Returning to California

Reflections on Returning to California

Smooth Re-entry to the U.S.

0regon Reflections

I finally made it back to California after a three-year absence. Overall, not too bad. Expensive as hell, crowded, too many homeless people, too many druggies, too much crime. But it is not the dystopian hell hole portrayed on FOX News and the right-wing media.

Here are my reflections, along with some photos and some of my Bay Area-based stories and poems.

I was traveling with my wife, her brother, his wife, and their 12-year-old Korean niece. First time for my sister-in-law and niece to visit the Bay Area. We stayed at Travis AFB near Fairfield because the hotel costs were so high in the Bay Area.







Berkeley 1975 Street Scenes


Berkeley Time Travels

674 Santa Rosa My Childhood Home


Free Roaming in Berkeley as a Child

As you may know, I grew up almost 55 years ago in the Thousand Oaks Neighborhood of Berkeley. Solano Avenue was the local commercial street lined with restaurants and called Berkeley’s Chinatown because of all the Asian restaurants and Asian residents living there. It was also along with the hills, the “white republican sector” of town. Now there are almost no Republicans living in the city.

Berkeley has a lot of nice new housing, mostly high-rise apartments all over the place, who knows one of them could be mine in a few years. Solano Avenue had a lot of new restaurants to check out and lots of my favorite old ones are there.

Sad to see some of the Movie places closed, I think that there are only two movies left in Berkeley except for a Bollywood Indian movie theater in little Bombay.

For those of you who don’t know, Berkeley is so much more than Cal. There are ten official neighborhoods according to the Berkeley tourism office. Demographically the city has about 130k permanent residents, with an additional 30k when school is in session.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Berkeley (/ˈbɜːrkli/ BURK-lee) is a city on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay in northern Alameda County, California, United States. It is named after the 18th-century Anglo-Irish bishop and philosopher George Berkeley. It borders the cities of Oakland and Emeryville to the south the city of Albany and the unincorporated community of Kensington to the north. Its eastern border with Contra Costa County generally follows the ridge of the Berkeley Hills. The 2020 census recorded a population of 124,321.

Berkeley is home to the oldest campus in the University of California, the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is managed and operated by the university. It also has the Graduate Theological Union, one of the largest religious studies institutions in the world. Berkeley is considered one of the most socially progressive cities in the United States.

The 2020 United States Census[90] reported that Berkeley had a population of 124,321. The population density was 11,874 people per square mile of land area (4,584/km2). The racial makeup of Berkeley was 62,450 (50.2%) White, 9,495 (7.6%) Black or African American, 24,701 (19.9%) Asian, 253 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 226 (0.2%) from Native American, 1,109 (0.9%) from other races, and 9,069 (7.2%) multiracial (two or more races). There were 17,018 (13.7%) of Hispanic or Latino ancestry, of any race.

The neighborhoods are.

The Hills

The hills are mostly white and wealthy. Many people commute to SF or are affiliated with the University. At the top of the hills is Grizzly Peak BLD which features the best views of the entire East Bay. Behind the hills lie Tilden Park, Wildlife Canyon, and Inspiration Point. Favorite haunts of my growing up.

tilden park

Tilden Regional Park is a regional park in the East Bay of California. It is between the Berkeley Hills and San Pablo Ridge.

Thousand Oaks/Solano

Thousand Oaks neighborhood, where I grew up, lies at the bottom of the hills, and is centered on Solano Avenue which is lined with restaurants and shops. It blends into Albany which was a white working-class enclave back in the day. It was known as Berkeley’s Chinatown due to the numerous Asian restaurants in the area, which are still there. I went to Thousand Oaks Elementary where Kamala Harris went a few years after I went there. The movie theater unfortunately closed.

North Berkeley







Has several sub-neighborhoods and has a BART station. It is also the location of King Middle School where I went as a teenager. There are several small restaurants and businesses throughout the neighborhood. Along Shattuck, the main street is Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto and the home of the original Peets Coffee – the best coffee shop in Berkeley and where the premium coffee revolution started in the late 50s.


