I am in California, and so much has been happening this past one month that I have had absolutely no time to write a long post about all my experiences and opinions!
Finally I deign to attend to attend to my blog. :( Every time I stay away from my blog for long, I almost feel like an irresponsible mother who has no time for her child or something. I can just imagine what mothers feel!
So, cutting back to the long story.
My first impressions of this city as the car drove down into the Hotel car park was one of wonder at the sheer beauty. Having seen the beauty of Switzerland, it would take a lot for nature to impress me, but this did …! Surrounded with such lovely picturesque mountains till as far as your eye would go, lush and plush greenery, little miniature houses with those brick roofs that remind me of our mangalore tiled homes, pretty little roads and crossings… and, not a human soul! That’s what I felt when I landed in Milpitas. I was overjoyed at the sweetness of my surroundings but the lack of humanity on display, especially maybe because I arrived on a Sunday, made me I should say slightly uncomfortable. I knew that my office was just round the block somewhere and it turned out to be the very next building. I could probably throw a stone from my room into the office building. Which I realized wasn’t a small boon, because, as I said, I was still a little bemused by the lack of traffic on the roads and the absolute lack of pedestrians. Some colleagues took me over to a Safeway outlet the next day and one of them burst out laughing when I said that when we looked so strange being the only ones walking along the path, how much more stranger we would look walking along with grocery bags (there obviously would be bags given that I was going into a store).
The next few days were not too eventful as I didn’t have much company and was waiting for my would-be roommate to arrive – we had made a pact to look for a house together and share the rent etc. It just so happened that some work came up and I had to spend the next week commuting to San Francisco. At first it seemed like a scary thought. I hadn’t stepped beyond the Safeway next door, hadn’t seen any creature that resembled a bus, and had only heard of something called a BART (a train) which could be a fairy for all I knew about it. And apparently I had to jump into both means of transport if I was to get to SFO – unless I could arrange a car, that is, and I came to understand that people with cars also preferred these other modes as parking is extremely expensive in SFO!
While things did begin on this wary note, I soon began to have a liking for San Francisco and by the time I felt I might even love it more than our humble Milpitas (the woods and greenery are nice, but it does do me good to see more of my species hanging around; must be a fallout of staying in a place like Bombay), it was time to say bye. And I was again stationed in home territory. My would-be room mate and myself had by then finalized a house or maybe I should say a room in a townhouse in Milpitas (people had recommended the sharing-basis option and when we enquired the rates, we knew why). The house is owned by a lady who lives with her sweet little daughter. We are friends now and I am finding it weird to say ‘lady with daughter’! I should remember to mention that this house is really, really close to this one main attraction that Milpitas boasts of – the Great Mall of the Bay Area! (I don’t know if we should call this a small coincidence).
I have been on two major weekend trips. One to Lake Tahoe, located along the border between California and Nevada and which is apparently the largest alpine lake in North America (I can’t say anything about it because I know words cannot do justice. See the picture!) and another to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It was great being in San Francisco again and watching the bay, which I only briefly managed to see while working there.
This weekend was a little more relaxing with some fun activities thrown in. I don’t think I have ever been very close to a swimming pool, leave alone actually getting into one. This Saturday I actually went to the swimming pool in the townhouse’s complex. The water was still pretty cold (that brings me to an important topic: the weather. It’s been pretty cold till up to last Friday and suddenly over the weekend it’s pretty sunny and hot. I was wishing and praying for summer to speed up and on my way to office today, with the sun blazing on my face, I couldn’t help philosophizing to myself that we don’t know what we are wishing for till we have it!) – but back to the pool. As it was just starting to grow warmer, my landlady had felt it may be nice to be in the pool, but the water appeared to be taking time to catch up. I still managed to dip myself a little and it felt great! I am already looking forward to the next pool expedition! We then went to the New Park Mall in Fremont (Fremont is another city not too way off from Milpitas). I explored the wonders of Macy’s and JCPenney’s. We rounded off the evening with dinner at this Thai place called Penang Garden. The most exotic of what we had, had to be ‘Mango Chicken’. The slivers of chicken and mango were mixed most deliciously, emanating tangy and sweet odors, and actually served in the skin of the mango! It somehow reminded me of the honey chicken we have back in Bombay which is what comes closest to this – I couldn’t think of anything else!
Another thing that took me unawares though it shouldn’t have as everyone keeps talking about it is how even strangers very comfortably address you or make small talk. When I was at the Hotel, and it was probably my second day, this teenage boy came out of the elevator bobbing his head up and down as if listening to some inaudible music and greeted ‘how you doing’! I couldn’t help smiling in my head and recollecting Joey from Friends all of a sudden!
I have a lot more stories to tell but I need to put a stop somewhere. So maybe will continue in the next posts. Now that I have started, I guess I won’t find it tough to keep the updates rolling. :)