So a few weeks ago, I took a short trip out to Berkeley, mainly to check out the school district there. I’m contemplating a move to the West Coast. Keep reading to hear my adventures…
So I flew out to Cali on an early flight. I had the wherewithal to purchase my breakfast before I got on the plane, as the last flight I was on sold out of food before they got to my row. It was a United flight, as was this flight. I know you must be thinking why fly united again, but the ticket price was too good to pass up. Where as I remembered to bring food, I forgot to download the United app onto any of my devices. I vaguely remembered that United didn’t have screens on my last flight, so in anticipation of this, I uploaded a bunch of movies onto my iPad. I was right. In place of a screen on the back of the seat, there was a little tension holder for your device. It was hilarious.
I’ve grown accustomed to the small stroopwafel United gives you, as the only free food option on a 5 hour flight, hence i brought my own breakfast. But I will say, i took advantage of all the free Coke Zero I could. Coke Zero gives me life. The flight was uneventful. I watched a few movies on my iPad, as did the man across the aisle from me. I almost asked him if he wanted to borrow it to finish Thor Ragnarok with sound.
I landed safely and made my way to the car rental place via the AirTrain. I found the Hertz rental car desk, signed my paperwork and I was let loose in San Fran with a Toyota Yaris. I was a savvy shopper and used my AAA discount for a cheaper price.
After about a 45 minute drive, I was in Berkeley looking for a Target to stock up for the weekend. The one on Shattuck had no parking, so that was out, but then I found one on University. It was the saddest looking Target I’ve ever seen, but i was able to get some tiny shampoo, conditioner, and contact solution. It did get bonus points for having a Starbucks though. Side note: the next day I found a huge Target near the highway. The inside was being renovated but outside it was beautiful.
After Target, I made my way to my Grandma’s house. I didn’t think the Yaris would make it up the hills but surprisingly, it did. When I rounded the corner to the driveway, some construction workers, working on a nearby house, glared in my direction like “what are you doing here?” I glared back because they were partially in the driveway. But I went about my business, parked the car, and finally made it inside.
I was a bit early so my grandmother wasn’t home. I wandered around taking photos of little things around the house. When she walked in, she was surprised to see me early. She kindly gave me a choice of rooms and made me a delicious lunch – such a grandma thing to do. We ate outside, caught up, and warmed our bones in the sun. After lunch, I wanted to see the waterfall in the backyard, since it had finally rained enough for it to be flowing. Pippen, even though having just finished his walk, joined me. It was so green and lush, I had forgotten the feeling of being surrounded by such verdant trees.
After the walk, it was time for me to catch up on some Z’s, so i took a rest until dinner. Dinner was more delicious homemade goodness, then my grandmother and I watched a movie; well I watched part of it, I didn’t make the whole thing because of the time difference. Being lulled to sleep by a waterfall, I was out in no time. At home I have a sound machine that helps me stay asleep, but here, I had the real thing. I wasn’t slumbering forever, as I woke up at 3 in the morning because of the time difference.
Friday was the day I got to see Denali and go on the school tour; both great accomplishments. The school tour was informative and will definitely help me make an educated decision. But seeing Denali was better. It’s the worst having your brother on the opposite coast. After the tour, we had lunch at a little restaurant called the 310 Eatery. Click for the Yelp reviews if you don’t trust me. AMAZING food! I will definitely be visiting again. The food was tasty, not a long wait, the staff were extremely helpful, and it wasn’t expensive. After a wonderful meal, we had to hit up a tiki establishment, so off to Trader Vic’s we went.
We sat in the bar and our server gave us drink recommendations. Our first round of drinks were great. We had a ridiculous and extensive conversation about the Marvel and DC cinematic universes. The man at the table next to us was listening and kept looking like he wanted to join in, but he was too busy working on restaurant business. We tried the second recommendation from the server, and my drink wasn’t so tasty. SO she took it back and brought me another of the first drink. Our movies conversation led us to the fact that neither of us had seen Glass, so that’s what we decided to do next.
