A Hop, a Skip, and a Train Bound South

It’s been a very busy last couple of days. This is the first time in 5 days that I’ve had time to actually sit down and write something. Monday was where I left off. My sister had a job interview in the city so we hopped on the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and went down to SF.

A Beautiful Day in San Francisco

I thought her interview would be a while so I started making my way toward a little thrift store a ways away. About halfway there she called to tell me it was over, so I (sigh) walked over to the library to meet her. After walking through a pretty sketchy (and unpleasant smelling) part of town, I finally met up with her and we caught the cable car over to fisherman’s wharf. We cruised around and checked out the shops. Dad had told me that there was a restaurant called “Tait’s at the Wharf” that was started by his grandfather’s great uncle or something like that, and we were hoping to catch a glimpse of it. Unfortunately, it seems that the owners thought it would make a better parking lot. What a shame, I was hoping we could get some free food considering we were like restaurant royalty or something.

R.I.P. Tait’s

We ended up going to a pizza place at the end of the pier and getting some cheese-less pizza.

It was okay, bread and veggies basically, but that’s life when you looking for vegan food on a pier. On the bright side, we caught a good part of the U.S. women’s soccer game vs Canada. In the time it took us to eat our meal, 4 goals were scored. (U-S-A! U-S-A!)

Enjoying nummies and watchin soccer

When we got back to Berkeley, Thomas (and his beard) were waiting for us at the train station. Something in him possessed this new onset of facial hair. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the mountain man look, but he shaved it off shortly after arriving. After we got back we played a few rousing games of bones and querkel. Both new to me, so naturally, I was terrible. Then Thomas and I went adventuring up and around the neighborhood.

We walked up a huge winding hill to what we though would be panoramic point, but actually just turned out to be some shrubby woods (I think I may have misread the map just a tad.) After poking around in the bushes for a while (I saw deer!!!) we walked down to the Claremont hotel.

It was that time of day when the sun is just beginning to sink towards the horizon, and everything is cast in a golden light that makes it all just glow.

Something about the California sunshine just seems magical. It makes me feel like I have a sixth sense or something. I feel it from the pit of my stomach to the tips of my fingers, through my hair and on my skin. I call it Magical California Sunshine Time and it happens right around 7pm.

The flowers are so beautiful here I think I have to make a special post just to fit in all of the pictures.

After the Claremont, we went with my sister and her roommate to a cute little Indian place about a block down from the house. It was the best Indian food I have ever eaten.

The lighting was extremely dim so I couldn’t get a good picture, but Thomas and I got the vegetable samosa chaat, vegetable kofta (that was sooooo good), and a spicy lentil curry thing that I can’t recall the name of. Overall, I would give it 5/5 smiley faces on the smiley face scale.

And on to Tuesday. What a day that was. It started out seemingly normal: some fruit and walnuts from the market for breakfast. Then somewhere, somehow, my sister convinced me to go to yoga class. I’m not much of a yogi, so I have to say it exceeded my expectations at being painfully annoying. Between the oohing and ahhing and downward dogging I think it was safe to say that I’m more of a “give me a bag and I will kick the crap out of it” kind of girl. But maybe that’s just me, because it seems that everyone else in the world can’t get enough of their yoga.

On the way back we stopped at “Crossroads”, a used clothing store where I got a crochet white vintage high-low…it was love at first sight.

Monday’s outfit

From there we just “went with the flow.” That was my sister’s way of saying, don’t freak out if plans change.

Well “the flow” led us to Zachary’s Pizza for dinner. It was the first time I’ve had pizza with vegan cheese, and I liked it. Mmmm…Daiyah cheese melted like a dream, and with the artichokes, garlic, and tomatoes, it was game over baby. The vegan wheat crust was a nice touch too.

Chillin at the train stop like a gangsta

Then we went into the city, and the first thing I saw when we got off the train was a three story forever 21 (cue the angels singing).

We went in but I didn’t feel like lugging a shopping bag around the city all night, so we just took a quick once around the store (quick for me and Nicky is about 20 minutes and three outfits in the fitting room.) Then we walked to this adorable tea restaurant, Samovar Tea Lounge, overlooking the Yerba Buena Gardens. The menu looked amazing but we didn’t stay. I vow to go back and get the Monkey Picked Iron Goddess of Mercy (yes, that’s actually the name of a tea).

And from there we headed to 330 Ritch to watch Mike Love and Paula Fuga perform. They are both artists from Hawai’i (I was a little disgruntled at the fact that I had traveled 2500 miles just to listen to more reggae), but they turned out to be really talented. But really, there was only so much dreadlocks and praise to Jehovah I could listen to before Thomas and I dug out. We came across a cute little restaurant called Mel’s Drive-In. It was a 50’s style diner with juke boxes at every table and waiters who wore demeaning hats. I got my salad and Thomas got a portabello burger (vegan) with yam fries. Yum! We got another order of yam fries because they were soo good.

My Farmers Market Salad

Eventually my sister met is there after the concert ended and we walked back to the BART station…

…to find that we had missed the last train home by five minutes.

Well isn’t this just great.

Go with the flow, they said, it will be great, they said. By this point I was like, “Screw the flow, I want to go home.” We did get home… after two bus rides (wedged between a hobo and a transvestite) and a taxi cab later. I think it was bad karma because I’m a yoga hater.

And by wednesday we were taking the train down to Santa Clara (but not before making one last stop at Trader Joe’s) to see Thomas’s campus.

And it was beautiful.

It was more like a magical fairy land then it was a school. The buildings were beautiful with spanish style architecture. The campus was huge and it took a while to explore it.

Everywhere we went there were huge lawns with rose gardens and vine-laden walkways.

We only stayed a night in San Jose, then we took the bus down to San Luis Obispo (Where Thomas grew up). The first thing we did after getting off the bus was (surprise) hit up the Trader Joe’s across the street (I seriously can’t get enough of the place). I got a spicy lentil wrap with Tahini sauce and Thomas got a bulgur chickpea vegetable salad.

Together they were $7. Say what?

Then we caught the bus to rent bikes!!! I think that was the best idea ever.

We rode all around town. We went to Thomas’s old school, and through downtown. We rode up to Cal Poly University and checked out the campus, and rode to Poly Canyon, where the engineering majors build their projects.

A sculpture at poly canyon

And we saw wild horses!

We biked down to Chilie Pepper’s, a mexican restaurant that Thomas used to go to as a kid. He ordered the beans and rice, basically what he ate every time he went there, which was pretty often.

Then we rode to the house he lived in and down around to a park he used to play at. We biked all over memory lane.

We went downtown and walked through the farmers market. There were stands and demonstrations, live music, a marching band, and plenty of people to add to the excitement.

I even stopped in at Bliss Cafe and got a slice of vegan cheesecake for us to have after dinner.

Just cruisin’

From there we went to Thai-riffic. I remember the first time that Thomas and I ate thai food, he told me that this was the best thai restaurant ever, and it did not fail to live up to that standard. We got the masaman curry and chili mint fried rice. Mmmmmm. It was easily the best thai I have ever eaten.

And the little coffee candies at the end of the meal brought him back to his childhood.

We returned the bikes and walked back home through downtown, and there were still performances going on. My favorite was the unicycle/ladder duo.

A beautiful house we saw while waiting for the trolley.. I love the color

Today we are taking to train down to San Diego. I’m excited, but exhausted. I miss home a little bit, but I plan on enjoying the rest of my trip before having to go back home to the real world (aka sorting through all of my crap and moving out of my house.)

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