Saturday, February 23, 2008

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 1:22 PM
Today is the day I wait for all year long--the Annual San Francisco Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt! It may just be one of my very favorite things ever!

The hunt starts today at 4:30pm down at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco where treasure hunters receive a series of clues that take them all over North Beach, Chinatown, Russian Hill and the Financial District. The clues lead hunters to a specific intersection, storefront, fire station, or statue where a riddle must be decoded. The clues are written in a film noir sensibility, and the hunt takes place amidst the cacophony of colors, firecrackers, and Chinese beauty queens that is the Chinese New Year parade--so it's extra fun.

Even if you're not into treasure hunts, and furthermore, treasure hunts that take place during rainstorms with expected 50 mile per hour winds (ugg), this experience provides an amazing opportunity to see a city in a new way. The treasure hunt requires that hunters do not use cars, public transit, or bicycles while they solve the clues, so hunters are forced to experience San Francisco by foot. Last year's hunt taught me tons of new reasons to love San Francisco--reasons I missed whizzing by street corners in cars, buses, or on my bike.

Regardless of whether you live in San Francisco, care about treasure hunts, or minimize your environmental impact through public transportation, there are major benefits to taking your time and exploring the place you live on foot. Sustainability, yes, is about conserving resources, but on a broader scale, it's about behavioral changes and deepened relationships. Slowing down and looking at a city you may have lived in for a long time reinvigorates your relationship with the place you live and you're more apt to care about how you treat it and how it treats you.

See you at the hunt!

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