Thursday, 10 November 2011

San Francisco

San Francisco in the mid sixties was the most happening city on the planet, this was : the Summer of Love; The streets of Haight Ashbury were  magnets for every young American (who had not been drafted to Vietnam)  wanting drugs, sex and rock'n roll; as were the free concerts and "Be- in's" in Golden Gate Park by The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Aeroplane,  the Moody Blues and Mammas and Pappas.

Timothy Leary advocated "turn on, tune in and drop out"

This slogan signified a conceptual way of thinking wherein a a person could turn on to their own way of thinking, tune  into themselves and drop out of society. This constituted a concept of self reliance and was being endorsed by  other prominent counter cultural figures such as the poet Alan Ginsberg, Ken Kesey, Aldous Huxley. Jack Kerouac.

San Francisco Cable Cars

We arrived to this atmosphere in our beat up old '50 RanchWagon bellowing smoke and chugging on only three cylinders and about to give up, which it did on the third day and we dumped it somewhere in the Mission District. My first port of call was the Australian Consul Generals office in the Qantas building that in those days was on Union Square, bang centre in the middle of San Francisco, and was where my mail from home had been directed. Our greatest  needs were a place to sleep and dollars, in that order.

Fortunately there were some Aussie's we knew working at the consulate who knew an Irish guy Paul Olin who had a spare bedroom who put us up for a few nights. I was informed on my next trip to the consulate's office that a position was coming up; as the Consul Generals chauffeur/attache was leaving, a position  which I successfully  applied for. The perks that went with the job included a bedroom for a stay over at the official residence in Pacific Heights, as one of the tasks was to pick up and take home the "boss"each day.

 Working legally in the States was more than difficult for an Australian in the sixties, it was near on impossible. Now having a legal work situation took a big load off my mind and shortly Phil followed up with a job  with the New Zealand Consulate and Richard ended up with the best - being  employed and sponsored  for  a green card by McCann Ericson, an advertising group in LA and being paid by an American company.

We could now relax and settle in and start to enjoy one of the great cities of the USA. Phil and I leased a two bedroom apartment in Telegraph Hill and started to meet plenty of expats and locals.We joined the San Francisco Rugby Club, the bay area had a good comp going which included the universities of Stanford and University of California (Berkeley) and the social life was hectic.

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