Downtown has been transformed with lots of high-rise apartments and a thriving Arts District. Sadly, the five movie theaters have all closed, leaving the Pacific Film Institute the only theater in town. There are a lot of restaurants and coffee shops downtown as well as office buildings. There are several rooftop terrace restaurants. We had dinner in the Study Room on top of the new Marriot. Great views, and decent though expensive food. We dropped $350 for seven people. Berkeley High School is located downtown as is the main public library.  Downtown is a booming area filled with apartments, resturants and several live theathers including Berkeley Rep.  It is also the site of the Berkeley Film Archives, the last movie theather in Berkeley, and the Berkeley Art Museum.

berkeley friends


the University Campus domiantes the city as is to be expected.  there are three student districts near the campus known as Northside, Southside and College Avenue. Each features resturants, shopping and housing for student, faculty and staff.  The northside is also called seminary hill because of all the religious seminaries there – Buddhist, Christian and now a Muslim seminary as well.

.The campus is huge and spreads out from downtown to the hills but most of the campus is the center of the campus a short block away from Telegraph on the South and Hearst on the North. Despite the banning of affirmative action, CAL has done a good job – lots of Asian students, international studies, some Hispanic and some blacks, and less than 50 percent white.

Lots of activities on Campus, music, and free lectures open to the public. About half the students live on or near Campus but housing students faculty and staff is a huge problem for the University community. Just west of the Campus is the new home of the Berkeley Art Museum and The Pacific Film Institute which screens classic, art, and international movies every night


“Gorgeous sunset from UC Berkeley!”





Telegraph Avenue runs south from the Campus and into Oakland. It is lined with services for students, and lots of restaurants. Lots of apartments nearby. Used to have a lot of independent bookstores, but a few are still there.

Dwight Street and Telegraph seems stuck in 1969. People’s Park is being torn down to be turned into more student housing although they are going to keep a small park there. Right now, it is a homeless encampment and has been an eyesore for years.

South Berkeley

South Berkeley lies between Telegraph, Shattuck, and Sacramento along Ashby Avenue where there is BART station. It also has lots of restaurants and places to go.  Back in the day, it was also the unofficial heart of Black Berkeley as Berkeley was 40 percent black, now it is about 6 percent black due to the high cost of real estate in Berkeley where the medium price of a house is over a million and the average rent is over $2,500 per month.

College Avenue Elmwood Rockridge

College Aveue is just west of Telegraph and is lined with residential housing, including the fraternities and sororities.  It also has the International House which is a dormitory for foreign students.  Elwood is a residential shopping district as is Claremont and Rockrige which is just across the border in Oakland and borders on Piedmont, a  traditional wealthy enclave independent of Oakland.

Elmwood is on College Avenue and is similar to Solano Avenue but a bit smaller. Nearby is the Claremont Hotel and neighborhood one of the wealthiest enclaves in Berkeley.

Gilman Street

Gilman is in northwest Berkeley and was a working-class enclave -still is to a certain extent. Nice neighborhood eateries, and live music spaces


Albany is a suburban neighborhood just west of Berkeley between El Cerito and Gilman district centered on Solano and San Pablo Avenues.  It use to be mostly white working class, but is not close to 50 Asian American.

Lorin and North Oakland including Korean Town

To the west of South Berkeley is the Lorin neighborhood which is an up-and-coming neighborhood. To the south is North Oakland including the second-largest Korean town on the West Coast after LA.
This was the traditional heart of Black Berkeley. There are still a lot of blacks living in Berkeley but due to the high rent and housing costs, the city is only seven percent black, when I was a young lad, it was 40 percent black and Oakland was 60 percent black.

West Berkely/Marina

West Berkeley has been gentrified beyond recognition. Back in the day, it was 90 percent black.  I spent my first few years there as that was the only neighborhood a junior Cal professor could afford. It is no longer mostly black and is a hipster neighborhood. Lots of brew pubs in the area. Lots of students live here too.
The marina is on the bay. The bay trail runs through the neighborhood. There are restaurants on the bay and the dock of the Bay which is the site of the famous song.

