Sunday, December 21, 2008

Three Rooftops and Exploring with Friends

What a whirlwind Friday!  In the interest of further exploring the bay, I decided to combine work and pleasure.  I found out two things.  First that the work part from the top of buildings can give you a whole different perspective than the more standard methods of travel.  Second, traveling alone for most of the trip was a lot less fun than when I caught up with my friend Ray at the end of the day.

The day started out early on roofs of switch sites from Concord to Oakland to South San Francisco and ended over a long very relaxing chat and dinner with Ray.  Ray and I became friends while working together a few years ago.  You know that kind of bond you develop when you rely on someone else in very intense work situations?  Yeah that's Ray.  Day in and day out, we relied on each other to make it through pretty grueling 12 hour shifts and consequesntly ended up laughing and enjoying most of those shifts together.

So, back up a few hours... I'm finished with what I can do at Oakland, it's lunch time and I'm a couple of blocks from Jack London Square.  Having been there a few years before with another great friend, I had great memories and being a big fan of Kevin Brown's Morning Show on KBLX, I kept hearing about places like Yoshi's and Kimball's Carnival and wanted to see where they were as well as eat and explore real quickly before traveling on to South San Francisco.  Was I in for a surprise!

Jack London Square obviously had gone through a complete facelift that has evidently left a lot of storefronts empty.  I really didn't know my way around, but the big lesson here was trying to do a quick site see alone.  No Fun!  I learned something valuable this Friday.  Always take someone you like, make friends at the location or meet up with the friends at your destination. 

All the pictures had nobody I knew in them, even Picasa kind of chewed me out below the captions while uploading about nobody being in the shot!  Ok, Ok, lesson learned, always travel with or meet up with others.  Our human interactions are what makes the exploration fun.  While there I did find a couple of places I want to explore when I have more time and of course some good friend or family member to enjoy it with.  Take a look at the pictures below.  Like I said KBLX had turned me on to a couple places in those pictures, but I found two that also looked fun.  The Fat Lady Restaurant on Washington St., was overflowing with people and the atmosphere was other worldly in that it felt like stepping into a 17th Century hide away.  Very warm welcoming atmosphere and if the food was anything like it smelled, wow!  My only problem was time, so a quick Quizno's sandwich down the street had to do.  Nobody to enjoy the atmosphere with anyway, huh?

So back to the interaction.  So I finish my lonely trip on top of a data center in South San Francisco.  Even that lonely part was made fun by the manager, Kelly accompanying me and enjoying the sun and the breeze while I finished my inspections.  So finished for the day, I sit in the car and surf while waiting for Ray.  Ray shows up and picks me up, we head over to BJ's at Tanforan in San Bruno.  Not too adventurous, I know, but easy access, absolutely great food, catching up with an old friend on a Friday evening, what more could you ask for?  Especially the friendship!

People are an indespensible part of exploring SF Bay or anywhere else for that matter.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Exploration Begins

As we rounded the third corner to the right, it started to all come together.  In traffic, at night in an unknown corner of Daly City in the fog or clouds or whatever it was, the way was becoming clear.  Even though the constant mist covering the windshield wasn't.   We had missed our turn, but the trusty GPS was routing us back around the block to get us back on track.


This whole trip was with some trepidation.  Moving a friend from the wide open Central Valley into the crowded confines of Daly City for a job she was to start in The City had us trust heavily on the GPS.  That little piece of electronics is truly a marvel.  In the old days, it would have required printing a bunch of pieces of the trip out and then trying to get enough light to read them in the dark, the rain and the traffic.  In the even older days, it would have been a fold out map and much worse! 


So there we are, back on track and before you know it, we are parked at the garage below her apartments loading all her belongings onto an elevator.   Job complete, we headed out to get something to eat.  Going to the end of her street and turning left made me realize how convenient it was where she lived.  Right there in plain view was a BART Station.  All she had to do was walk two minutes, catch the BART and her company had a shuttle two stops away!  Wow!  Why have I been commuting so far for so long? 


After all that lifting and moving everyone was hungry, so a stop on the return in Downtown San Mateo near one of our other friends helping with the move was just the thing.  Having worked in nearby Foster City, I had been to the area during the day for lunch, but had never experienced the electric atmosphere that was present this night.  We didn't do anything special, just dropped in to Pho Little Saigon 3.  Vietnamese noodles at their freshest best.  If you haven't ever had Pho, this is a great place to try!


This whole trip got me thinking of how much fun it would be to share Our SF Bay area with others.   It's a fascinating place with something to interest just about anyone.  That electric feeling we got from downtown San Mateo, we have felt before in Sunnyvale, Mountain View and in The City.   The City itself has different Districts for every flavor and the surrounding areas from Marin to the North of the Golden Gate Bridge all the way down to the far reaches of the South Bay and out to the Midwest of California, the Central Valley, all have some different idea about fun and food and people.  So come with me and let's explore it all! Let's find that electricity together.  For some fun side trips in life...check this out!