Travel blogger says the Mission rocks, is basically Latin America

Zara, a Portuguese contributor to a travel blog called Backpack Me, LOVES the Mission. Here’s what she has to say…

Comparing it to other SF neighborhoods:

I leave behind elegantly manicured neighborhoods, to enter what I’d already dare to call Latin America.

Comparing it to Noe Valley in particular:

Baby strollers rolling into bagel shops was the world up the hill. Down here, I see brunette ladies with overloaded bags full of groceries. Cafes have been replaced by fresh fruit and vegetable stores, that display heaps of aromatic cilantro, tomatoes, varieties of potatoes and, of course, corn products in all shapes and sizes.

She tries a little experiment:

Walking around Mission, I decide to do a little experiment and see if I’d go by the entire afternoon without speaking a word of English. Absolutely no problem!

She enjoys a little flirting:

I buy a bag of tomatoes and receive a “You’re welcome, Preciosa” as an answer. I like that! I got used to a little flirting while shopping at the market in Santiago de Chile… and now a simple self check-out at the bigger supermarkets doesn’t cut it for me anymore.

She does allow that there’ve been some changes in the neighborhood in recent years, but it’s no big deal:

If it wasn’t for the hipster influx that The Mission has been receiving in recent years (and who can blame them, really… this place rocks!) I could almost forget I am in the USA.

On Mission residents:

Residents exchange words in Spanglish. They tend to be loud and laugh a lot. Like just back home.

On Starbucks:

You don’t see Starbucks around here. But you do see a church in almost every street.

Phewf! Maybe the Mission’s still got it after all! Read on for lots more pics and commentary.

Is Dia de los Muertos perfectly okay and *you’re* the bummer because you’re mad about it?

Maybe political activism is the problem, maybe white people are the problem, maybe the Internet is the problem, maybe Christianity is the problem — or maybe there is no problem. Maybe we all just need to chill. In the comments section of the “Dear White People” post, commenter Haza Anaya says:

The author is being silly… it ain’t your party, and so you cant keep people out! I’m Mexican (from Ciudad Juarez), and my whole family was always welcoming and open to other people, whether it was our American white friends, or our buddies from Japan, etc., and we would always invite them to participate however they saw fit. This idea of getting snooty about people “doing it wrong” is ridiculous and not part of our culture. It’s very important to not be so delicate about such things. Like my abuelita (grandma) used to say “el que se enoja, pierde!”, “whoever gets mad, loses”. If you were at my Mexican family Day of the Dead party, complaining about people appropriating our culture like you are, you’d get lots of eyerolls. And the drunken white hipsters would get served another cerveza, cuz at least they’re in the right spirit of celebration. You’re asking for people to “challenge” these so called colonizers? To “boycott” their events? Instead I challenge people like you that get butthurt. I find your indignation laughable. I’ll appropriate some foreign culture and give you this quote from our Chinese brother Confucius: “He who takes offense when none is intended is a fool. He who takes offense when offense is intended is a bigger fool.” Perhaps learn one of the cultural lessons we celebrate on the Day of the Dead: Don’t take yourself so serious, cuz we’re all going to die someday! Live life! Love! Celebrate! [link]

[Photo by Rusty Hodge]

Is Christianity turning Dia de los Muertos into a bummer?

I mean:

  1. Christianity is a total bummer
  2. Without Christianity, white people (a people who are ruining Dia de los Muertos) never would have come to the new world in the first place
  3. Without Christianity, Dia de los Muertos wouldn’t even exist as we know it today, I mean
  4. Al Gore is Christian, and he invented the Internet, which destroyed Dia de los Muertos

So.

[Photo by Rusty Hodge]

Is the Internet turning Dia de los Muertos into a bummer?

Without the Internet:

  1. There wouldn’t be so many white people in the Mission trying to gentrify the festivities
  2. The absence of white people gentrifying things in the Mission would negate the need for the politicization of formerly stoic, spiritual, neighborhood traditions

Burn the Internet!

[Photo by Rusty Hodge]

Election Day public service announcement

13 reasons why our pal Daisy hates Dolores Park

I love Daisy. Her latest for Thrillist is “Why I Hate Something You Probably Love: Dolores Park” and I don’t hate it. Here’s the beginning:

If you ask almost any San Franciscan where they like to hang out on sunny days, they’ll give you the same answer: Dolores Park. Something about the good weather and the people and the close proximity to the three-hour wait for Bi-Rite ice cream. They just cannot get enough of Dolores Park. And by “they”, I mean “you”. YOU LOVE IT.

And hey, good on you. I’m all for people loving what they love. But in this case, I just don’t get it — at all. Dolores Park actually totally sucks. Like, I would rather be burned by one of the fire-swirling hula hoopers than have to hang out there for an afternoon. Before you judge, read my 13 reasons why.

Read on for the 13 reasons.

[Photo by Leland Zuñiga, via It's Always Sunny in San Francisco]

Biting criticism of local media

The Examiner and the Guardian are pretty chill though?

An editorial regarding ISIS

TK riffs on SF Weekly’s 90s point of view

[via Tom Tomorrow]

After coming across SF Weekly’s online archive, TK over at 40 Going on 28 gives a modern perspective to their 1990s take on the local food scene.

There’s lots of fun stuff in there, but I’m enjoying reading the restaurant reviews, mostly because almost every restaurant reviewed no longer exists and because the prices listed for the food seem hilariously low.

Anyone remember Paella La Movida, on 16th between Guerrero and Dolores?  I don’t.  I guess it was where Mozzeria is now.

La Movida is the latest snappy addition to a corridor of 16th Street between Dolores and Mission that has lately been blooming with boho chic. These days the neighborhood, with its slightly seedy glamour, seems a lot like the East Village in New York, or Earls Court in London.

More here.

And I agree, R.I.P. Dave Eggers’ Smarter Feller.

[h/t Burrito Justice]

Gentrification as immigration

In a piece titled “Stop Complaining About Gentrification Unless You Know What It Is,” io9 editor Annalee Newitz looks a little deeper at the topic of the day:

Gentrification is a form of immigration, though almost nobody calls it that. People who gentrify are usually new transplants to a city, changing it to suit their particular cultural needs and whims. That’s why the criticism of gentrification often sounds like a distorted version of anti-immigrant sentiment: “They have changed our neighborhoods; their shops and homes are repulsive; we no longer feel welcome here.” The difference is that the people we call immigrants are usually not rich. Gentrifiers are.

She then looks at Istanbul and Paris, and obviously San Francisco, and eventually draws this conclusion:

When different immigrant groups struggle with each other to reshape the city, gentrification is one possible outcome. There are other possible outcomes, too. City planners can manage development so that there is enough room for neighborhoods to grow without kicking anyone out. A recent study revealed that creating income-segregated neighborhoods leads to less social mobility for everyone, cementing us into a rigidly class-divided society. More than anything, we need to prevent neighborhoods from becoming divided by class.

A first step would be to revise our attitude toward immigration in cities. Instead of seeing immigrants as aliens, we should welcome their fresh perspectives, their wealth of new cultural traditions — and yes, their cash infusions. As twentieth century cities swell into twenty-first century megacities, we must make room for all our immigrant populations, rich and poor alike. The only crime is in sacrificing one to make way for the other.

The only crime. Read on for lots more data and storytelling and relevant photos.

[Photo by Andrew Sarkarati]