SItting on the Dock of the Bay

the dock of the bay
the dock of the bay
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Sittin’ in the morning sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evening comes
Watching the ships roll in
Then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time
I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the Frisco Bay
‘Cause I’ve had nothing to live for
And look like nothing’s gonna come my way
So, I’m just gon’ sit on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m sittin’ on the dock of a bay
Wastin’ time
Looks like nothing’s gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can’t do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I’ll remain the same, listen
Sittin’ here resting my bones
And this loneliness won’t leave me alone
2,000 miles I roam
Just to make this dock my home, now
I’m just gon’ sit at the dock of a bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
Sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

Nearby are Albany, El Cerrito, Oakland, Richmond, and Emeryville. I heard good things about Alameda but did not have time to visit.

Berkeley poems

How Berkeley Can You Be?

Berkeley is what it is,
and sometimes
Berkeley is what it ain’t.

tell me.
How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Tell me
tell me.
if you think you know

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

How Berkeley can you be?
Berkeley is everything.
Berkeley is the center.
of the universe

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

and Berkeley
in Berkeley.
and you are Berkeley.

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

You have a Berkeley thing going on.
You have Berkeley in your soul.
Berkeley has taken over your soul,

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

And you are Berkeley.
Born and raised.
Berkeley until you die, dude.
Berkeley until you die, dude.

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Berkeley is more than just the students.
Berkeley is more than that.
As you know

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Berkeley is more than just weed and beer.
Which is all you need?

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Berkeley is more.
That is the best food.
In the universe

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Berkeley is more than the best coffee.
In the world
Peet’s coffee of course

Nothing else will do.
If you are true, Berkeley.

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Berkeley is more.
That Cal Football
Which rules?

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Berkeley is Asian
Berkeley is Gay

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Berkeley is white.
Berkeley is black.

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Berkeley is brown.
Berkeley is Jewish

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Berkeley is free-thinking.
Berkeley hate

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Berkeley is free to love.
Berkeley is rock and roll.
Until you die

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Berkeley if Funk
Berkeley is Hip Hop
Berkeley is hipness itself.

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Berkeley is all of that.
And so much more.

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

let your inner Berkeley out.
feel the Berkeley Freak come out.

how Berkeley can you be.
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Join the Berzerkly Vibe
Feel the Berkeley in your soul.

How Berkeley can you be?
Can you be in Berkeley,
Until you die?

How Berkeley can you be,
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Long live Berkeley
The best city
In the universe.

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

And it is your city.
Your responsibility
To be as Berkeley

As you wanna be.
Until the day you die.

How Berkeley can you be?
How Berkeley do you wanna be?

Hark, I Hear the Spirits of Berkeley Calling Me Home. Berkeley

Long Version

I hear the spirits.
Of Berkeley
Call me home.

The more I roam in this world.
The more I am drawn.
Back to the land
From whence I came.

Berkeley, California
Is what it is?
And sometimes
It is what it ain’t.

Berkely is a “how Berkeley, can you be vibe” town,

Home to CAL with 40,000 students who flood into the city nine months of the year, University professors, staff, and students,

Yet Berkeley is so much more the ultimate college town.

It is delicious food is everywhere around the corner sort of town, An artisanal craft beer, and spirits, coffee, herbal tea, Kombucha, and wine-drinking city, where coca-cola is seldom served, gourmet ghetto, inventor of the new American cuisine revolution, home of Chez Panisse, the French Laundry, and so many other restaurants, a place where you can find every cuisine of the world at a most affordable price, a town where there are more restaurants per capita than anywhere else, where if you wanted to eat dinner at a different restaurant every day it would take you years to do so, with new places opening and closing every day.

an anti-big box store vibe, yet with a lively small business sector, more restaurants and coffee shops per capita than almost anywhere else, lots of upscale groceries, used have a large Co-op (my father was the President), and ethnic foods markets, organic food markets, Berkeley Bowl market, farmers markets, plus usual corporate chain food stores.

MOES book rules, where Howl was written, where the Beatnik writers and culture types used to hang out, and their spiritual descendants still do.
Philip K Dicks hometown, (Philip K dick dated my mom before she met my father, end personal disclosures) Thornton Wilder and so many other great writers back in the day and here and now, Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg lived and loved there,

Craft beer paradise, the hometown of Peets coffee, still the best damn coffee even though they have gone corporate, the coffee revolution of the late 50s and 60’s started here in the Coffee mecca of the United States, where Café Med proudly proclaimed to one and all.