We got our tickets and had about a half hour to kill. We walked to the PF Changs that was right next to the movie theater. Low and behold, it was happy hour. We got some dumplings and made our way back to the theater. When we sat down, I remembered that I’m a movie theater snob. My movie theater has leather, reclining seats; this theater did not. But we watched the movie, and had a good time regardless. The movie wasn’t as terrible as everyone said, but it wasn’t great. Samuel L. Jackson makes every movie decent. Thus ended my day with Denali.
The next morning, I had breakfast with my Aunt Diana. She was gorgeous as usual. She picked a small but happening place called Bette’s Oceanview Diner. The food was delicious, but if you don’t get there early you will have a decent wait for seating. I had potato pancakes aka latkes and they were great. I was so excited chatting with Diana, I neglected to snap any photos of my aunt or my food. I realized it later and felt terrible, but i took solace in the fact that i had a wonderful time.
After breakfast I drove into San Francisco. I met up with Denali at the SF MoMA. Of course, he’s a member there. I am not a super fan of modern art; I think a lot of it is ridiculous, but I love art in general. I was having a fun time disparaging the art I completely hated, until we ran into some friends who we were supposed to meet later. Unbeknownst to me, Denali had invited them along to the museum. So now I had a friend to trash the art with. Rob and I were being obnoxious, while his wife, Dee, and Denali were being adults and enjoying the art appropriately.
Supposedly nearby was a mural of Robin Williams by Andres Iglesias aka cobreart . I was asked to get a photo of it. Denali said he knew where it was, so Rob and Dee waited at a bar while we went to go find it. It was further away than thought, but we found it. It was not in the nicest area either, but we accomplished our goal and high tailed it out of there before we got shanked by a homeless individual.
By then Rob and Dee had moved on to another bar. They sent the location and when we got there, it was a pawn shop. We quickly discovered it was a speakeasy. In order to get in you had to trade something. The people in front of us handed over some seashells. We did not know this, all we had on us were the ticket stubs from the Glass movie. Fortunately, the bouncer took them after talking about how trash the movie was. We found Rob and Dee at the bar; they had saved us seats. We sat down and they informed us that there was only beer and wine being served. I drink neither, so I loaded up on water while they drank sangria. The decor inside the bar was so strange. It looked like it used to be some sort of Art Deco themed bar that had been repurposed into a Middle Eastern themed place. From the wall sconces, the scalloped shaped mirrors, the iron railings, the hanging light fixtures, to the sea foam green tiles, it screamed Art Deco. But why were there caves and palm trees painted on the back walls? It was disconcerting. But when we asked the owner, he said he had picked everything out. I’m still confused.
After the pawn shop, we ubered to dinner. Rob had picked Turkish, so we went to Tuba’s Mediterranean Restaurant. We didn’t have a reservation, but they said if we could be in and out within an hour, we could be seated. We agreed, and so began our dinner. We decided to order a few plates and share among ourselves. We ordered the cold starter sampler, and everything on the plate was amazing. Our entrees were good but not as tasty as the starters. Rob wanted some Turkish coffee, and we goaded him into eating some Turkish delights also. The coffee arrived, and it was in a delicately carved cup and saucer. We all wanted to liberate it, but we have manners. The best part was how tiny the cup was in Rob’s monstrous hands.
We stayed well over the intended hour, but the hostess didn’t mind. Someone must have cancelled their reservation, which was a wonderful turn of events for us. After dinner we bid adieu to Rob and Dee. Denali and I parted ways back at the museum garage. I ended my jam-packed day back in Berkeley.
Sunday was my final day on the West Coast. I got up, said my goodbyes to Berkeley and made my way to Palo Alto. I finally got Carne Asada fries. They weren’t the ones I was expecting, but it was ok; they were still good. I got to have a last lunch with my brother and that’s all that mattered. I spent a little time in the Palo Alto area, and then it was time for my flight home.
Yet again, I was smart and got food before I got on the plane. It was airport pizza but it was surprisingly good. I slept very little and just watched movies on the flight home. It wasn’t very long, about 4 and a half hours. When I landed, I was happy to be home, but it was freezing. Then I remembered why people move west.