Monday, July 16, 2018

Falun Gong Bastille Boat Ride

The Falun Gong religious cult is so strange.

We have a front row seat to their more theatrical public displays because they often have their movement/meditation events in Civic Center Plaza as if it was their personal front yard.

Most religious cults I have encountered in California over a lifetime have concentrated on finding young people to be unpaid slaves and hand over their money. Falun Gong instead targets older people who are looking for a physical and spiritual elixir belief system, and of course they hand over their free labor and money too.

It's an evangelical cult aggressively looking for converts, and I found my spouse Tony looking very annoyed after being hounded with literature by the lady in yellow above while I was off taking photos.

The San Francisco branch now has a marching band, complete with uniforms and instruments, which I first saw in the St. Patrick's Day Parade last March.

I asked a band member what they were doing, and he replied they were marching in a parade to Chinatown. "Down Market Street or through the Tenderloin?" I asked, and he had no idea of the actual route. It turned out to be down Market Street, confirmed two days later by a work colleague who got stuck in the accompanying traffic jam.

The day was so beautiful that I suggested, "Let's go to the Embarcadero and jump on any ferryboat that's departing soon," and it turned out to be for Oakland.

Our scheduled ferryboat didn't show up so we ended up with a large group on a small vessel, which made for enforced intimacy. The couple sitting next to me had just moved from New York to teach at the University of Chicago in anthropology and Caribbean literature, and were so smart and beautiful that I blurted out, "You two are literally the poster children for progressive values."

It was a pleasure welcoming them to California.

On our return to San Francisco, we cruised by the Bastille Day celebration at the Embarcadero in the Plaza formerly known as Justin Herman which is Still-to-be-Named-Later. The beer/wine area above was much too small so everyone was crammed between fences over a few tables.

Still, there were a few tents offering interesting French experiences, including the pop-up salon above, which made me love San Francisco all over again for attracting somebody who can calmy carry off a Marie Antoinette wig and a beard.

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