‘We Don’t Serve Establishment Coffee,

They invented the American version of the Latte” It seems there are more coffee shops in Berkeley per capita than almost anywhere else in the country,

Berkeley is also the home of vibrant tea, smoothies, artisanal spirits, craft beer, and wine culture with urban wineries and brew pubs everywhere.

a gluten-friendly city with the best GF pizza in the world the Berkeley Cheese Collective, a foodies delight,

a diverse although less day by day as it is now a very expensive city,

a very ethnic town, used to have the largest Finnish community in the U.S, lots of Russians and Eastern Europeans back in the day, a city with people, from all over the known world, where 250 different languages are spoken at home, an African-American town, used to be a very black town, 40 percent back in the 70’s now perhaps twenty percent, a middle-class suburb of Oakland back in the day, but with a black lower class, working class, who are still hanging on somehow, but still a lot of my African Americans brothers and sisters hanging on despite the high rents and housing costs, many properties rich but cash poor, joined by so many African immigrants and Caribbean African immigrants as well, an Asian American city, home of a vibrant Chinese-American community, Korean-American, Hispanic City, Ohlone Tribal city, Native Americans from all different tribes still around the city, Japanese-American, Indian-American city, an Iranian diaspora, and now Afghani diaspora as well,
French people, European people, Jewish people, but no Jewish space Lazers yet, Indian American little Mumbai community where you can get the latest Bollywood movies, food, and Indian political gossip,

an artistic city, a creative city, a Great art Museum at CAL, home of the Pacific Film Archives a real treasure for movie lovers, with more movie theaters per capita than anywhere else,

, same for bookstores, music stores,

Rock n Roll fantasy world,
A Motown-friendly city,
A funk lovers paradise
A Blues lover mecca

And there are even country fans.

a musical city -hometown to the Earthquake, Green Day, Jimmi Hendrix’s last high school, Smoke and Fog,

New flash for Tju Dave – hey dude, I loved your song, you ain’t Berkeley enough” just want to say I represent that remark, but I represent Berkeley worldwide dude and I am still as Berkeley as I wanna be, anywhere in the world, dude, end news flash.

the Psychotic Pineapple, Rubinoos, and so many others.
Tower of Power “East Bay Grease sort of town,

A Berkeley High School rocks place, (personal disclosures I was the BHS student body president in 1973-1974),

the home of the song, “Sitting by the Dock of the Bay,”

An anti-establishment sort of city yet filled with students studying to be part of that despised establishment, all vowing to change the world but the world always changes them into yet more high-price corporate drones.

with zany wacked-out politics, a city at times lost in 1969, or lost in the future, A city where being called a “conservative “is considered a vile insult,

a very progressive city, probably the most progressive city in the country, which in my opinion is a good thing, not something to be ashamed of,

a PC is a cool city that invented PC before it became a curse word of sorts, a city where there are real live Marxists, communists, and socialists but no one takes them seriously, and there are a few proto-fascist political science professors as well,
the spiritual home of the beatniks, the hippies, the yippies, and sadly the weathermen

the city that gave us “the Symbionese Liberation Army,” kidnapper of Patty Hearst,
(personal disclosure: the SLA briefly terrorized the Bay Area, and my family during the 70s calling my father “a fascist insect that preys on the life of the people, his offense = demanding that students and staff at the Peralta College be required to wear ID’s to combat a rise in violent crime on the campuses, my father not having a sense of humor did not like my joke when one morning I said,

“Good morning fascist Insect how are you today?” My mother loved it and spoke.

“Yeah, he is a fascist insect but he is our fascist insect” and laughed. My father merely glared at the two of us. End Personal disclosure)

a Political city up the Yazoo town, a one-party town but with two rival political factions, republicans and there are some of them in town, feel like they are an endangered species, (another personal disclosure, my Dad was Curtis Cosmos Aller, the President of the Berkeley Co-op from 1968 to 1985 when he died, the President of the Peralta board of Colleges, who ran for Congress in 1974 in the Democratic primary against the legendary Ron Dellums, end personal disclosure) very few Q nuts but I am sure there are some, just as there are no doubt people who believe in the lizard shapeshifter conspiracy,

