San Francisco! To the outside world, this is a curious place. From billion dollar deals to the insane rents, I had heard so much about SF from my startup friends. I imagined it to be much like any other ecosystem I had been to, only much bigger. So in my mind, I thought of it as Bangalore x 10 and I wasn’t sure if I needed that. Thankfully, some friends who visited SF told me about the “non-startup” scene here and that intrigued me enough to apply for a Visa and make a trip here. I have been here for five weeks now and I think it’s time to write down my first impressions about the place.
Not what I expected
I am very lazy when it comes to exploring the world on a computer. I never read much about cities or browse too many pics. My first introduction to any place is pretty much my first visit there. I expected SF to be a super-modern American city. I was surprised. The heart of SF is the mission district (ofcourse not everyone will agree) and most of the houses there are Victorian (from late 1800s). San Fran is also home to a lot of homeless and if you have lived all your life in Asia (like I have), it’s strange to think about ‘safe’ neighborhoods or safe ways to walk in the night. However a combination of old school and electic crowd makes San Francisco one of the most interesting places I have been to. Oh and the fact that it’s super expensive.
Admittedly, I haven’t lived in Tokyo and New York but I find San Francisco pretty expensive. The rents are insane here. If you look for a place on AirBnB you can’t miss many listings for “Comfortable Couch in my bedroom” for $40-$50. Many hacker hostels offer bunk beds for $50-$60 a night or $1000 – $1200 a month. That’s right – upwards of $1000 a month for a bunk bed in a room shared with 3 – 5 other people! If you want to live in San Francisco and don’t want to drive (so live near Bart), be ready to shell out a lot of $$.