Happy Independence Day!

Welcome to the 4th of July were the U.S.A. celebrates it’s independence from the tyranny of the United Kingdom with a Chinese tradition — fireworks. It’s also the one day of the year where you can have an open beer in your hand before noon and no one looks at you funny. Many of you will be going down to Crissy Field or Fisherman’s Wharf with the thousands of others to be crowded together to watch the fun. I will not.

I did the Crissy Field thing once and while it was fun there were too many people drinking too much to get in a portapotty to give back the beer and afterwards the drive out was so slow that I have to say I have never seen so many people jumping out of their cars and running off to the side of the road to pee. Nope, I’m not going to drive through a river of hot urine just watch some fireworks. There’s plenty of other places to see them minus the urine and drunkards.

The first thing is you need to get high. No I’m not talking about smoking pot, but get as high up in the air as you can. Twin Peaks is a good place as you can see Crissy Field as well as Oakland and Union City’s shows. This place does get a little crowded though so get there early. Oddly enough on a warmish day like today when you go up there at night the heat of the day rises so be prepared to have shorts and tank top handy as San Francisco radiates back all the heat of the day.

Grandview Park is another good place in the Inner Sunset and you only have to walk partly up the steps to see it. This was our usual place, but tonight I think I’m going to try the Northwest corner of the Sunset Reservoir. I’ve heard lots of people recommend it and it’s closer to my house. The parking in all these other places is much easier to get in and out of and they’re also nice if you have kids that are scared by the loud banging.

Fisherman’s Wharf I did one year which is a good place if you want to get closer without being boxed in at Crissy Field. You can even hop on the Metro and enjoy the fireworks from the Embarcadero and if you’re quick you can hop back on to before the rest of the crowd does.

If you want an alternative fireworks festival go down to Ocean Beach. The outer Sunset and Richmond district seem to have a number of pyrophiliacs and while not as big as the Crissy field show there are still some pretty big rockets going up in the air out here. I do remember one year there was an older Chinese man with his granddaughter set up at the school yard of A. P. Gianinni Junior High that was sending up some definitely not safe and sane stuff that was pretty impressive. He was there for over an hour. Local schoolyards seem to be a hit or miss attraction for people. The police generally leave you alone there unless you’re tossing M-80’s around because there isn’t too much to burn on the asphalt play areas. The good old days of driving to Daly City to buy your own fireworks are pretty much gone. I’m not sure if Pacifica is still selling the old Red Devil fireworks of my youth, but at least I’ve given you a few ways to see something tonight while you’re eating your burgers and slugging down too many beers.

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