They were set up at the entrance to the 24th street Mission station of the Bart system. It’s impossible to know but my internal prayer ("please don’t kill me") may have helped. Seconds later, of course, I thought, "Wow, what an opportunity for anthropology!" but by that time I was being spirited away on the Bart. Darn! Whew! Darn! Whew!
I am doing 14 interviews in SF. You can see some of their locations marked on this Google Map. These interviews are what I do for a living, but it is also ought to be what I do for fun. Going home to home, talking to San Franciscans in their home for a couple of hours, this is fantastically interesting. If the objective of tourism is to "get to know" a city, there is nothing quite like ethnography.
I am pretty sure tourists wouldn’t want to do 3 interview a day. That ends up being a little grueling. But perhaps that’s only because I am asking questions to a very particularly purpose, listening as carefully as I can, keeping lots of data and interpretive possibilities in my head at once, and otherwise fatiguing myself to the point of incoherence. Three more general interviews might be fine.
Between interviews, the trick is to take public transport. Moving between those blue "push pins" on the map gives you a pretty comprehensive view of the city. You don’t actually see any tourist sights, but then aren’t tourist sights the very thing that’s wrong with tourism? The SF transport system is fantastically good. And it is of course filled with San Franciscans, another opportunity for ethnographic observation and the occasional conversation.
Someone has to create a business here. It’s a great opportunity to meet smart, thoughtful, interesting people. It is a great opportunity to get beyond the cliches of the usual tourist experience. Whether you want to talk to punks on a street corner, well that’s up to you.