(Personal note: I am a human being but once I took an online quiz to determine whether I could be part alien and the quiz said I was an alien, go figure)
A very anti-Q town, pro-science, rational type of town, filled with humanists and secular humanist types,

A hate bigotry town. Where Ann Coulter and her fellow right-wing followers are not welcome,
a town that proudly voted against Trump – 90 percent in 2016 and 2020) proud center of the “resistance” home of Antifa, BLM rules, the birthplace of the black panthers who met at the first African American high school history class in the US in the early 60s, at BHS of course, and home of the Gray Panthers, a city whose representative in Congress. Representative Barbara Lee, was the only representative to vote against the Iraq war in 2003, noting that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11, to the rest of the country she was a dangerous left-wing radical, to the Bay Area, and me, a real American Patriotic hero.

a very marijuana-friendly city where the joke has always been pulling out a joint and it cool, pulling out a cigarette and everyone wants to send you to jail, smoking cigarettes being so uncool nowadays,

at times, a very joyful city but not enough joy due to the political disputes and anger as people in Berkeley are very into political discussions and are news junkies,

A very frank town where everyone has an opinion and is not afraid to speak up,
bike friendly, environmentally friendly city, a recycling mecca, renewable energy, friendly, where the university engineers are working to solve the world.
s energy problems and coming up with solutions to the climate change crisis, solar panels everywhere, transit-friendly, zip car friendly, uber/lift friendly, BART friendly, walkable sort of town.

at times hot city, living with the constant fear of the mega drought, fires and the big one, atmospheric rivers, polar vortexes, and another global warming phenomenon as climate change becomes nightmarishly real, but most days the same, foggy cool mornings, nice pleasant in the 70s afternoons, then more fog dipping into high 40s by midnight, used to be no rain between April and October just the cool morning fog, but nowadays with climate change, we get rain even in the summer, and they joke there are two seasons now in California the rainy season October to March and fire season April to October, all due to the non-existent climate change hoax,

To the rest of the world, a very “Berserkly place”

a Buddhist-friendly city, including a Buddhist Zen Center, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Buddhist temples a Buddhist Seminary, A Tai-Chi mecca, A centric, very zen attitude sort of town,

a liberal Christian city where fundamentalists are not welcomed, where atheists, free thinkers, liberal Muslims, liberal Hindus, new age types, and Wiccans are welcomed, home of several liberal Christian seminaries, a Buddhist seminary, and now a Muslim seminary all located on Seminary Hill)

A city where making fun of the street preachers is a fun game for the militant atheists of the city (personal disclosures that were me back in the day, I loved to heckle Holly Hubert joined at times by my old friend Julia Vinograd, the bubble lady who used to blow bubbles at Holly Herbert as he ranted about how we would all go to hell for our heathen ways, Holly Hubert is long gone by now as that was almost 45 years ago)

a crazy city. a cool city, and at times a cold city,

filled with the scent of good craziness, and sometimes very bad craziness as sometimes on a bad night things can go bad if you are in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people, or are the victim of a drug deal gone bad when the guns come out to play to settle disputes, or knives are drawn and people get very crazy or are just unlucky to be caught up in the crossfire, or on a bad trip on bad drugs, just too many damn drugs and too many people whose minds were fried by the same damn drugs, in short Berkeley does have a dark side to it,

a city of big dreamers, a fast-paced city,

but for the most part, it is a friendly town, but not too friendly, A freaky place filled with freakazoids, A funky vibe, a funny town all around,

and you can have fun there as well as get lucky and meet the woman or man of your dreams, as there are lots of young single men and women looking for Mr. Good, or Ms. Good as the case may be,

An Oakland A, and SF giants town, forty-niners (although some hate them for moving to San Jose, the Northern California clone of LA. And Golden States warriors but everyone now hates the Las Vegas Raiders, as much every person born in Berkeley must hate LA, sort of part of Berkeley and the Northern Californian DNA to be hating on LA, the LA Dodgers, and now the Las Vegas Raiders.,

A live and let live z tude, A loony tunes place, A happy go lucky sort of vibe city,

