Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Peace, love and moving by two wheels on the Left Coast

Another few weeks on the beautiful Left Coast, including cycling, hippies, protests and finger-sucking.

At the May Day Protest.  Down with the 1% Man!
On May Day, I went to a protest downtown where laborours, immigrants, anti-poverty activists and the Occupy movement joined together to recognize the massive change needed to protect workers' rights.  Later that day, I visited the Berkeley campus, heart of some of the more radical and noted thinkers of our time, including my personal favourite George Lakoff.  It's amazing to be immersed in this culture of innovation around change - the hopelessness I've felt in other activist events and movements doesn't so much exist here.  From Occupiers to academics, people are trying to change the work for the better.

I saw another version of this when I visited La Tierra, a commune in Sebastopol, north of San Francisco.  A friend had grown up there and she invited me to their May festival, where we (no one will be surprised by this): pot-lucked, played music, danced wildly and wove colourful ribbons around the Maypole. I also got to learn about the history of the commune, how people who lived there have developed "chosen" family members that, while not related to them by blood, are extremely important to them, and how people learned to communicate with each other and problem-solve. It's really quite brilliant - the relationships these people have with each other are WAY healthier than almost any others I've heard of.

At an "energizer station" with my new bike to work day bag in the Presidio, SF
I also celebrated Bike to Work Day with the awesome folks at the SF Bike Coalition.  Now, Bike to Work day is always fun, but in San Francisco, it's a massive celebration.  I'm talking 27 stations with refreshments and high fives, hundreds of volunteers, 10 of the eleven city councillors cycling to work, including the mayor (hear that, Ottawa?), prizes and an awesome bike-party.  I biked to work in heels and a skirt, got fed the entire day, won a sweet golden gate bridge cycling jersey (which now means I'll have to buy matching spandex pants, take 6-hour rides around the bay "just for fun" and nearly run tourists of the GG Bridge), and danced by bum off with three fabulous women I met at the Bike Party.

My friend Alana and I with our fabulous new hairstyles
Oh, and the finger-sucking?  That was at a cinco de mayo party at one of my fav places in San Francisco, El Rio, where I had my hair done for free in a 50s-style beehive, got Navajo fry bread from my buddy Rocky, watched charming burlesque, and met a fabulous gay Israeli man who extremely sensually (and very publicly) liked honey off my fingers.  One thing I'll say for SF - there is nowhere like it.

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