There was a sweepstakes on Instagram, a car rental company offering a 5 day car rental and 4 nights stay at a hotel chain for a lucky winner. The idea was for this winner to go on a road-trip and visit as many places in California as possible. Naturally I was drawn to this so I immediately started reading the rules. As I am reading the description I see a post just below the description that caught my attention. An Instagrammer bluntly saying something close to, "I will not go to California even if you paid me to." Shocked and intrigued I continue reading, thinking to myself, how can this person not want to come to beautiful California. Yes, I am bias, I was born in California after all and I love this state. The Instagrammer proceed to describe what she (I can't remember if the instragrammer was a man or woman, I believe it was a woman) believe was California's current state. She described a state full of homeless, trash and drug paraphernalia. Is this what people think of California?
I was ready set her straight and argue to a total stranger how wrong she was about California. She was obviously persuaded by what she heard on the news about California, I thought. As I as typing my response to this total stranger I stopped and remember my recent trip to Chicano Park. I remember the woman who was high at the handball court questioning me if I was taking photos of her. I was shaken by the fact that this Instagrammer did know what was going on in California. Its not a secret. California has a homeless crisis one that is growing everyday.
I don't want to get all political in this blog but this really struck a cord. I was like an ostrich, tall and proud yet I was burning my head in the sand when it came to the current crisis. Even in my small town I have seen an increase of homeless people sitting in the sidewalks. I don't like going to downtown San Diego because it is starting to remind me of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles has a huge homeless problem, their tents are erected on the sidewalks in certain areas. Just a few years we were walking in the Fabric district looking for some material when we ran into a woman NAKED, from the waist down. She was being followed by a homeless man, the woman was clearly on something. We had my nephews with us so we decided to get out of there as fast as possible.
I know that San Diego and various organizations as well as churches are doing everything they can to assist the homeless by offering medical care, mental and behavior assistance, housing, food, dental and other assistance however it doesn't see like there is much progress. Where are they coming from? Just in my town alone I have seen an increase of pity theft something that a few years back was not even heard of. I am sad to say that I made my "warning" category to warn people of things that they might encounter that is not in the visitor's guide.
I don't blame that instagrammer for not wanting to come to California. This person is right, but I don't think this should stop her from coming. California is a huge state, bigger then some of the states in the US geographically speaking. There are beautiful places with natural beauty that are still pristine. Now more than ever I want to explore California, show the world that there is still beauty in the Golden State. I will also continue to give my honest review of the places I visit in my blog, give my recommendations and warnings. I hope that I can convince people to see California the way I see it, beautiful, unique and wild.