“Hella Berkeley “city, A historical city, A Hippie town back in the day, A hip hop center, A hip city where everyone knows what hip is but can say what it is, what is hip, yal? Do you know? Hipness, like Berkeley, is what it is and sometimes is what is not,

too many homeless people living on the streets city, panhandling, and becoming a nuisance, getting into everyone’s face, destroying everyone’s mellow, lonely at times city where many people have thousands of virtual friends but few real friends.
very LGBTQ-friendly, a feminist city, a very pro-choice town,

An only in Berkeley kind of vibe,

a city where people still read a lot, where newspapers have not died but are mostly read online,

home of a rich alternative press history, although sadly most have gone by the wayside, I remember the Berkeley Barb, the Berkeley Gazette, the SF Chronicle, the Bay Guardian, the East Bay Express, the Berkeley Voice, the great underground comics like Fritz the Cat, reading online Berkeley news outlets just not the same thing at all. And BHS used to have a daily newspaper, now a weekly paper although the CAL daily is still mostly read online.

A very sad town, a special city, A city that would welcome space aliens who might already be there, an OMG place,

a rainy blues sort of day place.,

Robots are a cool city where new robots are being developed every day, a city where people are building the singularity not fearing it,

A Mask Up follows the science town badly hit by the COVID pandemic, particularly the small business that took it on the chin,

the birth of NaNoWriMo, the November Write a Novel in a Month contest, (personal disclosure -I completed three of these)
A poet-friendly place where people get poetry,

rents are insane, housing prices too, the only people who can afford to buy are people with boatloads of money, and somehow there are lots of those types hanging out, and lots of people who don’t have money who somehow manage to get by, who can afford to live here? It takes serious piles of moolah, big piles of money, lots of cash, dollars up the yazoo, trust baby parents, or selling your soul to a start-up from hell, to be able to pay the rent or lots of roommates, yet people still flock to the city, how they can afford it is still a mystery to me.

a stand-up guy sort of city,

student-friendly, kind of a suburb of Oakland and SF, yet doing its own very Berkeley thing,

home of great city parks,

San Pablo Park (home
of the annual BHS alumnus picnic)

Indian Rock Peoples Park
Inspiration point,
Ho Chi Min Park in the 70s
the Rose Garden
Strawberry canyon,
Tilden Park,
Wildcat canyon

part of the Bay Area Ridge Trails and Bay Area Bay Trails which are almost complete, doing a thru-hike of both, the Appalachian, the cross-continental, and the PC trails are among my bucket list dreams,

too cool for school,

sometimes a traffic hell place, BART trains too crowded, pickpockets and other unsavory criminal types hanging out by the BART train stations, along with high school students, druggies,

a “west Coast Rap kingdom, wine drinkers paradise, the former home of the weathermen and other leftist domestic terrorists) a wonderful world for the young at heart, a unique city, a pro-vac place, vibrant, vegetarian, and vegan friendly, yet still offering enough meat options for the carnivores, and still the ultimate university town but as you can see by now, so much more than that, yoga is God kind of town where yoga is mandatory, Yuppie place, a zany city, a zestful town, and lately a zoom work by home town, Berkeley is all of that and so more in short. Berkely is a kind sort of place, unique in all the universe and it is my homeland,

But still, I am drawn.
And want to return.
Before my time is done,
As it remains
My spiritual homeland.

Berkeley Time Travels





I grew up in Berkeley, California
In the turbulent fabled late ’60s
And in Berkeley in those days
Time seems to stand at a standstill.

On the corner of Dwight and Telegraph
Across from People’s Park
It seems to be always May 1969

With the man
Down the street
Oppressing the hippies
On the street

As they smoked their weed
Dodging the bored cops
Who looked the other way?
If they did not partake

And then I went to college
In the valley
As I drove into Stockton
I felt I was traveling again.

In time
Back to the fabled ’50s
Stockton was also.
Stuck in a time warp of sorts.

And as I left the Bay area.
And traveled the world.
I would come back.
To that corner

And just be there.
Stuck in May 1969
Marveling at the changes

That had and had not occurred.
To the corner of the land
Forever stuck in time
And space

San Francisco

We toured much of San Franciso and saw the Giants Lose at Oracle Park.

The neighborhoods are still vibrant but everything is too expensive.

