San Francisco’s Old Chinese Cemetery

Just south of the city, but, oddly, not in the necropolis of Colma itself, sits a hidden bit of San Francisco history: the Chinese Cemetery in Daly City.

During the Gold Rush and after, family associations (the legendary “Six Companies”) would arrange for remains to be transported back to China–those too poor to afford this would end up in one of the city cemeteries dotted around San Francisco. When the City made the decision to no longer allow burials in the municipal boundaries and moved the cemeteries to Colma, so too did a unique Chinese cemetery begin to develop on a dry hill above the Serramonte neighborhood. And, fittingly enough, you may look up directly overheard, and see the Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong just after takeoff from SFO, testifying to the centuries of links between the two regions.

Today, twice a year, hundreds of Chinese families come to burn incense, light fireworks, and honor their predecessors. But how many come by the two small potters’ fields at the opposite corners of the cemetery?

Shhhh! It’s OK to be German (Again).

History is rarely this tidy. Exactly one hundred years after Kaiser Wilhelm gave Austria his famous ‘blank check’ in 1914, Mario Götze kicks the decisive goal to win the 2014 World Cup for Germany. The media on both sides of the Atlantic respond: a century of tarnished national identity, absolved in an instant! Or is it even more surprising that we still think in terms of nineteenth-century ‘national identities’?

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International Tipping Guide for Space Aliens

Two space aliens depart the planet Zoltar for different locations on Earth (but each earning exactly 67,345,871,243 Star Alliance miles in the process).

One lands in San Francisco. The other lands in Berlin. Both are, understandably, quite hungry, and each one goes a restaurant to consume mass quantities of local (but non-sentient) animals. Then what?
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Changing Gears: Biking the ‘Other’ San Francisco Bridge

Regular readers may have noticed that on weekends we switch things up a bit and report on local San Francisco activities, travel, and culture. I call these posts “Changing Gears”. Today we’re going to do the ‘quintessential Bay Area tour’: biking the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and back to the City via ferry. I say ‘other’ in jest here, given the huge surge in interest in the new Bay Bridge East Span…

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Changing Gears: The People’s Bridge

While not a branding story (at least not yet!), the new East Span of the Bay Bridge, which opened two weeks ago, is a signature accomplishment. Herewith a tour of the new bike and walking path, which will (one day) connect San Francisco and the East Bay. Gorgeous and highly recommended, with two caveats: first, you’re not on the north, Marin-facing side (as I and many thought) but rather the south side of the span, and second, that means you’re mostly looking at the not-yet-demolished older structure. However, once the old section comes down, the path will be even more spectacular.

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