Saturday, August 1, 2015

Youth Hostel Central, 116 Turk, San Francisco

After all the fun we had at the Exploratorium, we headed back to the Tenderloin to check in at Youth Hostel Central. I've heard a lot of overblown warnings about "bad" neighborhoods in the past and never really felt threatened or uncomfortable in any area of Hong Kong, Seoul, Japan, London or Tijuana that I explored but perhaps I was lucky. For the most part, that was true enough of the Tenderloin, too, though I did notice some guys tried to intimidate Antho as they walked past us…

Unfortunately, I have to admit that the negativity about this place is not terribly overblown. The view from our room was nothing special but the alleyway to the left was a hangout spot throughout all hours of the day, with people blasting music and rolling/smoking blunts all day long and well into the evening.

Another room with a sink and no bathroom.

The entryway is pretty...

At least once you get past the gate...

San Francisco is really a city that was engineered without the physically handicapped in mind. Antho and I commented on the lack of accessibility multiple times throughout our stay- most buildings have lots of stairs and no elevators! Neither Casa Loma nor Youth Hostel Central had elevators, so if you have mobility challenges you may want to consider other lodging. :(

Relaxing after a long day's adventure.

Writing on the door…hmm…

When we got back to the hotel that evening we grabbed some deliciously loaded nachos from a tiny taquieria. 

The neighborhood itself had a large population of people without homes, some tucked away into alcoves while others puttered along the walkways. As we returned to our hotel later in the evening we witnessed a group of Jesus kids try to talk to a man in a wheelchair about their religion and offer him food, but he told them off. There was a broken television set on the sidewalk that hadn't been there earlier in the day and broken glass littered the streets. Many of the small shops and markets were closed, the few that remained open had a buzz of activity and people loitering nearby…the worst part was the next morning, when we first went downstairs to stretch our legs. Yelling started to fill the street and we witnessed a man harassing and assaulting a homeless woman, literally punching her in the head, grabbing her by the hair and kicking. Other vagrants stepped in to defend the woman, and once the man walked away we decided it was most definitely time to officially check out of our room. Upstairs I called our AirBnB host Christian to confirm if we could possibly check in early and as soon as we were confirmed we moved out.

By the time we'd grabbed our things and made it back downstairs (only about 10 minutes had elapsed) several cops had shown up. At least the response time is fast! Definitely better than response times seem to be in Vegas.

From here we went to West Oakland, where we had an amazing stay with our AirBnB hosts

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