We drove through South Beach, Mission District, Filmore, Haight-Ashbury, Castro District, Noe Valley, Presidio, Richmond, Sunset, North Beach, and Chinatown and walked through Union Square. Ran out of time to fully explore the city.

South Beach is a newly developed neighborhood west of downtown near Ball Park and the vibrant

Dogpatch neighborhood which was recently been officially rated the 17th coolest neighborhood in the world. An ethnically diverse community with and bohemian hipster feeling.

The Mission district is south of the ballpark and is the heart of San Francisco’s Hispanic district. Still mostly Hispanic but gentrifying.

The Filmore used to be the heart and soul of Black San Franciso. It has been heavily gentrified as has the adjacent Western addition but recently there has been a revival of the jazz scene in the area.

We walked through the famous counter-cultural neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury. It still has the 67 vibe and like Telegraph in Berkeley, it seems stuck in a time warp.

We drove through the Presidio which is now an urban national park based on the old Presidio military base which closed in the early 90s. I remember shopping at the commissary back in the day. Cristy Field is a

nice, restored beach.
We toured Fisherman’s Wharf and Piere 39. A bit of a tourist trap but still worth a visit, bought chocolate at Ghirardelli Square.
We also drove through Russian Hill and Nob Hill neighborhoods which are among the wealthiest in the city and saw the famous Lombard Street but did not drive down it.
We walked through Chinatown and North Beach. Chinatown has seen better days as has North Beach. Still work visiting and walking about.
Union Square was strangely deserted as many people felt that it was just too dangerous a place – there were homeless people everywhere in the city and there was a fear of crime. Everything is just so damn expensive.
We drove through the CIVIC center which was impressive from an architecture point of view. Did not see homeless people shooting up and defecating there despite the hysteria of Fox News.

We drove through the edges of the tenderloin. I think that the Tenderloin, the highest crime area in the city, is ripe for gentrification given its central location. We did see a lot of homeless people hanging about, but again no people shooting up or defecating on the street.

The sunset area is nice. We had a great Mexican dinner at Cecilia’s by the Beach which was not too bad. Ocean Blvd was great. The beach was great but a bit cold.

SF Time Travels



























































Visitng SF After Being Gone for Three Years

In the summer of 2023,
I found myself.
Back in San Franciso
My homeland.

Last visited pre-covid

Touring the city
With my Korean -in Laws

We stopped in Haigh Ashbury
Took photos.
Wearing flowers
In our hair

Our video
Of our San Franciso adventures
Particularly our hiking
The seven hills
And having croissants
And coffee in North Beach
Became a surprise TikTok hit.

Note: grew up in Berkeley, visiting every other year since I left in 1979 Found San Franciso is still a fascinating city to visit, is not the dystopian nightmare that Fox News portrays, but too expensive, with too many homeless and too much street crime.

Use in your story or poem the following – bold these words for tomorrow’s judge:


San Francisco

seven bridges


TikTok hit

Only in SF


One day
while driving down Geary
in famous SF

I saw a sight
that would haunt
my nights for many years

I saw a young white punk
a white punk on drugs
walking down the street
with a purple mohawk

dressed in leather
and torn jeans
and a don’t F with me
zdude to the max

just another random
SF freakazoid
getting his nightly
freak on

He was walking a dog
a snarling doberman
who also had ztude

on top of the dog
was a cosmic cat
looking about

and on top of the cat
riding him
as if he was the boss
of this motley crew

was a white lab rat
just looking about
as if to say
WTF you looking at dude

I wanted to take a picture
but the moment was gone
later I learned
it was on Instagram

but I never saw the photo
the moment lingered
in my mind

a metaphor perhaps
of how we can all
live together
and love one another

For more info see the following


San Francisco Travel
San Francisco Travel | Official Visitor Information

San Francisco Bucket List: 60 Best Things to Do in the Fun …

27 Top Tourist Attractions in San Francisco (with Map) – …

U.S. News Travel

34 Top-Rated Things to Do in San Francisco | U.S. News Travel

15 Beautiful Places to Visit In San Francisco – …


Best Places to Visit in San Francisco, CA (2023)•
Best Things to Do In San Francisco
San Francisco – Wikipedia
List of neighborhoods in San Francisco

Stanford/Silicon Valley







after our tour of SF and Berkeley, we drove down to Standford and SIlicon Valley.  We walked across the Campus and drove aroud Menlo Park saw the Google main Campus.  Ran out of time to further explore San Jose and Santa Clara country which is the heart of Silicon Valley.  Silcion Valley started near Standford as many of the engineers that started all the tech firms were Standford Computer science engineers including the founders of Google, Apple and HP.  And Thomas Edison lived in Menlo Park where he came up with many of his revolutionary inventions in his labs located there.


