While all the world seems to be crashing around us, with violence and renewed tensions in the Middle East, catastrophe beyond description in the Gulf of Mexico, quagmire in Afghanistan, bankruptcy and bailouts on Wall Street, unemployment on Main Street, and on and on, remember one thing though: We still have San Francisco Chinatown to escape to, an enchanting oasis of Chinese culture, past and present, within a city of enchantment
Back in May, I posted some photos of my recent sojourn to my old stomping grounds in San Francisco (click here), but then was whisked away to Haiti and have been pouring out photos of Haiti ever since, when not dealing with such traumatic topics as the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, or of course the Gulf oil spill. So I am just now getting to the next batch of photos on Chinatown, which will, I guarantee you, distract you from the cares of the world for at least a few minutes of your time, so enjoy:
Some of the ornate Chinese architecture in Portsmouth Square.
Closeup as darkness falls.
Looking east we see the tall Chinese Cultural Center immediately beyond the gate, slightly left, and then the TransAmerica Pyramid rising above that.
In the distance farther south are several more sky-scrapers of the ritzy financial district, intersected by famous streets like Montgomery, Sansome, Kearny and Battery, where vast transactions have occurred over the decades.
But our target tonight is Chinatown, such as this scene. Stores and restaurants stay open pretty late in Chinatown.
After walking a few blocks, I ran across the Chinese version of street musicians, a small and intense orchestra enlivening the air with traditional Chinese music. Fascinating!
Chinese instruments are unique to the West, and their musical scale is different too.
Notice how ornate some of the instruments are.
Our mild-mannered instrumentalist. She may be a business executive by day for all I know.
Quite serious demeanors tonight
Bustling night businesses
I had to hightail it to Concord an hour a way at this point, but tomorrow is another day: