Friday, August 07, 2009

Fun and surprises in San Francisco

Meet Beth and Moe, two of my best friends in the whole world. When I was a freshman in college at the University of California, Irvine, I had the amazing good luck to be plunked into a dorm room next door to these two. I rapidly learned that I had little in common with my roommates, but that Beth and Moe and I would be lifelong friends. Unfortunately, Moe lives down in Southern California and I don't get to see her nearly as often as I'd like.

But about 2 weeks ago, we finally got together in San Francisco, a trip we'd planned to celebrate a significant birthday for Moe. And what a time we had! We stayed at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, a San Francisco landmark (and got an amazingly great rate, thanks to had dinner at the Tonga Room in the Fairmont Hotel (which is like Disneyland's Tiki room but without the singing birds and flowers), then went to see "Wicked" which surpassed our very high expectations.

The following day, we rode cable cars and walked all over the place. You know, you really doln't want to walk up one of SF's hills if you can ride...

At one point, we were strolling along Fisherman's Wharf yakking away (as we do, non-stop), and suddenly a bush jumped out at us. Beth gasped, "geesus!" to which the bush replied, "I AM NOT JESUS!" When we'd caught our breaths (and stopped laughing) we realized that we'd had an encounter with the famous (infamous?) Bushman of San Francisco. He sits on a milk crate, tucked next to a mailbox or garbage can, and he holds a hand-made hedge-like bundle of branches. And then he scares passersby. Given that San Franciso has a pretty wide assortment of homeless folks and/or street performers asking for money (we'd been serenaded while waiting in line for the cable car earlier that day), I was impressed at the ingenuity of this guy. I mean, he was certainly entertaining, and it was certainly original. Turns out he has been doing this in SF's Wharf area since 1980! You can see him here:

If you've got a bit more time, you can watch this mini-documentary about him:

And check out this rather humorous article about him from the SF Chronicle which discusses his "act" as "performance art."

Our encounter with the Bushman not only amused us at the time, but kept us talking (enough to research him when we got home.) We learned that he claims to have made as much as $60,000 in a year from the donations he gets. Just goes to show that there are all sorts of career paths out there, eh?


  1. Such an interesting character. Too funny. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I remember this guy from a trip to SF many years ago. What a character! But it never occurred to me to call it a "career choice" until you said something!

  3. Well I thought we had researhced SF to the nth degree but there was nothing about the Bushman in the guide books! How was the food at the tonga room? We are staying at the Fairmont

  4. LOL, that's hilarious!

  5. I'm so glad you liked Wicked! Claire and I saw it a few years ago and we still love listening to the soundtrack.