Old Hippie and I decided to see what was happening in Oakland and San Francisco for 4/20. First stop was the Oakland Marriott where the 2nd annual Psychedelic Science conference was being held. These are serious researchers presenting real scientific studies, not wishful thinking types of people.
Sponsored in part by Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), their web site said that “over 100 of the world’s leading researchers from 13 countries will present recent findings on the benefits and risks of LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, ayahuasca, ibogaine, 2C-B, ketamine, marijuana, and more, over three days of conference presentations, and two days of pre- and post-conference workshops.” Maybe next year we will register and attend some of the panel sessions. I’ll tell you more about the type of cannabis related research presented there in another post.
We didn’t attend the conference itself, just went to the Marketplace, an exhibit hall set up with some really cool displays of art interspersed with about 30 vendors. It was very low key and relaxing. Lots of information, some posters on PTSD and cannabis I would have loved to buy (but none for sale), and jewelry, lotions, soaps, books, music, teas, herbs, and more.
A good precursor to the next step of our trip: driving through the massive traffic to Golden Gate Park and “Hippie Hill“. So we parked at Kezar Stadium and walked into the the park. This was our first time to Hippie Hill. We passed people selling beads (those ubiquitous green mardi gras like plastic pot leaf necklaces), hand made jewelry, bottles of water, soda, food (not vendors, just people with their own BBQs). The musicians — cool. The blaring music of many types — mostly cool (unless you are standing between rap in one ear and metal in the other — a bit disconcerting. We expected to see people sharing and selling weed in various forms. But for me the real shocker was people selling seedling pot plants, and carrying and using 2 foot glass bongs out in the open.
More impressions: Lots of trash, abandoned food, litter. Yuck. People with big plastic bags grabbing abandoned recyclable bottles. Cool and maybe sad. The homeless camped out with backpacks in groups or alone. People with dogs of various sizes, some treated well, others maybe not so well. Park trash cans full to overflowing.
Biggest impression of all: The people. Every physical type. Every skin tone. All adults and teens. Walking on paths, walking their bicycles. Sitting, sleeping, standing, talking, toking, smoking, eating, drinking, or just being there. People clustering with their friends, family. Not a lot of inter-group mingling. Lots of picnics, some camping tents. A table set up from which someone had sold packages of potato chips, the person absent; but no one — not even the homeless people camped nearby — stealing it. Everybody just minding their own business. Too bad humans can’t get along like this in other places and times.
Really hungry, we walked to a Thai restaurant called Ploy II on Haight St. It was very busy but we got a table in less than 10 minutes. Fantastic fresh cooked food. Mild, not spicy. Our salmon in black bean sauce and shrimp in chili sauce (Old Hippie would have preferred more spice in his chili) and the Thai iced coffees were excellent! Even though it was very crowded, the service was fast and good. We will definitely go again.
It was getting chilly, so at about 8:45 PM we began our journey home. We ended up in a 2 hour traffic jam just to get out of San Francisco. One hour just to get from Stanyan to Octavia (about a mile on Oak Street)! This was the most exhausting part of our trip. About 3 hours later we were home with a lot of new memories.