatown and end up having a great lunch in Fisherman’s Wharf.
Feeling good; I bike back up Embarcadero, back up Market in a mini pack with 2 very fit Chinese women and so onto the legendary Wiggle. I wrote about this great bike route in a previous blog: https://spikekalashnikov.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/the-wiggle/
I am pleasantly surprised by my lack of, lack of breath if you see what I mean.
Anyway by the time I get home the streets are thronged with people going to the Golden Gate Park to celebrate 4/20. I make my way to Hippy Hill the epicentre of global dope culture. Come here any time and there are dipsy hippies dancing to the inconsistent rythms of stoners bashing on tablas. It is cute. Today is not like that.
The thousands of people are principally young Latino gangsta kinda. Then a lot lot of haughty, elegant but distant Afro Americans. Not a tie dye in sight. No bad feeling but no longer Peace and Laugh.
Everyone is smoking dope. At exactly 4:20 pm a few people shout out,” Hey Guys it is 4/20 like we should do something!” Everyone is too stoned to notice. I pedal home a sadder but a wiser man.