Travis AFB/Fairfield/Vacaville

when I visit the Bay Area, we usually stay up at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield CA which is about a 45-minute minutes drive from Berkeley in light traffic, and there is a CAL Trans train nearby as well.
It is a typical Air Force Base with a commissary, PX, hospitals, and all the conveniences and it is a lot cheaper staying there than staying in the central Bay Area.

This time around I was staying with my Korean In-laws, and we decided to check out the neighboring cities while we were there. We found that the base had a very nice military aviation museum so it’s worth a visit but non-military-affiliated people may have a hard time getting on base to see the museum.














replica of Fat Boy the H Bomb dropped on Hiroshima







The nearby towns of Dixon, Fairfield, and Vacaville are all worth a visit, as are the Delta towns nearby.


California is the rice basket of the U.S., growing most of the U.S. rice in the vast San Joaquin-Sacramento River delta communities which are just southeast of Travis. And they are also the biggest sake producers in the world exporting raw Sakae back to Japan!

These little towns are worth a future visit.

They have lots of outlet malls nearby, the biggest shopping malls in the Northern California region., Vacaville has the Jelly Bean museum which was worth a visit as well as hosting a nice wine and vine festival when we were there.

There are wineries nearby and there are regional parks nearby with lots of hiking opportunities. Most of the year it’s not too hot except for the afternoons when they can get into the hundreds occasionally. It is not a bad place to be based for a visit to the San Francisco Bay area, especially if you can stay on base.


My niece lives in Dixon which is about half an hour from Sacramento, and Travis and 45 minutes to the central Bay Area. While I did not get to see much of the city, it seemed to be a nice community with a cute downtown. Reminds me of Medford, Oregon where we were spending the summer.

for more info see the following Bing AI Chat info

Here are some of the top things to do near Travis Air Force Base:
• Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center: A museum that highlights the history of Travis Air Force Base and the United States Air Force. It has a collection of aircraft, engines, and other artifacts that are sure to fascinate aviation enthusiasts 1.
Jelly Belly Factory Tour: A fun and interactive tour of the Jelly Belly candy factory in Fairfield. You can learn about the history of the company, see how the candy is made, and even sample some of the flavors 1.

Note: worth a visit.  loved it,

• Western Railway Museum: A museum that displays historic electric railway cars and other artifacts from the early 20th century. You can take a ride on one of the restored streetcars and learn about the history of electric transportation 1.

• Lagoon Valley/Pena Adobe Regional Park: A beautiful park with hiking trails, picnic areas, and a lake. You can enjoy a leisurely hike, have a picnic, or go fishing 1.

• Brenden Vacaville 16: A movie theater that shows the latest Hollywood releases. It has comfortable seating, a large screen, and excellent sound quality 1.

• Wooden Valley Winery: A winery that produces a variety of wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot. You can take a tour of the winery, taste some of the wines, and enjoy the

beautiful scenery 1.

• Suisun City Marina and Boat Ramp: A marina that offers boat rentals, fishing charters, and other water

activities. You can rent a boat and explore the Delta, go fishing, or just enjoy the scenic views 1.
• Vezer Family Vineyard: A family-owned winery that produces award-winning wines. You can take a tour of the vineyard, taste some of the wines, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings 2.

• Rockville Hills Regional Park: A park with hiking trails, picnic areas, and scenic views. You can enjoy a leisurely hike, have a picnic, or just relax and take in the scenery 3.

• Scandia Family Center: An amusement park with mini-golf, batting cages, bumper boats, and other attractions. It’s a great place to spend a fun-filled day with family and friends 2.

• Sonoma Harvest Olive Oil & Winery: A winery that produces high-quality olive oil and wine. You can take a tour of the winery, taste some of the products, and learn about the production process 2.

the End 



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