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My Coast to Coast Vacation, Part 1: West Coast

10 May

My Coast to Coast Vacation was very spur of the moment and probably one of the most spontaneous thing I ever did. It’s truly something that I will always look back on with a smile on my face.

Admittedly, it didn’t start off well when one of my flights from Portland to San Francisco got cancelled and I was delayed getting there by a few hours changing up my plans. But once I got there, it was relatively smooth sailing and I got to stay with one of the nicest and loving person I know- my aunt!

I crammed a lot on the first day I was able to explore San Francisco. One of the things I wanted to do during my vacation was to explore both The Castro and The Stonewall Inn. And, so, in San Francisco, I went to The Castro. Having come out only a few years ago, I always wanted to come here without feeling ashamed of who I was. And from my first sighting of a rainbow flag, I felt welcome.

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I walked past the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy. And, fortunately, it wouldn’t be the last Harvey Milk memorial I would see!

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Walking around, I noticed bronze plaques on the ground depicting LGBTQ figures throughout history. Being the completist I am, I made sure to see all 28 (and growing!) of The Rainbow Honor Walk. Hopefully, you can stroll through and read about these amazing people!

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I wanted to check out the GLBT Historical Society Museum and it was a nice surprise to learn First Wednesdays meant free admission. Definitely the most moving was getting to hear a snippet of Harvey Milk’s last words part of their permanent exhibition, Queer Past Becomes Present. You can listen to the audio here.

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I enjoyed the atmosphere and the suggestive names of the businesses there. Some other sights I saw in The Castro…

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My favorite place was Harvey Milk’s former camera shop which now housed the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Store. I just loved the fact that they preserved the space so I made a donation. The employee working there was quite nice as well.

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While I’ll have another post on my other blog about the bookstores and libraries I visited during my Coast to Coast vacation, I’d like to say I finally got to go to the Filipino bookstore- Arkipelago Books– after what seemed like forever. This tiny store got rather busy and there seemed to be lots of literary things going on.

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It was right next to the Bayanihan Community Center. And, another thing I wanted to do while I was in San Francisco was to explore its Filipino history including the street where I grew up on for some of the stories I want to write.

I checked out the hearts in Union Square…

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… and the Cable Car Museum

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… on my way to Chinatown.

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I also stopped by the Grace Cathedral where I wanted to walk its two labyrinths. I lit a candle and prayed for a better world. I even stumbled upon a library there!

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I closed out the day by walking to the Financial District and North Beach.

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After all that walking, I was seriously considering staying in the next day and resting but I went off to see a Carnegie library in South San Francisco and a children’s bookstore in Berkeley. I hadn’t been to Berkeley before so it was nice to go there.

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After that, I spent most of my time looking at art. First was a Filipino mural.

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And the other was in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. There was so many cool things to look at! I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was happy to see they had a library there as well.The Public Knowledge Library is a pop-up branch of the San Francisco Public Library.

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After that, I spent some time with my grandma and cousin. And I was off to New York for the first time!

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